Timeline - 1850's - Overview

  • Branch lines were not considered profitable by the state's main railroads. Plank roads and stage lines acted as feeders for major rail lines. [AAD]

  • Railroads begin offering special excursion trains, which offered special destinations at reduced charges, including destinations out of state. [AAD]

  • The adoption of the new State Constitution put railroad construction under general law.  No general incorporation act was passed until 1855, making the start up of new railroads during the first half of this decade impossible. Only existing roads were extended. [AAD]

  • Early Toledo railroads establish their terminals at the "Middle Grounds", a railroad complex on the west banks of the Maumee River just south of the present downtown Toledo, near the mouth of Swan Creek. The Michigan Southern initiated development of the Middle Grounds shortly after leasing the Erie and Kalamazoo. The Middle grounds was originally a water-covered swap which was drained and filled.  The railroad developed a stub-end yard to support their expanded terminal operation. [AATHS-Spr/2002]

  • The Middle Grounds area contained grain elevators, a freight house, and the city's first passenger depot known as the Island House. The Michigan Southern roundhouse and engine facilities were located on the western edge of the terminal area.  [AATHS-Spr/2002]

  • The Cleveland and Toledo (forerunner of the Lake Shore) had access to the Middle Grounds but also had its own small waterfront terminal on the east side of the Maumee River at the same location.  [AATHS-Spr/2002]

Timeline Key:

  • Railroad event in Michigan
  • Event relating to mining
  • Event related to car ferries
  • Event outside of Michigan
  • Improvement in Technology
  • Railroad built or extended
  • Railroad abandoned and/or removed
  • Economic panic or depression