Sunday, June 1, 2014

Wandering Up M-37

So yesterday I decided to head up to Traverse City to possibly catch the cherry blossoms.  Instead of the normal way I take which involves going up US-23 to I-75 to M-72, I decided to take M-37 up.  Although I discovered that I didn't start at its beginning but I was close enough.

M-37 starts somewhere near Battle Creek and goes all the way up to the Old Mission Point Lighthouse.  Like many of the state highways it is based on an old Indian trail.  At one time it was known as the Muskegon, Grand Traverse and Northport State Road and then the Newaygo and Northport Road.  It officially became a state highway in 1919 and in the 1940's it recieved its current designation.
 Much of M-37 parallels railroad tracks.  I first ran across this caboose and water tower in Grant, Michigan.  It is amongst the last wooden water towers in Michigan and was built by the Grand Rapids, Newaygo and Lakeshore Railroad.  It ceased operations in the 1966 but it was used by the fire department well into the 1980s.
 A grain elevator next to the railroad tracks.
 Another view of the water tower.
 Showing the C&O Logo on the caboose.
 The Mid-Michigan Railroad incorporated in 1987 for the purpose of acquiring rail lines from the CSX railroad.  At its inception it was owned by RailTex which also owned many other short haul railroads.  In 2000, it was bought by RailAmerican and is currently owned by Genesee and Wyoming.  It runs on a 56 mile rail line from Greenville, MI to Lowell, MI.  It used to support the Frigidaire Plant but with its closing, it now mostly carries grain.
 A typical grain car.
 Newaygo's history goes back to the French Voyageurs and Courier du Bois (explorers and trappers) who would explore up the Muskegon River.  It is theoretically named after Chief Nuwago who was one of the signatories of the Saginaw Treaty.  Originally it was formed as a lumber town and used the Muskegon River to transport lumber to Lake Michigan (and points beyond).  Its founder was John Brooks who settled there in 1836.  He would become it's postmaster in 1847. 
 I'm not sure what these buildings are.  But back in the day Al Capone used to stay in Newaygo.
 Just kind of a typical Michigan town.
 This building is now an antiques mall.
 The Marquette Railroad was established in 2005 and serves roughly 126 miles of track.  Much of it is on old Pere Marquette lines.  Its lines run from Grand Rapids to Ludington and Manistee.  In 2012, it was bought by RailAmerican.  It is now owned by the Genessee and Wyoming.
 Another angle of the train.
 It looks like they bought an old Union Pacific engine.
Like many of the highways, once you get up north, it is surrounded by trees.  If I weren't in such a hurry, there are some nice hilly parts.

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