Historic Birch Lodge

Historic Birch Lodge
Historic Birch Lodge, Trout Lake, MI

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Railroads and Trout Lake, MI

Print Friendly and PDF Soo Line Steam Locomotive at Trout Lake
This photo was from Michigan Passenger Stations check them out!

For railroad enthusiasts, Trout Lake and Birch Lodge offer opportunities to experience the “sights and sound of the rails.” Trout Lake was founded at the junction of two historic Upper Peninsula railroads. The Detroit, Mackinac & Marquette Railroad began laying rails out of Marquette and St. Ignace in 1880 and operated trains between the two points by 1881. In 1886 the line declared bankruptcy, operated temporarily as the Mackinaw and Marquette Railroad, and by 1887 became the Duluth South Shore & Atlantic Railroad (with a Mackinac Division that ran south from Soo Junction to St. Ignace). The Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railroad was established in 1883 on a route generally paralleling the Lake Michigan shore before veering northeast to Sault Ste. Marie ("the Soo"). These two railroads merged with the Wisconsin Central Railroad in 1961 to form the Soo Line Railroad (the common name for the former MS&S).
Soo Line Train at Trout Lake
This photo is courtesy of Chuck Schwesinger on Rail Pictures.Net

Railroads were the catalyst to settlement and early development of village of Trout Lake, which was platted in 1888 by the Peninsular Land Company (the land agent for the DM&MRR). The general location was called Trout Lake Junction. Railroad-related structures at the village included the DSS&A depot, roundhouse, pump houses and storage tanks, a section house, a bunkhouse and repair shops that together were used by at least 30 full-time employees. At its height 8 passenger trains a day ran through the town as well as a late night freight that included a passenger car. Birch lodge sent a wagon, and later an automobile, to pick up tourists at the depot. The original depot that still stands in the center of the village continues to be used by railroad maintenance crews, although the DSS&A ended its last Upper Peninsula passenger service after the Mackinac Bridge opened in 1958.
Trout Lake Depot Historic View
This photo of Trout Lake Station courtesy of
Michigan Railroads.com

In 1984 the line south out of Trout Lake was abandoned; in 1987 a large amount of Soo Line Railroad including all Michigan mileage, was spun off to Wisconsin Central Ltd, now part of Canadian National Railway. The former MS&S line survives today and runs by Birch Lodge and through Trout Lake. Train buffs standing at the entrance to the grounds of birch lodge can experience the power of locomotives as the slowly moving trains pass by, offering numerous opportunities for photographs and videos - or just waving hello to the CNRR engineers.
CN Train at Trout Lake
Another shot courtesy of Chuck Schwesinger on '>Rail Pictures.net

1 comment:

  1. I have photos of the aftermath of the train wreck at the Trout Lake Station. My great-grandfather, David Watt, was the engineer on the DSS&A train involved in the wreck. I also have the story of the wreck as told by his youngest son, Burt.
    Judy Watt