Archived Story

22 trains a day stopped here in 1913

Published 10:49am Thursday, March 1, 2012

1913: The Daily News used to publish the Michigan Central time schedule.
There were 22 trains stopping in Dowagiac every day.
Twelve were eastbound and 10 were westbound.
Sure is different these days, huh?
Did you know there is a Dowagiac Street in Chicago?
On Dec. 23, 1872, Sturgis had 36 degrees below zero (I wonder if Dowagiac had the same).
1903: The Dowagiac High School baseball team is still champion of southwestern Michigan’s high school league as they beat St. Joe, 14-7 and 5-4, on the new diamond on northwest Railroad Street.
1913: Judge Eby and Register of Deeds Gardner went down to South Bend to hear William Sundy (Billy Sunday) and the Cassopolis Democrats fervently hope the trip may have done them good.
1903: Two Dowagiac saloons went out of business. One was the Blackmond place on Commercial Street, as proprietor Blackmond didn’t renew his license.
The Arlington, owned by Bill Cushing, went out of business as his old license expired.
1913: June 30 was the hottest day of the year in Dowagiac when the mercury climbed to 98 degrees.
In 1879, Dowagiac High School had its largest senior class since Dowagiac started graduating students. The Class of 1893 will beat it by having 16, compared to the 13 in the Class of 1879.
1913: The village marshal bought a stopwatch to time cars and motorcycles as they hasten out of town. Boy, he was way ahead of the radar guns police use these days, huh?
1904: Mr. and Mrs. Fred Baker took a 1,500-mile trip with their automobile. They did this in exactly three weeks and only had a rear tire punctured by a railroad spike as they drove over a bridge.
1913: Jack Phillips from Pokagon invented and patented an automatic car coupler that is still used at the Michigan Central railroad yards in Jackson.
1875: They used to have spelldowns. There was one of these at the Universalist Church, now St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
Guess what? The ladies missed 13 words and the gentlemen missed 15 words.
Here is something in my reading I found of interest.
Harriet Van Antwerp, who was a Dowagiac and Cass County Normal graduate and later a local teacher, is responsible for the many teachers and aides in the schools these days.
When she was at Bay County schools, she conceived the idea that soon spread all over Michigan and other states.
In looking back in my papers and records, I think our house at 611 Orchard St. was built by Frances Jarvis in 1872 or close for $1,500.

“Cardinal Charlie” Gill writes a nostalgic weekly column about growing up in the Grand Old City. E-mail him at

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