Archived Story

Cassopolis-Dowagiac trolley never was

Published 10:09pm Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Here is another little bit of information that I caught in my reading of the columns of B.C. Hibbard in his book about Marcellus.
He told of a railroad that was to go from Dowagiac to Three Rivers via Cassopolis.
He said a half-mile east of the intersection of Cherry Grove and Peavine is where the right of way crossed.
It was a railroad that never was. Jim Gallagher once emailed me that a railroad or trolley was planned to run between Dowagiac and Cassopolis.
It was to be part of the one that ran from St. Joe to Dowagiac, he thought.
The road bed was from the downtown station (this has to be the interurban line) east and it was north of the golf course and the cemetery (I think Jim may have meant south) and it continued south of the Old Mill Farm and headed southeast toward Lake LaGrange (Whitt Pond).
It was not completed.
However, Jim says it was a great place to explore when he was a bit younger.
Sounds like this was the same one that was in the Marcellus book.
My friend, Dick Foreman, told of a railroad from Toledo to Benton Harbor so things could go to Chicago by boat, which would have been cheaper.
He said it was graded, but no rails were ever put down. At one time you could see where the grade crossed M-62 at Midway Market before the curve into Cassopolis.
If some old Dowagiac historian has info, let me know.
Here are some things from an old 1960 Dowagiac Daily News.
I spotted a pretty picture of Gale Barney in her wedding dress when she and my friend “Buddy Carpenter” Jerry Proshwitz and Gale were married.
Ad in the paper for Economy Drug Store. We give Top Value stamps (remember those?).
Dowagiac Savings and Loan was paying 3.5 percent interest.
The first fatal motor accident happened in New York City on Sept. 13, 1895, when a pedestrian, W.H. Bliss, was run over and killed.
1910: Mr. M.W. Briggs bought a new EMF auto in Detroit. He was accompanied by E. Gilbert and they drove the car back to Dowagiac.
June 6, 1960: Berenice Vanderburg says you may wonder why this is only our 95th graduation when Dowagiac High School opened on Nov. 2, 1857, and we had no official graduating class until 1864. It was because the school burned down in the fall of 1859 and there was no official class graduation until 1864. (In my 1907 Pow Wow class school book, there is a list of every DHS graduate from 1864 to 1907.)
Also, there used to be a $10 tuition charge for a term.
1960: Listed in Berenice’s birthday column, among many other birthday people, was a very pretty bride of two days, Gale Barney Proshwitz.

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

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