Chapter 19: an expanding transportation network.
It was no coincidence, therefore, that the state's railroad network was being constructed at the very time when the production of pine lumber and minerals was reaching its height in Michigan in the last four decades of the nineteenth century. On the eve of the Civil War, Michigan, although it had been the first area in the west to develop railroads, had fallen far behind its neighbors, with less than 800 miles of railroad tracks, consisting mainly of three lines crossing the southern part of the Lower Peninsula. By 1900, however, the state had 7,945 miles of main-line track, 2,903 miles of other tracks and yard tracks, or a total of 10,848 miles. During the first two decades of the twentieth century additional tracks were laid both by the railroad companies and by electric interurban companies, before a combination of the overexpansion of railroad service and the onset of competing forms of transportation brought about a decline in mileage figures in subsequent years.
The construction of railroads into the northern parts of the state was vastly stimulated by federal subsidies in the form of land grants. Indeed, without such grants it is doubtful if many of these lines would have been built. In the southern portion of the Lower Peninsula, however, railroad construction was for the most part unsubsidized by federal grants and was undertaken to serve the needs of the growing agricultural population and of the towns and cities with their commercial and manufacturing enterprises. In 1860 stage lines and wagons loaded with merchandise, traveling over plank roads where possible, served as feeders for the three principal east-west rail lines. During the Civil War the construction of railroads to supplant them as feeders was begun, and as soon as the war was over this process was greatly intensified. Additional main lines across the lower peninsula were also built, and they, too, constructed their feeder lines. By 1900 southern Michigan was crisscrossed with rail lines.
The building of railroads attracted large amounts of capital and was supported by immense popular enthusiasm. Dozens of small railroad companies were formed to build short lines with the expectation that they would ultimately be absorbed by the larger companies, which, indeed, most of them were. Every town and hamlet had ambitions to be on a railroad. The rail companies, seeking to capitalize on this feeling, sought financial assistance from cities, townships, and counties to finance construction. Some local government units voted bond issues to encourage railroad construction without waiting for state approval. Then, beginning in 1863, the state legislature, by a series of special acts, granted permission to local units for bond issues. These were approved by Governors Blair, Crapo, and Baldwin, although Crapo, in the latter part of his administration, vetoed a large number of bills passed to approve local bond issues, warning the legislature that in his opinion it was unconstitutional for public funds to be used to subsidize a privately owned company. Crapo vetoed fourteen such bills in a single day. By 1870 state-approved bonds to the amount of $1,646,300 had been sold and the proceeds handed over to the railroads. Additional bonds with a face value of more than twice this sum had been issued and deposited with the state treasurer but had not yet been delivered to the railroad companies. In April 1870 the state supreme court declared one of the acts that had been passed by the legislature to approve such a bond issue to be unconstitutional, and this decision in effect made all the bonds so issued valueless. The railroads sought in vain to secure a constitutional amendment to validate the bonds, but it was voted down by the people. In the end, after long litigation, some of the bondholders were able to collect by turning their bonds over to nonresidents of the state who then brought suit in federal courts. (1)
Each of the three rail lines that spanned lower Michigan in 1860 built branches and feeders after the Civil War and also purchased or leased lines that had been built by small companies. The Michigan Southern, with its eastern termini at Monroe and Toledo, Ohio, ran through the southernmost tier of counties, then, west of White Pigeon, veered southward into Indiana to reach Chicago. This line built or otherwise acquired lines reaching northward from Hillsdale to Lansing, from Hillsdale to Ypsilanti, from Jonesville to Marshall, from Adrian to Jackson, and from White Pigeon to Grand Rapids. The Michigan Central's main line extended westward from Detroit through Ann Arbor, Jackson, Battle Creek, and Kalamazoo, then veered southward to Niles and Chicago. Fiercely competitive for many years with the Michigan Southern, the Central secured branch and feeder lines from Jackson northward to Lansing, Saginaw, and Mackinaw City (which was reached in 1881); from Detroit northward to Bay City; from Jackson northwestward to Grand Rapids; from Kalamazoo westward to South Haven; and from Battle Creek southward to Sturgis. In the 1870s the Central also acquired an "Air Line" on a shorter and more direct route between two points on its main line, Jackson and Niles. The Detroit and Milwaukee, which had its western Michigan termini in Grand Haven and Muskegon, also built branches running northward to Bay City and the Thumb area, a parallel line running slightly to the north of the main line, and a branch southward to Jackson. This railroad subsequently merged with the Grand Trunk lines.
Other major railroad lines were constructed across lower Michigan in the 1870s and 1880s. The Peninsular Railroad was built from Chicago, entering Michigan through Cass County and following a diagonal line northeastward to Lansing. There it was connected with another line from Port Huron, and in 1871 the two were combined and acquired by the Grand Trunk. The Ann Arbor Railroad had its origin in 1869 when building was started on a line that ran ultimately from Toledo, Ohio, northwesterly across Michigan to Frankfort far to the north. Still another east-west line was constructed from Saginaw west to Ludington on Lake Michigan. This became part of the Pere Marquette System.
The Pere Marquette was a consolidation, formed in 1900, of more than a hundred different railroad companies. These had previously been merged into three main groups. The original Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad was opened in 1863, connecting Saginaw and Flint. During the next thirty-seven years this railroad acquired many independent lines, secured connections with Detroit, Monroe, and Toledo, and built the line from Saginaw to Ludington mentioned earlier. The second main constituent of the Pere Marquette was the Chicago and West Michigan, which had built or acquired a line running northward through towns and cities in western Michigan to Grand Rapids, Traverse City, and Petoskey, with numerous branches reaching out to Muskegon, Pentwater, Allegan, and other cities. The third main division of the Pere Marquette was a line connecting Detroit and Grand Rapids through Lansing, which also owned a line connecting Grand Rapids and Saginaw.
As noted earlier, in 1856 Congress had passed a measure that granted to the states millions of acres of public lands to be doled out to the railroads at a rate of three sections on each side of the tracks for every mile constructed, provided that at least twenty miles were built within the period of one year. So many scandals and shady transactions resulted that in 1872 further aid was withdrawn but not before more than 3 million acres had been granted to Michigan railroads. In addition to these lands the state of Michigan granted to the railroads 1,659,509 acres of "swamplands" that had been donated by the federal government to the state.
The amounts obtained by the railroads from these land grants by no means paid for the cost of construction, but they were sufficient to attract capital from domestic and foreign sources to do so. The lands were generally awarded to induce railroads to build into sparsely settled areas; thus in Michigan most of the land grants were made to railroad companies that built lines into the northern part of the Lower Peninsula and into the Upper Peninsula. It is a common misconception that these land grants were outright gifts. (2) Under the terms of the grants, the land-grant railroads were obligated to carry government property and personnel at approximately half price. It has been estimated that in the period since these railroads were built the saving to the government by these reduced rates amounts to over ten times the original value of the lands granted. In the Lower Peninsula land grants were made to a number of railroads that built lines into the north. The companies that merged into the Pere Marquette system in 1900 received land grants for building the line from Saginaw to Ludington and the line northward from Grand Rapids. The largest single land grant in the Lower Peninsula was made to the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad for building a line northward from Sturgis to Mackinaw City, which was completed in 1882. The Michigan Central was another major recipient, being granted over 721,000 acres to build its tracks northward from Jackson to Mackinaw City. A small amount was granted to the Grand Trunk for building its northern lines. But it should be noted that not all railroads built into the north received grants. Neither the Ann Arbor, whose line ran from Toledo to Frankfort, nor the Detroit and Mackinac, which constructed a line northward from Bay City to Cheboygan, received land grants. (3)
Not all the railroads built during this period were gobbled up by the big companies. Dozens of short lines were operated independently. Many of these companies had grandiose ideas of becoming through lines. One such, the Toledo and South Haven, meandered through Van Buren County from South Haven to Lawton, eventually reached Kalamazoo, but never got any further. (4) The Manistee and Northeastern and the East Jordan and Southern are examples of independent lines in the north. Literally hundreds of railroad companies, formed with great expectations, never laid any track at all.
As lumbering declined after 1900 the railroads that had been built into the northern part of the Lower Peninsula suffered a serious decline in passenger and freight traffic. They sought to meet this challenge in a number of ways. In cooperation with lumber companies that had cutover lands for sale and with local development associations, the railroads sought to lure farmers into the area by offering land at low prices. At first some measure of success was achieved, but it was quickly demonstrated that the sandy soils could not compete with the rich prairie lands in the states further west. Some townships in northern Michigan where almost every section had three or four farms in 1890 are completely overgrown with brush and trees. Scores of abandoned farm buildings may still be seen. (5)
Another device used by the railroads to obtain business as lumbering dwindled was the promotion of northern Michigan as a resort area. The Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad called itself "the fishing line" and widely advertised the attractiveness of northern Michigan for the angler and hunter. This railroad, as well as the Michigan Central and the Pere Marquette, built huge resort hotels at such places as Petoskey, Harbor Springs, and Charlevoix. The largest of all, the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, was financed by the Grand Rapids and Indiana and the Michigan Central railroads and the Detroit and Cleveland Navigation Company. It was opened on July 10, 1887, with Chauncey Depew presiding at the opening dinner. The Grand Hotel quickly became the most fashionable resort in the Middle West. Mackinac Island had been known for many years for its pleasant summer climate and its clear air, which was especially attractive to people suffering from hay fever. Summer visitors had been coming before 1850. Numerous northern Michigan cities and towns, once centers of the lumber industry, were in process of becoming resort towns by 1900. In 1875 the Bay View Assembly, modeled after the original Chautauqua at Lake Chautauqua, New York, was organized. This provided an educational and cultural program to supplement the health and recreation attractions of northern Michigan. Bay View Assembly was formed principally by Methodists. Other religious groups established camps and colonies for summer visitors to Michigan's north country.
The summer resorts provided increased traffic for the railroads, even though many of the visitors came by steamship. But this traffic was confined largely to the three summer months. The railroads could hardly operate profitably with heavy business only a quarter of the year, and relatively little for the remainder. There were numerous bankruptcies. The Pere Marquette was in chronic financial trouble. Some lines were abandoned. The railroads next turned to consolidation with larger systems, to which they were valuable as feeders. The merger of three different groups of railroads into the Pere Marquette system in 1900 was a first step in this direction. Ultimately the Pere Marquette itself was merged with the Chesapeake and Ohio. The Grand Rapids and Indiana was acquired by the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Ann Arbor formed an alliance with the Wabash. The Grand Trunk became part of the Canadian National Railway. Both the Michigan Southern and the Michigan Central merged with the New York Central Railroad.
The Great Lakes and their connecting rivers on three sides of the Lower Peninsula constituted serious barriers to through railroad traffic. This handicap was overcome by the railroad companies to some degree through the construction of tunnels and car ferries. Prior to the Civil War passengers and freight reached Detroit by steamboat or sailing vessel, from whence they were transferred to railroad trains running westward. The Michigan Central reached Chicago by running its lines around the southern tip of Lake Michigan. Goods and passengers on trains to Grand Haven and Muskegon were transferred to ships crossing Lake Michigan to Milwaukee. The first rail line across southern Canada reached Windsor, across the Detroit River from Detroit, in 1854. Ferries were put into service to transport passengers and freight across the river. In 1867 a ferry, the Great Western, capable of carrying twelve railroad cars, was put into service. Thenceforth passengers could remain in railroad coaches while crossing the river, and freight could be transferred without the labor and expense of handling on both sides of the river. In 1872 the Grand Trunk placed a similar but larger car ferry into service between Port Huron and Sarnia, Ontario. In 1887 railroad companies operating lines in the two peninsulas formed an association that ordered the building of a car ferry to transport cars across the Straits of Mackinac between Mackinaw City and St. Ignace. It was placed in service the following year and was so constructed as to be able to operate the year around.
Up to this time car ferries had operated only across rivers or narrow bodies of water. The first car ferry in the world to navigate open waters was placed in service by the Toledo, Ann Arbor, and North Michigan (later called simply the Ann Arbor Railroad) on November 24, 1892. It operated from the mouth of the Betsie River in western Michigan across Lake Michigan to Kewaunee, Wisconsin. Although the ferry departed from the south side of the Betsie, in what became the town of Elberta, the railroad always publicized Frankfort, on the north side of this waterway, as the ferry terminus, to the dismay of Elberta's boosters.6 The Ann Arbor later operated ferries to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and to Menominee and Manistique in the Upper Peninsula. The success of these ferries induced other railroads to use the same method of promoting through traffic by securing a connecting link with western railroads having termini on the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan. The Pere Marquette's first car ferry between Ludington and Manitowoc crossed Lake Michigan in February 1897. Subsequently, car ferries were put into service between Ludington and both Milwaukee and Kewaunee on the Wisconsin side. In 1903 the Grand Trunk began operating car ferries between Grand Haven and Milwaukee. (7)
The car ferries did much to promote railroad traffic. In later years they also became carriers of automobiles, although sometimes with reluctance. In 1891 the Grand Trunk completed a tunnel under the St. Clair River between Port Huron and Sarnia, replacing the car ferry. In 1910, after several futile attempts, a railroad tunnel under the Detroit River was completed, making it possible to run through trains between Chicago and New York by way of Detroit.
Transportation improvements in the Upper Peninsula owed even more to the beneficence of the federal government than did those in the southern peninsula. A grant of 750,000 acres of public land had made possible the building of the Soo Canal. Another grant of 450,000 acres of public land had been made to build the canal across the Keweenaw Peninsula. Federal land grants also made a major contribution to railroad building in the Upper Peninsula. Over 60 percent of the 5,505,336 acres of public lands granted to encourage railroad building in Michigan went to Upper Peninsula lines.
The year 1855 marked the completion of the Soo Canal, and on August 17 of that year the Brig Columbia, laden with ore from Marquette, was the first ore ship to pass through the locks. The same year a twenty-mile railroad connecting the iron mines at Negaunee with Marquette was completed. It was conceived and carried to completion by Herman D. Ely, and was the first Upper Peninsula railroad. (8) Cars were at first hauled by mules, but a steam locomotive was put in use in 1857. During the Civil War a company was formed to connect this railroad with a line to the Bay de Noquet on Lake Michigan. Construction was completed in 1864 from Escanaba on Bay de Noquet to Negaunee and from there by the twenty-mile line constructed earlier to Marquette. The iron from the mines around Negaunee and Ishpeming could now be shipped either east to Marquette on Lake Superior or south to Escanaba on Lake Michigan. (9)
Under the impetus of munificent land grants, railroad construction in the Upper Peninsula proceeded rapidly during the years after the Civil War. One line was built westward from Marquette and reached Michigamme in 1865. By 1883 this line had been extended to Houghton. A railroad connecting Marquette with St. Ignace was completed in 1881, and a branch linked this road with Sault Ste. Marie in 1887. Connections between this railroad and the two railroads reaching Mackinaw City from the south--the Michigan Central and the Grand Rapids and Indiana--were made by means of steamers. A car ferry placed in use in 1888 and operated jointly by the three railroads reaching the Straits made it possible to transport freight and passenger cars across the Straits and thus provided a link by rail between the two peninsulas. Passengers could entrain at Marquette or Sault Ste. Marie and travel directly to Detroit or Grand Rapids. Freight shipments could be made without loading and unloading at the Straits. On the western side of the Upper Peninsula, copper companies built short railroads, one connecting Calumet with Hancock. A land-grant railroad was built southward from Ontonagon to the Wisconsin state line, where it formed a connection with one of the railroads being built northward through Wisconsin. In 1872 the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad reached Escanaba from Chicago. By using the line already built between Escanaba and Marquette, Marquette had direct rail connections with Chicago. A branch from Escanaba was built into the Menominee range, reaching Quinnesec in 1877 and Iron Mountain in 1880.
Through the process of consolidation the railroads of the Upper Peninsula were brought together into four main systems. The Duluth, South Shore, and Atlantic stretched across the northern edge of the peninsula, extending from St. Ignace and Sault Ste. Marie in the east, through Marquette to Houghton and westward to Duluth and Superior, Wisconsin. Paralleling it along the Lake Michigan shore, the Soo Line connected Sault Ste. Marie with Manistique and extended westward to Minneapolis and St. Paul, with a branch extending southward to Chicago. From Chicago two main lines were built northward through Wisconsin into the copper and iron ranges of northern Michigan: the Chicago and Northwestern and the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul.
Railroads were indispensable in getting the ore from the mines to ports, and in bringing merchandise into and out of the mining and lumbering towns and cities. To a limited extent they were used for the shipment of ores directly to the smelting plants. But the most economical and practical way to ship the ores was by water. When ships first loaded iron ore most of the work had to be done by hand. Ore was loaded in barrels and put aboard the vessels. Later, wheelbarrows were used to carry the ore onto the docks, where it was dumped into the holds of vessels. When the ore reached its destination, it had to be shoveled into buckets that were hoisted and dumped on shore. In 1859 the first modern dock was built at Marquette by the Cleveland Iron Company. Other huge docks were built at Escanaba for the Menominee range, and at Ashland, Wisconsin, for the Gogebic range.
Schooners and other sailing vessels were first used to transport the ore, but steamships soon took their place. In 1869 the first bulk freighter, the R.J. Hackett, was launched. Built of wood, it was 211 feet long, had a 33-foot beam, and a capacity of 1,200 tons. In 1882 the first iron-hulled steamer was built, the Onoko. It had a gross tonnage of 2,164. The first steel ship built for service on the Great Lakes was the Spokane, launched in 1886. It was 2491/2 feet in length. Two years later Alexander McDougall of Duluth designed the famous "whaleback" for carrying ore. Built especially to withstand the storms of the Great Lakes, the whaleback resembled a huge floating cigar. Many ships of this design were built, and were in use for years. Later improvements in design brought the abandonment of the whaleback. The length and capacity of the ships were steadily increased. The year 1906 saw the advent of 600-foot vessels. Not until 1952 was the first 700-footer launched. The profitable operation of such immense ore carriers required that they be held in port as short a time as possible. Loading could be accomplished quickly but unloading was a slower process until 1899, when Robert Aspin designed and built the first unloaders, making it possible to remove the ore from the largest carriers within a few hours. (10)
Ownership and operation of the giant ore carriers came largely into the hands of the companies that owned the mines. In the early years when small companies were the rule, owners had to pay the going price for the transportation of their ore. One of these was the Cleveland Iron Company, organized in 1847, which in 1872 acquired a controlling interest in a fleet of steamers and schooners owned by the Cleveland Transportation Company. In 1891 a merger was effected with the Iron Cliffs Company, which had been organized in 1864 by Samuel J. Tilden of New York and William B. Ogden of Chicago. This was the origin of the great Cleveland-Cliffs company. It not only owned a fleet of ore carriers, but it also built railroads and conducted logging operations on a huge scale. In 1903 Cleveland-Cliffs purchased the Jackson Mining Company, the oldest iron-mining company in the Upper Peninsula. (11)
Another of the major iron companies came into being in 1883 when Samuel Mather, eldest son of Samuel L. Mather, one of the founders of the Cleveland Iron Company, joined forces with James Pickands, a Marquette merchant, and Jay Morse, an agent for iron companies, to form Pickands, Mather and Company. Extending its operations into the Menominee and Gogebic ranges by the time of World War I, Pickands, Mather had become the second largest producer of iron ore in the United States and operated the second largest fleet on the Great Lakes. (12) A third major company, the M. A. Hanna Company, was formed in 1885, also by Cleveland investors, and came to own a complex of iron mines, coal mines, and lake carriers. Then finally the formation of the giant U.S. Steel Corporation in 1901, which had its own iron-mining subsidiary and another division that operated the corporation's own fleet of ore carriers, helped to usher in still another phase in the development of Great Lakes shipping.
In the early days of mining in the Upper Peninsula, food in large amounts had to be brought into the mining towns. The problem of maintaining local food supplies was always a serious one. It was soon discovered that most grains except corn could be grown. Around the mining camps, as the trees were cleared away, gardens and farms began to appear. But it was years before local supplies of foodstuffs were adequate. Upbound vessels from lower lake ports brought provisions of all kinds, and even feed for livestock. Oxen, cattle, and horses were brought in, and in the days before docks were available, they were put overboard to swim for shore. (13)
As the timber was removed, farmers moved in. But the cold climate and the thin and sandy soils in many parts of the peninsula prevented it from becoming a flourishing agricultural area. In the eastern portion there were large swamp areas. Nevertheless, the land in general was better for farming in the eastern part of the peninsula than in the western part. The better farming areas were found in Chippewa, Delta, and Menominee counties. Hay and potatoes were the best crops. Abundant pasturage encouraged the growth of livestock. A considerable amount of the population growth in the fifteen counties of the Upper Peninsula from 180,523 in 1890 to 332,556 in 1920 was due to the expansion of agriculture. The number of farms doubled between 1900 and 1920, increasing from 6,102 to 12,315. By 1920 about one-tenth of the 10 million acres of the Upper Peninsula was under cultivation.
A traveler on a Great Lakes ship in 1855 wrote in regard to a stop at Detroit: "We have a large accession of excursionists at this point; indeed, our number is more than doubled. Among the number are some elegant-looking ladies and fine-looking men. The North Star has just come down from an excursion trip. And she is landing amid strains of music and shouts of excursionists." As early as 1842 a prominent Cincinnati physician was directing attention to the Great Lakes area for its beneficial effects on health. After expatiating at some length on the excellence of the climate, Dr. Daniel Drake wrote that the traveler on the Great Lakes "has then escaped from the region of miasmas, mosquitoes, congestive fevers, calomel, intermittent ague, cakes, liver diseases, jaundice, cholera morbus, dyspepsia, blue devils, and duns, on the whole of which he looks back with gay indifference, if not a feeling of good-natured contempt." The physician then contrasts the typical eastern watering place, where the eye "wanders over the comingled idlers, gamblers, coquettes, and dandies," to the experience of seeing the "hourly unfolding of fresh aspects of nature." After calling attention to the historic places on the Great Lakes, he continues, "But a different inhabitant, of more interest ... to the dyspeptic and the gourmand, is the celebrated whitefish.... Its flesh, which in the cold and clear waters of the lake, organized and imbued with life, is liable but to this objection--that he who tastes it once will thenceforth be unable to relish that of any other fish," but he cautions against eating too much trout, which "is said to produce drowsiness." One of those who took Dr. Drake's advice was Horace Mann, the famous eastern educator. Writing from Mackinac Island in 1857 Mann attests to the joys of a summer vacation in Michigan: "I never breathed such air before, and this must be some that was clear out of Eden, and did not get cursed. I sleep every night under sheet, blanket, and coverlet, and no day is too warm for smart walking and vigorous bowling. The children are crazy with animal spirits." (14)
Mackinac Island was Michigan's first mecca for tourists and vacationists. Among those who visited this historic spot in the 1830s and 1840s were the English writer Harriet Martineau, Prince de Joinville, son of King Louis Philippe of France, and the American writers Margaret Fuller and William Cullen Bryant. In 1871 three of the buildings constructed by the American Fur Company were linked to form a hotel, the John Jacob Astor House, to accommodate tourists. The construction of the Grand Hotel in 1887 by two railroads and a steamship company has been noted earlier.
In the Upper Peninsula Marquette was becoming noted as a tourist and resort center as early as 1857. Among the prominent personages to visit the city were Robert Dollar, Andrew Carnegie, and Mrs. Abraham Lincoln. By 1860 Marquette had a three-story frame hotel located in a grove of pines and maples with an excellent view of the harbor, built especially for vacationists. It had over a hundred family rooms and a dining hall to seat 125. There were croquet courts, arbors, swings, rustic benches, and a bandstand, as well as a dock where sailboats and rowboats could be moored. Wealthy people from Pittsburgh, New York, Chicago, and Detroit came here to spend the summers. The Northwestern Hotel, as it was called, attracted many visitors from Boston and New York who had financial interests in the iron mines and furnaces of the Marquette range. Another four-story resort hotel, the Mesnard, was built in 1883. In 1896 an enormous hostelry called Hotel Superior was opened with a grand ball. Furnished in flamboyant willow and golden-oak furniture, it was designed to cater to the summer-cruise tourists on Great Lakes passenger steamers. (15)
Other cities in the Upper Peninsula also were summer resorts. Among them were Hancock, St. Ignace, and Sault Ste. Marie. A brochure published in 1895 mentions the "weary sameness" of eastern mountains and beach resorts and contrasts this with the natural beauties, the pure air, and the excellent fishing and hunting in the Lake Superior country. (16) Guidebooks were published to direct tourists to northern resorts. (17) At first the tourist and resort business was merely incidental to the much more important mining, lumber, and farming industries, but in 1912 the Grand Rapids Press proclaimed in a full-page story that "resorters bring prosperity." The story stated that railroads and steamships were among the chief benefactors, but even small resort operators were grateful for the substantial supplement to their income from farming which they gained by courting the resort trade. (18)
As the twentieth century entered its second decade, leaders in the Upper Peninsula were becoming conscious that the great days of lumbering were about over, and that Rocky Mountain copper mines and Minnesota iron mines were outproducing Michigan mines. On February 22, 1911, some 240 delegates from the fifteen Upper Peninsula counties met to organize a cooperative organization to deal with their economic problems. The aim of the organization, as expressed in its preamble, was "to endeavor to bring about the wise use of land and water resources of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that they might better administer to the economy of our people." Financed by contributions from transportation companies, mining firms, businessmen, and local government units, the organization issued brochures setting forth the alleged agricultural opportunities of the peninsula. It also, however, began to extol the recreational attractions of the region and to support the building of highways. Thus it was that the success of tourism, which became the economic hope of the future in the Upper Peninsula as well as much of the northern part of the Lower Peninsula, would be linked to improvements in the means of transportation in much the same way that the mining and lumber economies had been associated with similar developments in an earlier day.
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|Publication:||Michigan: A History of the Wolverine State|
|Date:||Jan 1, 1995|
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