| Manistee County Historical Museum
This cache was hidden as part of the tRails Meandering North-Easterly Geocache Rail Tour, presented by Silent Whistles, the Manistee County Historical Museum and the Crawford County Historical Society and Museum. Record the milepost value contained on and/or in each cache container on the Ticket to Manistee form. See the To Claim a Prize section below for specific tour requirements. See the Resources section below for links to the Ticket to Manistee, Tour Cache List, and a Recommended Driving Route Map.
You are looking for an ammo box guarded by lots of old artifacts at the Manistee County Historical Museum. Please note that the hours of operation.
- ADMISSION: Adults - $3.00 Families - $8.00 Students - $1.00
- January, February, March - Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 10 AM to 5PM
- April, May - Tuesday thru Saturday: 10AM to 5PM
- June, July, August - Monday thru Saturday: 10AM to 5PM
- September, October, November, December - Tuesday thru Saturday: 10 AM to 5 PM
Photo courtesy of the Manistee County Historical Museum, C. Showalter Collection.
Second M&NE depot on the left, note the bay window behind the car,
Third M&NE Depot is far right (pillars), swing bridge in the background is open.
The village of Manistee got its start in 1841 when John, Joseph and Adam Stronach built a sawmill here. A post office was established on January 31st, 1850, with Stephen Batchelder as postmaster. The office was short lived, closing on July 23rd, 1851. Manistee was incorporated as a city in 1869. It suffered a setback when a fire destroyed half the buildings in town in 1871. It was reestablished on July 24th, 1854. Over time, most of the buildings were replaced with brick.
Photo courtesy of the Manistee County Historical Museum, C. Showalter Collection.
Third M&NE Depot, formerly the Sorenson House Hotel.
When the Manistee and Northeastern Railroad began passenger operations in 1889, patrons were embarked and disembarked from the train in the railroad yards at the sawmill, near fifth street. Realizing a more convenient facility was needed, the company moved passenger operations to a building on the western corner of River and Jones Streets. This facility was used until 1928 when the former Sorenson Hotel on the Eastern corner was purchased and converted to a depot. This building stood where the caboose and former Chesapeake and Ohio depot stand today.
Photo courtesy of the Clarke Historical Library, Charles Conn Collection, used with permission of Mr. Conn.
Buckley & Douglas Saw Mill with two salt mine derricks.
Visible end of smaller building on extreme right is believed to be the first passenger shelter.
The timber industry was a huge boon to the initial growth of Manistee. By the end of the nineteenth century, there were forty sawmills in and around the city. Most lumber barons understood the temporary nature of their business and some looked for other ways to continue their good fortunes. Some expanded their lumber business by using railroads. One, Charles Reitz, discovered Salt in the area and began a lucrative salt mining business that still exists. When fires ravaged the large Buckley and Douglas Sawmill complex in 1920, their former financier, Charles Ruggles and his partner, John Henry Rademaker, bought the property and entered the salt business in 1922. Eight years later, it was purchased by the Morton Salt Company. The industry took what had been a thriving lumber town from a downward spiral at the end of the lumber boom to continued growth and prosperity.
For more information about the Manistee area, visit the Manistee County Historical Museum at 425 River St. in the old A.H. Lyman Company building.
Manistee and Northeastern Railroad Company History:
On January 7, 1887, a meeting was held at the office of Buckley-Douglas at Manistee, for the purpose of organizing a Railroad Company to be known as the Manistee & North Eastern Railroad Company. This railroad was to be built with a gauge exceeding three and one-half feet in width for a length of seventy-five miles, as near as may be, and extend from a point in the City of Manistee, Michigan to a point in the City of Traverse City, Grand Traverse County, Michigan.
Extracted from The History of the Manistee and Northwestern Railway Company, Erwin F. Olsen, 1956.
As a result of the afore mentioned meeting, articles of incorporation for The Manistee and Northeastern Rail Road Company (M&NE) were prepared January 7th, 1887and filed in Manistee. The corporation was approved on May 1st, 1887, by the Michigan Railroad Commission. Key players in the venture were lumber men Edward Buckley and William Douglas, and financier Charles F. Ruggles. Buckley and Douglas owned the largest sawmill operation and salt plant in Manistee and needed a cost effective way to transport logs from the forests to the mill. The pair also owned huge expanses of timber lands north and east of Manistee. The M&NE wasn't their first foray into railroading as they had previously built a small narrow gauge logging line in eastern Manistee County to haul cut logs to the Manistee River in section 25 of Dickson Township. From there, they were floated to the mills in Manistee. As lands along the rivers were timbered off, railroads replaced rivers as the primary means of transport. At first logs were the only thing hauled on the railroad but by 1888, passengers and other freight were hauled as well.
The initial capital outlay for the railroad was $600,000 with the goal of reaching Traverse City. When completed, the M&NE became one of the only common carrier railroads in Michigan that was completed entirely with private funding. The articles of incorporation were amended on January 7th, 1882, to increase capital to $2,000,000. The name was changed to Manistee and North-Eastern Railroad Company. The corporation was amended a second time on January 30th, 1904, as Manistee and Northeastern Railroad Company to change the number of directors on the board. It was amended for the last time at a February 24th, 1909. At a stockholders meeting that day, a decision was made to issue $1.5 Million in bonds to be used to complete what would be known as the Manistee River Branch. This was approved at a Directors meeting that same day (note the subtle differences in the name). The railroad grew subtantially when the River Branch reached Grayling in 1910, tapping an additional three to four hundred million feet of standing timber. On June 9th, 1919, the M&NE leased the Leelanau Transit Company, the last "growth" for the railroad. This line was mostly for passenger service and was a desperate attempt to inject some badly needed money into the company.
With the removal of the last of the timber, agriculture supplemented the freight business. Unfortunately, forest fires damaged the soil and a few short years of good yields quickly depleted what was left, making agriculture a tough business and the rail line's profits fell. Eventually, potatoes and fruit became the crops of choice. With the advent of better roads and the somewhat reliable automobiles and trucks, freight and passenger business diminished. The railroad line was clearly in financial difficulties. Unpaid employees filed a lawsuit in US District Court in 1918. Attempts were made to increase profits by deferring maintenance on the right of way and equipment. A nearly fatal blow came when the mill property, salt plant and railroad shops were destroyed by Manistee's second largest fire. The salt plant was eventually rebuilt but the timber business had come to a close. After years of operating at a loss, largely due to operating River Branch with little or no traffic, the railroad filed an application to abandon the branch on September 5th, 1924. They subsequently abandoned the branch on July 1st, 1925. The M&NE entered into receivership on December 16th, 1925. It was sold for $300,000 to James Dagget and reincorporated as the Manistee & Northeastern Railway Company on September 4th, 1926. In December, 1931, the Pere Marquette Railroad (PM) gained control of the M&NE, but continued to operate it as a seperate entitiy. On November 30th, 1955, the M&NE was merged into the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad (C&O). Today the only part of the M&NE still in use is the Filer City Branch within the city of Manistee.
M&NE Main Line, Manistee-Traverse City:
1912 M&NE timetable, Mike Hankwitz collection.
Construction of the main line began from Manistee in the spring of 1887. The line opened for freight business in October, 1888 and was completed as far as Bear Creek, 18 miles from Manistee, on January 14th, 1889. On April 28th, 1889, the line reached Lemon Lake, 25 miles from Manistee. By September 29th, 1889, the line was open to Nessen City, 33 miles from Manistee. On June 1st, 1890, the line was nearly 45 miles long and had reached Interlochen. On October 13th, 1890, the rails reached Lake Ann, 52 miles from Manistee and only twelve miles from Traverse City, as the crow flies. A direct route would not be taken, however, and after winding another 18 miles north, then east, then south-east, the line reached Traverse City on June 25th, 1892.
The line's sole purpose at its inception was to haul logs. The company purchased some passenger cars and began passenger service on January 6th, 1889, with the first train reaching Bear Creek, 20 miles from Manistee (notice that this date conflicts with the date in the previous paragraph for when the line actually opened to Bear Creek, with the information from two different sources). The service was immediately popular and the M&NE began running two passenger trains daily. Through passenger service between Manistee and Traverse City was never a big draw but local passenger service was very popular. As time went on and the logging business dwindled, the railroad turned its attention to agriculture and general freight.
After the Pere Marquette took over the line, it reduced its redundant footprint in the area by closing the M&NE main line between Kaleva and Solon in Leelanau County on April 10th, 1933, using its own line (the former Chicago and West Michigan main line to Petoskey) between Kalava and Traverse City instead. The Interstate Commerce Commision authorized the abandonmenton of the closed M&NE line between Kaleva and Solon on June 19th, 1934. In 1947, the C&O merged the PM into itself, it took control of the M&NEx. In 1954, the C&O abandoned the five miles between Solon and Hatchs. On November 30th, 1955, the C&O officially merged the M&NE into the parent company, thus ending the identity of the M&NE. It then then abandoned its own line between Baldwin and Kaleva in 1956, favoring the M&NE route between Manistee and Kaleva. In 1982, the C&O abandoned its line from Kaleva to Grawn and all of the remaining M&NE trackage outside of Manistee.
- Manistee and Northeastern Railroad, michiganrailroads.com (RRHX)
- M&NE History, Trainweb.org
- Manistee and Northeastern Railroad (Wikipedia)
- Pere Marquette Historical Society: M&NE
- Manistee County Historical Museum
- Crawford County Historical Society
- History of Manistee and Northeastern Railway Company, Erwin F. Olsen © 1956 E.F. Olsen, UofM Digital Library and HathiTrust.
- Standard Atlas of Manistee County, Michigan, G.A. Ogle & Co., 1903, UofM Digital Library
- Annual Report of the Commissioner of Railroads of the State of Michigan, for years 1889-1906, Google Books
- Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory, Google Books
- Michigan Place Names, Walter Romig, © 1986 Wayne State University Press
- Michigan Railroads and Railroad Companies, Graydon M. Meints © 1992, Michigan State University Press
- Michigan Railroad Lines, Graydon M. Meints © 2005, Michigan State University Press
- Michigan Railroad Atlas, Volumes 1-4, Graydon M. Meints © 2017, Michigan State University Libraries
- In the Pines, An Atlas of Michigan Logging Railroads, James S. Hannum, M.D., © 2017 Hannum House Publications
To claim a prize:
- Download and print the Ticket to Manistee (see Resources) and take it with you caching.
- As an aide, download and print the RMNE Recommended Route Map (see Resources).
- Follow the instructions on that form to find the required number and combination of the hides.
- All hides in the tour are identified on the Ticket to Manistee and in the bookmark list.
- Look for Mile Post values on the cache labels and log books to record on the form.
- Please do not record the Mile Post values in your on-line log or they will be deleted.
- Please do not post photos showing the Mile Post values with your on-line log.
- Please do not post photos showing answers to field puzzles with your on-line log.
- Each individual GC account holder making the find must sign and date the paper log book in the cache with their GC account name. No group logs please.
- Send the completed form via US Mail to the address on the form or scan and send a digital copy using GC email or the GC message center. Each GC account holder must send in a form. One prize per completed form. One prize per GC Account. Multiple forms per mailing is encouraged.
Once your answers have been verified, the prize will be sent back to you via US Mail to the address you provide on the form, while supplies last. One hundred prizes have been minted..
I would like to express my special thanks to the following people and organizations who have helped either directly or indirectly with this project:
- Charles Conn for allowing me to use of his collection of photographs at the Clarke Historical Library. Mr. Conn thought this would be a good non-profit way to share some history.
- Mark Fedder and the Manistee County Historical Museum for being gracious cohosts.
- Mike Hankwitz and Charles Showalter, both of whom provided a portion of their digital collection, both private and that of the Manistee County Historical Museum, in support of this project.
- The Crawford County Historical Society for being gracious cohosts and providing materials.
- The Traverse City District Library, for help with and blessing to use their digital library.
- Dr. James Hannum, for sharing research, opinions and guidance along the right of way.
- James Harlow for sharing many items out of his collection and his memories.
- Dale Berry and michiganrailroads.com, always a source of great information.
- Graydon Meints, for his hard work and research which would have taken years to do on my own.