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The Interurbin

Fast Facts

From 1898 to 1913, a total of 22 interurban companies incorporated for the purpose of building lines into or through Cass County. Most of these lines were never built as funding fell through, bonds would not sell, or companies became mired in litigation.

According to a 1907 newspaper report, 477 cars passed 3rd and Market Streets every day as cars ran through Logansport 17 hours per day.

Timetables were printed in the daily newspapers.

The rubber tire conquered the steel rail as travelers in a new era preferred bus travel. Later, the popularity of the automobile, combined with the heavy cost of installing rails and maintaining and paying taxes on them, brought an end to the interurban rail system.

Before the interurban boom was over about 200 companies operated lines in Indiana.

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Mass transit in Logansport began with the mule car line. Hedric Coach Line operated in Logansport beginning in 1882. It was housed at the corner of 18th & Broadway and the cars ran on wooden rails. When the rails wore out they were sometimes capped with iron or replaced with iron rails. A fire in 1891 all but wiped out the line, killing over half of the mules, and destroying the streetcars.

By the summer of 1891, Joseph McNary and members of the Logansport Businessmen’s Association sought the installation of electric streetcars. A brick powerhouse and a barn for housing the new machines was built on the property. In October 1891, four new streetcars arrived in Logansport from the St. Louis Car Company and were greeted with great anticipation by local citizens.

On Nov. 19, 1891, the cars began service. At the time, most people had only experienced electricity in the form of lightning during a storm. Many people viewed these single cars — with windows and seating, but no locomotive pulling them — as astounding. They were faster, ran more frequently, and the fare was much cheaper than travel on the steam railroads.

Charles Henry coined the phrase “Interurban.” He was a pioneer in proposing electric transportation systems to connect cities. By 1902, three different companies sought to build lines into Logansport, but the city council only wanted one company. The three competed to see which would be the one to build lines in Logansport and Cass County. This caused the court dockets to fill and companies tried to buy out each other’s interests. Alliances were made and shifted one day to the next and promised were made and rumors circulated.

In spite of many obstacles, the interurban line was completed and cars began travel between Logansport and Peru on May 15, 1903. During this era of the Wabash Valley Traction Line, Boyd Park was a favorite recreation area. It was located 9 miles east of Peru. It offered picnics and free entertainment on weekends

Fares: It cost $2.40 to go all the way to Ft. Wayne and it took 4 hours. It cost 35¢ one way and 50¢ round trip for short trips.

The Wabash and Logansport Traction Line served several small communities east of Logansport. The first stop was Miami Bend, which stopped at the Pottowatomi Point area. At that time Pottowatomie Point was a summer retreat for the upper crust of society. Many leading citizens established summer homes along the banks of the Wabash. There was a wood frame waiting room, which measured 8’ x 10’.

The next stop was Cass Station for people wanting to visit Logansport Country Club. The interurban provided them with a waiting room near the tracks on the north bank of the river. Country Club members crossed the river by footbridge.

Another 5-minute ride took passengers to Lewisburg. Here the company had not only a waiting room but also a tool shed for equipment used when repairs were needed. Lewisburg had a general store and blacksmith shops, as well as surrounding houses. People from Onward, just 3 miles south, sometimes came to Lewisburg to board the interurban for trips to Ft. Wayne or Wabash, and later to Lafayette. The last stop before the county line serviced the people of the town of New Waverly, located two miles south of the lines.

An almost hourly schedule allowed much more flexibility in planning daily activities for people in these areas. Many passengers were farmers or small businessmen who couldn’t afford to be away from their occupation for an entire day.

Connecting to Lafayette

Expansion of the east-west line through Cass County occurred on Feb. 17, 1904, with the formation of the Ft. Wayne and Wabash Valley Traction Company. To prepare for the opening of the Lafayette to Ft. Wayne service, the company built a new car barn, a paint shop, a machine shop, and a power substation at the corner of Jefferson and 18th Streets in Logansport. The residents in the western part of Cass County eagerly awaited the completion of the line. Clymers was the only regular stop between Logansport and the county line. Regular service between Logansport and Lafayette began on July 1, 1907.

Connecting to the South

First stop was at Hilltop station – near Anoka — with a waiting room station and brick power station. Continuing through Washington Township, passengers were picked up at the Ramer waiting room and transported to the town of Walton. The route went on to stops in Lincoln and Galveston.By the summer of 1891, Joseph McNary and members of the Logansport Businessmen’s Association sought the installation of electric streetcars. A brick powerhouse and a barn for housing the new machines was built on the property. In October 1891, four new streetcars arrived in Logansport from the St. Louis Car Company and were greeted with great anticipation by local citizens.

These are links of PDF copies from the Interurban book located at the CCH Library:
Click here to find the ever-growing digital archives of the CCHS on InGenWeb
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The Cass County Historical Socier\ty
Phone:  574 753 3866
Email: cchistoricalsoc@frontier.com
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