High Iron Along the Huron Shore Thornton SIGNED #990 Hard Cover
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High Iron Along the Huron Shore Thornton SIGNED #385 Hard Cover
High Iron Along the Huron Shore By W Neil Thornton Hard Cover LIMITED EDITION #990 SIGNED by the author Copyright 1982 133 Pages
Seventy years ago, the infant automobile industry had a profound effect on the future of transportation in this country. In order to take advantage of this new mobility offered to practically every individual citizen by the four wheels of "Tin Lizzie," a good roads movement swept the country. During the course of time, former two-rut trails were graveled, then paved and finally turned into super highways.
At the outset, Americans were unable to comprehend the changes to be wrought in their lifestyle by the automobile over the next seven decades, with new job opportunities offered in manufacturing plants, a movement away from rural areas and increased free time to be devoted to recreational pursuits and travel.
In the process, the nation turned its back on an established transportation system which was at its very height of development. During America's technological coming-of - age, the nation's railroad system had linked the country's two coasts and an efficient network of rails crisscrossed the continent to provide a highly efficient transportation system.
That this was a nation relying on steel wheels traveling over rails was further evidenced by the fact that each city of any size maintained its own street railway system to carry passengers to and from jobs, or to shops and stores in business areas. In addition, major metropolitan areas of Michigan were connected by an interurban system of electrically powered trains which provided fast travel throughout the southern half of the state.
It was not too many years before rail traffic began to decrease rapidly, due mainly to the nation's new love affair with the automobile. Although cross-crountry travel was to rely on rail transportation until the advent of swift air travel following World War II, the first railroad system to disappear during the auto age were the interurban lines connecting metropolitan areas, followed by the street railway systems.
As a consequence of the drop in passenger traffic, railroads began a movement toward consolidation of lines and removal of unprofitable branches. It was not long before the country was entirely dependent on rubber tired wheels operating on public highways as the major form of passenger transportation, although railroads continued to provide the major movement of bulk materials for industry.
Northeastern Michigan, too, was affected by this transformation from rail to automobile traffic and one of the major changes saw the demise of branches which had been extended from the main railroad line along the Lake Huron shore into inland farming areas. When those branches became unprofitable to operate, rails were removed and roadbeds abandoned, leaving an entire inland region without means of freight transportation and few improved roads.
Rail transportation was and still is important to Northeastern Michigan. This volume seeks to recount the colorful history of transportation up the Lake Huron shore, beginning with sails and steam of the Great Lakes shipping industry, wooden wheels of the primitive stagecoach lines, through narrow gauge lumbering railroads and final development of a real railroad avenue which continues to this day.
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