50,000 People Celebrate the Arrival of the First Train
at the New Grand Trunk Station
(Article – June 16, 1907)


Canal Street, Ablaze, is Scene of Rejoicings

Amid Cheers of Vast Throngs and Ringing Speeches
New Building is Dedicated

Pioneers Play A Leading Part

Inaugural Train on Entering Structure,
Carries Old Timers Who Saw First Locomotive Reach the City

 

Heralded with shouts from thousands of lusty throats, with music of bands and volleys of musketry, and framed in a blaze of electric lights with a background of colored fireworks, the new Grand Trunk railroad station last night formally took its place among the permanent institutions of the city.

Everybody was there. Those who couldn’t come in the afternoon came in the evening and all who could came at both times. The throng was immense and all the afternoon and until late into the night a steady stream of humanity passed in and out of the beautiful building at the end of Bridge street bridge.

Even the old residents were surprised, and many were the exclamations of amazement which sprang to their lips as their special car went the length of Canal and Monroe streets just before the parade started. On either side of the car was a sea of upturned faces from the railway tracks to the store fronts.

"My sakes! Where did they come from?" asked one old lady, "I didn’t know there were so many people in Grand Rapids. She remembered the town when its whole population did not number as many souls as were crowded into a single block on Canal street last night.

And not only did the new depot have an opening, but staid, dignified old Canal street took a new lease of life. It was all dressed in its brightest colors and trimmed from Campau square to Bridge street with graceful festoons of electric lights. It was filled with a determination not to be outdone by any other street and refused to be relegated to the position of the third most important thoroughfare in the city. It still stands second in importance – and one of her energetic merchants even made the remark that it might make a bid for first place some of these days; but second it certainly is, a position which it has held for many years.

Backed with the energy and persistency of such merchants as Walter K. Schmidt, Meyer S. May, Ben E. West, B. Schrouder, James Hagen and a score of others the affair could not help but be a success and after days of ceaseless hustling, the tired promoters went to bed late last night – or perhaps not until this morning – with a feeling of work well done and of well laid plans carried to achievement.

Despite the immense crowd, there were scarcely any signs of a carnival spirit, such as have been so frequently seen on other similar occasions. Every one had a good time, but hoodlums and vandals were at no time in evidence either during the afternoon or evening. For a large crowd it was remarkable for its orderliness.

Saw First Train Come: Are Guests of Railroad

Forty-three old residents, who witnessed the arrival of the first railroad train in Grand Rapids,
rode on the inaugural train at the new Grand Trunk station. Those who were in the party, with the

dates of their coming to this city, are:

Stephen H. Aldrich, 1864

Mrs. Margaret Pew, 1837

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Audrain, 1849

Gen’l and Mrs. Byron R. Pierce

Christian Blickle, 1853

W. E. Pullen, 1865

C. P. Carpenter, 1856

Mrs. Betsy Remington, 1866

Samuel J. Chase, 1857

Mrs. S. A. Richards, 1856

Mrs. James Cloyes, 1857

Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Richmond, 1850

Mr. and Mrs. W. N. Cook, 1843

Mrs. Fred Shriver, 1853

Miss Lucy Gould, 1861

Pliny Smith, 1849

James Hallett, 1856

Mrs. Matilda Soloman, 1857

August Heyer, 1856

George W. Thayer, 1845

Charles Holaday, 1846

A. G. Treat, 1855

H. H. Leffinwell, 1854

Mrs. S. E. Turner, 1848

Mr. & Mrs. T. J. Lucas, 1846

Mr. and Mrs. William A. Watrous, 1845

Mrs. William Morman, 1853

Capt. And Mrs. B. S. Whitman, 1849

John Muir, 1851

George G. Whitworth

Mrs. Charles J. Parks, 1856

Mr. and Mrs. Chas. H. Winchester, 1854

Mrs. O. K. Pearsall, 1842

Louis Zunder, 1862

Dayton S. Peck, 1847

 

Transcriber: Evelyn Sawyer
Created: 28 December 2003
URL:
http://kent.migenweb.net/histories/rrstation.html