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STORY OF ANOTHER PIONEER

BY C. B. STEBBINS
June 7, 1882.

The stage coach of to-day is essentially the same thing it was a hundred years ago, but improvements were very soon made upon the first railway cars. One of the earliest was on the E. & K. road. It needed no patent to protect the inventors, and that was before there was any patent on the aisles of a church or a hole in the ground. It had three apartments, the centre one raised so that the seats were on a level with the top of the other apartments, and directly over the inner seats of the latter, saving three feet in length of the car. Under the floor of the raised apartment was a place for baggage. Everybody wanted to ride in the elevated section, but they never hankered for it a second time. Think of a car set on a single pair of trucks, and the seat eight or nine feet above the rail, and imagine the shaking you would get, flying along over the strap rail at a maximum speed of ten miles an hour. The car ran but a short time, and I think the inventors or owners must have taken as much pains to hide it from the world as the government did to conceal the grave of Wilkes Booth. Could we have had it at the centennial it would have been a greater curiosity than the first locomotive. It is surprising that our historians have shown so much ignorance of the early enterprise of Southern Michigan. As I have said, this was the first railroad in operation west of Utica, except the Buffalo and Niagara Falls road. It was thirty-three miles in length, seven-eighths of the way through the unbroken forest, and one-third of the way through a densely timbered swamp, where malaria and mosquitoes held joint possession; built while Michigan was struggling for existence against the war-clubs of Ohio.

Michigan


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