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Macomb County

The Interurban Rail – 1901

-Posted on April 25, 2018

(from the Summer, 2017 issue of Macomb Now Magazine)

By Denis LeDuc

As a very young boy growing up in the 1950s, I was close to my grandparents. They lived in the flat above my parents and my older brother and I in our two-story house on Balfour Street in Detroit. When my mother got tired of minding me, she would send me upstairs to visit with my grandmother and grandfather. Fired up by my grandparents’ stories, I dreamt of growing up to be a railroad engineer. My grandparents told tales of my great-grandfather, who had been a conductor on the Wabash Railroad. They also told of traveling on the Interurban Rail, referring to it as the Rapid Railway System. As a child I imagined that it was a real railroad running through the heart of Detroit and out into Macomb County and beyond.

In the early 1900s, my grandparents regularly took the Interurban, which was in fact more of a streetcar than a railroad. My grandmother was a self-taught artist and she would travel from Detroit to Macomb County to sketch and paint the countryside. My grand father would travel the Interurban to go fishing in lake St. Clair. I particularly remember one photograph of my grandfather and four to five men with a rope strung out between them, full of perch.

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