Along the Railroad Tracks
Carl Hirsch came to America from Germany in 1888. With his wife, Emma, also from Germany, he came to Hillsdale in 1894 to assist in caring for the Lake Shore Railroad Company’s grounds and gardens between Toledo and Chicago. Within two years he had full charge of the work. He also started what was said to be the city’s first floral business. In 1904, the Hillsdale Standard noted that the Hirsch Greenhouses were among the finest and most complete in Michigan. Until his untimely death in 1915, his Hillsdale gardens were greatly admired. The floral business of Carl Hirsch, at Railroad Street (now Carleton Road) and Spring, was the predecessor to today’s Smith’s Flowers.
The Pie House, west of the Depot, was popular both with the traveling public and with the college crowd. Open all night, a quarter of a pie could be had for a nickel.
Although strictly forbidden by Hillsdale City regulations, the younger set couldn’t resist being near the trains. In 1919, despite the ordinance passed in 1875, “Restraining Minors and Idle Persons from Playing or being on Depot Grounds,” 8-year-old Archie Globensky was found drowned in a cinder pit next to the Hillsdale roundhouse.
Hacks waiting for passengers at the Hillsdale Depot. The name on the fancy hack at the left reads “Keefer Hotel.”