Today Bankers is merely an intersection. In the heyday of the railroad era, however, it had a station, freight house and a three-stall roundhouse. It was originally settled by Horace and George Banker in 1838 and was called Bankers Station. It had a going sawmill business for many years.
The Detroit, Hillsdale and Indiana Railroad was established in 1869 and ran 65 miles from Detroit to Bankers. On Dec. 11, 1871, the first mail train ran to Bankers. There was a problem, though. When the train reached Bankers there was no way to turn around the engine. Nor was there a station or any way to add coal or water to the engine for its steam power. This resulted in the train having to back up from Bankers to Hillsdale in order to get the engine restocked and pointed in the other direction.
In the summer of 1872 a new Hillsdale depot, called a "Passenger House," was built near Sharp and what would later be known as Hallett streets. When this happened, the Hillsdale turntable and engine facilities were probably moved to Bankers. This guess is supported by the fact that the company's master mechanic, William Carpenter, was located in Bankers.
Train transportation provided connections to the outside world formerly unheard of. Resort vacations and dances became popular at such out-of-the-way places as Bankers’ Station, Lake Baw Beese and Shadyside south of Osseo, to name a few.
Hillsdale County’s Lakes made her a very popular destination. Tickets to dances in Bankers were works of art by themselves.
The Detroit, Hillsdale and Indiana ran into serious financial difficulty, caused in part by a financial depression that affected the whole country. It limped on for awhile after declaring bankruptcy and being reorganized, then absorbed into the Lake Shore Railway in 1881. Bankers, which had evolved from a sleepy group of houses when the railroad came its way, once again subsided into nothing more than an intersection. Of the days when its importance was greater nothing remains, no tracks, no remnants of the station, turntable or roundhouse.
With the rising popularity of the auto industry came the eventual demise of travel by train.
JoAnne P. Miller & Carol A. Lackey