A misinterpretation by an early Hillsdale historian has resulted in decades of misinformation regarding the Detroit, Hillsdale, and Indiana right-of-way granted through the City of Hillsdale. The train trestle which crossed Broad Street near the Fairgrounds and headed southwest was not "30 ft. high." The span was 30 feet, crossing over Broad Street, with a height of 13.5 feet.
In 1899, the Smith House (located in what is now the Miller Building), boasted in the Hillsdale Standard, that their "casino is the best in the City." During that era of catering to the train-traveling public, Hillsdale offered a number of gambling establishments, as well as at least two or three "houses of ill repute."
A July 1902 edition of the Litchfield Gazette reported "the tender of the freight engine was off the track near the [Stock's] Mill Thursday afternoon, but several of the strong men of the village went down and lifted it back again."
At one time, rainbow trout from the ponds at Cold Springs was sold to the Lakeshore and Michigan Southern Railroad lines for their dining cars.
A May 21, 1895 edition of the Hillsdale Standard reported "a New York Central coach filled with children was attached to the fast moving train west last Wednesday. The little ones were foundlings bound for homes in the west."
The last passenger train to leave Litchfield was an excursion train to Greenfield Village in 1952.
The Detroit, Hillsdale, and Southwestern Railroad line was nicknamed the "Huckleberry Line" and was known for stopping at highways and roads in order to allow automobiles the right of way.
In February 1856 the New York Times reported an "awful collision on the Southern Michigan Railroad … near Hillsdale, Mich." Due to the snow and cold, running "wild" and off schedule, the eastbound mail train was running with no headlight. Forty people were killed and at least fifty injured, as well as all mail being carried from Chicago and beyond consumed by fire. The mail train engineer survived, but expressed "a wish to die." "Carelessness of the railroad employees" was blamed.
In 1902 the New York Times reported the Lake Shore Railroad line has "two large greenhouses with competent florists in charge." One was at Mentor, Ohio, while the other was reported as being situated at Hillsdale, Michigan.
Carol A. Lackey