RailsandTrails.com - Texts - 1916 Pennsylvania Railroad Guide

Fort Wayne to Chicago

CONTINUING westward, the Pennsylvania System leaves the valley of the St. Joseph and bisects the prairies of northern Indiana through wonderful farm land. About nineteen miles west of Fort Wayne, it crosses the Eel River, one of the tributaries of the Wabash, and enters Columbia City, a lumber town of 3,448 population, and the junction point with the Michigan Division from Terre Haute, through Logansport to Butler and Toledo.

Winona Lake, which takes its name from the small lake lying south of the railroad, is noted as the site of the Winona Assembly and Summer School, annually attracting thousands of students and teachers from the leading colleges, universities, and schools of the country. During the summer months the hotels and cottages around the lake are thronged with those who come to attend the schools and to take part in the many outdoor pleasures to be found here.

Warsaw, a little over a mile west of Winona Lake, and connected with it by both railroad and electric line, is one of the older settlements in this part of the State, its history dating back to 1836. To-day its population of 6,100 are engaged in various manufactures, principally those relating to agriculture, for this part of the State is distinctly a farming section.

A mile or so west of Warsaw the head-waters of the Tippecanoe River, famed in history from its association with President William Henry Harrison, are crossed.

Plymouth, lying along the banks of the Yellow River, which, with the Kankakee and several other streams, unite to form the Illinois River, is the junction point with the branch extending from Logansport to South Bend. The latter point is a few miles south of Old Fort St. Joseph, a landmark in the campaign against the hostile Indians who opposed settlement in southern Michigan in 1754. Ten miles south of Plymouth is beautiful Lake Maxinkuckee.

Davis, just west of Plymouth, on the Kankakee River, is the northern entrance to the famed hunting and fishing grounds in English Lake. This lake is virtually a widening of the Kankakee, and the Yellow River empties into it from the East.

Valparaiso is noted as the seat of Valparaiso University, one of the largest institutions of learning in the State, and also of the Northern Indiana Normal School. First settled in 1836, following the driving farther west of the hostile Indians under Tecumseh, Valparaiso grew rapidly until to-day it has a population of 8,475, and its shops turn out many remarkable products, notably mica paint, dairy materials and machinery.

Shortly before reaching the city of Gary the waters of Lake Michigan may be seen stretching out to the north of the tracks, the railroad skirting this enormous inland sea for almost thirty-five miles.

Gary, twenty-eight miles east of Chicago, was founded and all the buildings utilized by its 18,300 inhabitants were built to house and care for the employés of the enormous steel plant located at this point. Gary has every convenience of the modern city, including electric street-car service, and practically all of its people derive their support from the steel works.

Indiana Harbor is always interesting to travelers from the East entering the city of Chicago on account of the enormous cement works stretched alongside the tracks for quite a distance. Here the slag from the steel plants is ground up to make Portland cement.

Three miles west of Indiana Harbor, on the south side of the tracks, are two large, shallow lakes, known as Lake George and Lake Wolf. The through route from the East via Columbus and Logansport skirts the western edge of Lake Wolf and joins the Fort Wayne Division at

Colehour, marking the State line between Indiana and Illinois. From this point to Union Station one is within the corporate boundaries of the city of Chicago. A little over three miles farther on the railroad crosses the Calumet River, the outlet into Lake Michigan of Lake Calumet, as well as of Lake Wolf and Lake George, which surround the southern end of the city.

For about thirteen miles from this point the tracks are elevated. South Chicago, larger than many cities, but only a recent annex of the greater city, and Englewood, in the heart of the fine residential section of the South side of Chicago, lead into the principal part of the mid-west metropolis. At Twenty-second Street the tracks cross the arm of the Chicago River, which, by the construction of the great drainage canals, has been made to flow in the reverse direction.

Chicago, the western terminus of both the Fort Wayne and Pan-Handle routes of the Pennsylvania System, with a population of 2,388,500, ranks as the second city in the United States, the business center for the great West and the busiest railroad city in the world.

It is probable that Joliet and Marquette were the first white men who saw the present site of Chicago, then on the Indian canoe route from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi Valley. This was in 1673, and Pere Marquette spent the following winter in a small cabin here. In the early part of the eighteenth century, the French built a fort at Chicago Portage, which was still standing in 1795.

Jean Baptiste Pointe de Saible, a San Domingan negro, appears to have been the first permanent settler in Chicago, where he located as an Indian trader in 1777. John Kinzie, an American, bought the location in 1803. Fort Dearborn, built on the river opposite Kinzie's cabin to house, in 1801, the small garrison of United States troops sent out after the George Rogers Clark conquest in 1798, was burned and its garrison massacred by Indians under orders from Colonel Hull of the British forces, August 15, 1812.

In 1816, Fort Dearborn was rebuilt and a small village grew up around it, which, in 1837, was incorporated as a city with a population of 4,170. But it was not until the railroads touched Chicago in 1852, that it really began to grow. As the railroad lines crept into Chicago and thence westward over the plains, the city increased in importance.

A memorable year in the history of Chicago is 1871. On Sunday evening, October 8th, Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicked over a lamp in a small barn on the west side and started the great fire. For twenty-four hours the fire raged, over an area of 2,024 acres, with great loss of life -- estimated at 300 persons -- and a property loss of $187,000,000. The consequent destitution and suffering called out instantaneous responses from all parts of this country and from Europe. Many insurance companies were forced to suspend, but some $46,000,000 of fire claims were paid; bank vaults were, fortunately, found intact. Within two years the burned area was again covered with buildings, and in the rebuilding much more substantial types were used.

Less than eighty years ago Chicago had but little more than 4,000 inhabitants; to-day, one of its immense office buildings houses a larger number of workers, while one retail store has 7,500 employés. From the downtown business section, crowded with lofty sky-scrapers indicative of the hustling business activities so manifest, to the quieter hotel and residential sections, and including the great stock yards, everywhere throughout its area of 194 square miles is the western spirit of push and hustle displayed.

In value of product, Chicago's greatest industry is meat-packing and slaughtering, with annual product of $270,000,000. Next comes clothing, with $70,000,000, and printing machinery and its allied industries, with $50,000,000. Chicago claims to have 150 distinct lines of manufactures, each of which exceeds $100,000 in value of product per annum. The total annual value of manufacturers of all sorts is over one billion dollars; one company employs 13,000 men; one plant has an output valued at $200,000,000 annually.

Twenty-six of the principal railroad trunk lines of the country run trains into Chicago terminals, in addition to numerous belt lines. The corporate limits of the city are gridironed with no less than 800 miles of main track and 1,400 miles of auxiliary tracks and sidings. Chicago is the terminus and starting point of all its railroad lines, no regular train passing through Chicago en route to another destination. There are six railroad stations in Chicago, and passengers holding through tickets are transferred where necessary. The Union Station, used by the Pennsylvania System, is being replaced by a modern and handsome structure on a site slightly removed from the present one at Adams and Canal streets.

The park system of Chicago is extensive. The public parks cover 4,388 acres, and the various parks are connected by boulevards splendidly paved and affording favorite highways for automobilists. The entire circuit requires a journey of sixty-eight miles. The best known of these public pleasure grounds is Jackson Park, the site of the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893.