The Pere Marquette Railway began life in 1900 through a merger of Chicago & West Michigan, Flint & Pere Marquette and the Detroit, Grand Rapids and Western. The Chicago & Western portion of the line used tracks that extended from New Buffalo to Pentwater Michigan from 1868 to 1899.
In December 1903, trackage was completed from New Buffalo to the Michigan Central Railroad at Porter, Indiana and direct service to Chicago was started – carrying freight and passengers.
Fueled by the demand for lumber to rebuild Chicago the Great Fire of 1871, the Pere Marquette expanded its business at a rapid pace. A new rail yard was constructed in New Buffalo from 1919 – 1920. It was he last Pere Marquette railroad yard on home rails for trains making the run to Chicago. It was a large complex, complete with a roundhouse, water towers and two coaling towers; one on the service tracks and one over the mainline and a workman’s hotel.
The Pere Marquette operated until 1947 when it was sold to the C&O, when a new chapter in New Buffalo’s Railway heritage began.
Photo: An old postcard view of the original Pere Marquette depot at New Buffalo, Michigan. A replica, based on original blueprints, stands in the same location today (Circa 1910).