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West Bloomfield Township in Oakland County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

West Bloomfield Trail

Exploring the Tale of the Rail

 
 
West Bloomfield Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, September 5, 2020
1. West Bloomfield Trail Marker
Inscription.  
Railroad locomotives thundered through this countryside
for more than 130 years. The Michigan Air Line Railroad was completed in 1884, a branch of the historic Grand Trunk Railroad that became a vital shipping network between manufacturing centers of the automotive industry in lower Michigan. As this railway was later abandoned, the rails were torn up and the quiet natural corridor preserved. The West Bloomfield Trail is a linear park about seven miles long that follows the former train tracks from West Bloomfield to Sylvan Lake, offering remarkable interaction with nature while enriching the community.

You Auto Know
Some of the first refrigerated box cars, owned by George H. Hammond Company of Detroit, traveled frequently along this corridor.

Top left image caption:
This steam locomotive was typical of those running along the Grand Trunk Railroad Air Line in 1909. In the background is a roundhouse and turntable that turned locomotives at the major rail intersection in Durand, Michigan, west of Flint. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Bottom left image caption:
This
West Bloomfield Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, September 5, 2020
2. West Bloomfield Trail Marker
View from Walnut Lake Road.
1901 map shows Grand Trunk Railroad lines running from Chicago and Michigan through Canada to the eastern United States. Highlighted is the Michigan Air Line branch that ran between Richmond and Jackson, with segments now converted to trail. Courtesy of Citizendium.

Top middle image caption:
The intact railroad bed before being dismantled and converted to the West Bloomfield Trail for walkers, runners and bicyclers. Photo courtesy of West Bloomfield Parks & Recreation.

Center image caption:
A boardwalk crosses protected wetlands along the West Bloomfield Trail, following the rail path near Walnut Lake Road. "Rail-trails" preserve natural habitat, promote physical fitness and encourage community-building.

Bottom middle image caption:
The Star Clipper Dinner Train was the last train to follow this rail path between Walled Lake and West Bloomfield, closing in 2008. The locomotive had a 1,500 horsepower engine and maintained a leisurely speed of ten miles per hour. Photo courtesy of Charles Freericks.

Right images caption:
Wildlife along the trail includes the great white egret (left) and the Blanding's turtle (below). The turtle is an endangered species in Michigan and can live to be 80 years old. Photos courtesy of West Bloomfield Parks & Recreation.
 
Erected by
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MotorCities National Heritage Area, National Park Service.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EnvironmentParks & Recreational AreasRailroads & Streetcars. In addition, it is included in the MotorCities National Heritage Area series list.
 
Location. 42° 33.334′ N, 83° 26.13′ W. Marker is in West Bloomfield Township, Michigan, in Oakland County. Marker is on Walnut Lake Road 0.2 miles east of Haggerty Road, on the left when traveling east. Marker is on the West Bloomfield Trail, a bicycling/hiking trail, about 90 feet north of the crossing at Walnut Lake Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: West Bloomfield MI 48323, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. An Advocate for Parks (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Minnow Pond (approx. 2.2 miles away); a different marker also named An Advocate for Parks (approx. 2.3 miles away); Settling the Dust (approx. 2.3 miles away); Theron Murray House (approx. 2.4 miles away); The Great Blues (approx. 2.7 miles away); Go in Peace (approx. 2.9 miles away); Walled Lake (approx. 2.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in West Bloomfield Township.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 21, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 8, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 46 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 8, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.
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Feb. 26, 2021