Niles in Berrien County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Niles - A Transportation Center
Opening Southwestern Michigan to the World
THE "BIG 4" NORTH-SOUTH RAIL SERVICE AND THE MICHIGAN CENTRAL EAST-WEST RAIL SERVICE EXPLODED THE AGRICULTURAL, COMMERCIAL & INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT OF NILES. One such business was Hunter Ice that harvested ice from Barron Lake. Hunter Ice was stated to be pristine and was used exclusively on the MCRR and the Big 4. Before refrigerated rail cars farmers drove wagons over mud or plank roads to bring their fruits and produce to Niles's Michigan Central Railroad where Hunter Ice cooled the cars. Hunter Ice was replaced by the Federal Ice Company who manufactured synthetic ice whose plant was part of the MCRR Classification Yard. The Big 4 was extended to Benton Harbor in November, 1882, its northern most point enabling both manufacturers and farmers to load rail cars almost on site of their plants and farms. Cars could be pre-iced to further protect delicate seasonal crops. In 1905 Berrien County shipped a million bushels of peaches which included 266,400 bushels shipped by the Big 4! The quarter of a million bushels of peaches were brought to Niles's Big 4 yard to be shipped to markets south, east and west. The Big 4 hauled over 100 cars of seasonal fruit daily through Niles into the 1920s. As a result of Niles's transportation facilities, industry flourished with the arrival of companies like Kawneer, National Print & Engraving,
EVERY STEP TAKEN IN NILES RIVERFRONT PARK WAS ONCE THE PATH OF A "STEAMING LOCOMOTIVE"
2005 "birds-eye" view of Riverfront Park, where Niles's railroad hub was once centered. Niles's railroad complex where there was only 2,800 feet between the three train depots. The red dashed line shows the original route of the Big 4 and the Skate park is now where the Big 4 Depot was located. The blue dashed line shows the original route of the Interurban. Riverfront Park converted over two miles of what was the "old" Big 4 railroad tracks along the river.
Erected by Fort St. Joseph Historical Association.
Location. 41° 50.098′ N, 86° 15.542′ W. Marker is in Niles, Michigan, in Berrien County. Marker can be reached from Front Street (State Highway 139) south of Wayne Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located at the northern end of Riverfront Park. Marker is in this post office area: Niles MI 49120, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. John B. Reddick Building (approx. 0.3 miles away); Michigan Central Railroad Niles Depot Niles Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); Parrott Civil War Cannon (approx. 0.3 miles away); Michigan Central Railroad Depot / Michigan Central Railroad Company (approx. 0.4 miles away); Second Baptist Church (approx. 0.4 miles away); Ferry Street School (approx. 0.4 miles away); Four Flags Hotel (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Niles.
Categories. • Agriculture • Industry & Commerce • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 9, 2013, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 465 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 9, 2013, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.