“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Fennville in Allegan County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

The Railroad & New Richmond

The Railroad & New Richmond Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 6, 2014
1. The Railroad & New Richmond Marker
Inscription.  The railroad has been a central component of New Richmond’s history from the very beginning. The first railroad bridge crossing the Kalamazoo River at New Richmond was completed in 1871. It was originally built for the Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore Railroad and was in service until just after the turn of the 20th century, at which time the current railroad bridge was then constructed.

Construction on the existing railroad bridge was completed in 1907. It is a metal deck and girder bridge that was built by the American Bridge Company of New York City, New York. It, like the New Richmond Bridge (57th St. Bridge) that runs parallel, was designed as a swing bridge to allow riverboat traffic to move up and down the Kalamazoo River.

A swing bridge is a type of bridge which has a section of the bridge that can pivot to open the span when needed. They have an axle in the middle of the span which is affixed to a pier in the middle of the river. The swinging bridge segment then rotates on its axle. Like other bridges, swing bridges are often connected to fixed spans, with the swing portion used for the passage of freighter traffic.

The Railroad & New Richmond Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 6, 2014
2. The Railroad & New Richmond Marker
CSX railroad bridge in background
mechanical components of the swing mechanism on the bridge have long since been removed although the presence of an extra pier gives away the bridge’s past. This extra pier was used as the swing pier. Also visible is the main gear that was used to turn the bridge.

Today this rail line is owned by CSX Transportation and continues to be very active. It is crossed by 20 to 30 trains each day. Because this crossing is through the Kalamazoo River Valley, the trains are typically moving quite slow as they approach the river. Their slow speed and relatively close proximity, combined with the unobstructed view can provide fantastic viewing and photo opportunities for visitors to the park.
Location. 42° 39.107′ N, 86° 6.424′ W. Marker is near Fennville, Michigan, in Allegan County. Marker can be reached from Old Allegan Road 0.3 miles east of 58th Street. Marker is located near the north entrance to New Richmond Bridge County Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Fennville MI 49408, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. New Richmond History (within shouting distance of this marker); Fifty-Seventh Street Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); New Richmond Historical Timeline (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line);
Railroad Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 6, 2014
3. Railroad Bridge
View from 57th Street Bridge
The Allegan Road (approx. 3.9 miles away); Welcome to River Bluff Park (approx. 3.9 miles away); Welcome to Fennville (approx. 4 miles away); All Saints Episcopal Church / Gordon W. Lloyd (approx. 4.8 miles away); First Congregational Church (approx. 4.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fennville.
More about this marker. The marker includes several historic photographs and illustrations: (1) A map from an Allegan Atlas from 1873; (2) Constructing the first railroad bridge at New Richmond, ca. 1870; (3) The New Richmond train depot; (4) A train crossing the railroad bridge; (5) The view from the town water tank; (6) Three locomotives battling the heavy snow; (7) The original New Richmond railroad bridge; (8) A group of passengers posing at the depot; (9) A guard to keep cattle away from the trains; (10) Two diesel engines derailed; (11) Train wreck, New Richmond, date unknown; (12) The old New Richmond depot; (13) A train approaching the town water tank.
Also see . . .  New Richmond Bridge County Park. Official County website. (Submitted on May 9, 2014.) 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsRailroads & Streetcars

More. Search the internet for The Railroad & New Richmond.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 9, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 392 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 9, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.
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