West Michigan Interurban Time Table: Opening a New World

Authored by Lindsey C. Kult

“Interurban Time Table, effective April 12, 1925”, Wait Station, Dekker Huis, Zeeland, Michigan. This is a prime example of the numerous opportunities West Michiganders had to travel outside of their communities.

From the turn of the 20th Century until the mid-1920s, travel by rail was the best way for Midwesterners to travel beyond their hometowns (Ellison 2019; Geberer 2019, 51; Jenison Historical Association 2009, 2; van Reken 1998). The road conditions were so poor during this time that the Dutch and German settlers of small towns such as Jenison, Saugatuck, and Zeeland were essentially isolated from the larger cities in the region (van Reken 1998, 77). The implementation of the electric interurban not only provided the citizens of West Michigan access to the diversity found in larger cities, but also gave them the opportunity to share their values with others.

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