Created By: Scouts Troop755
The Old Crow's Nest. This was located in the intersection of Main and Center Streets. Band concerts and speeches were given here.
A little more than a century ago, southeast Michigan had a mass transit system in the interurban electric streetcar. For nearly 30 years, from 1899 to 1928, commuters throughout the region — from Ann Arbor to Detroit and all stops in between and beyond— enjoyed the efficient, economical and comfortable ride of the interurban.
Replacing its predecessor, the steam engine streetcar, electric streetcars came into their own in the late 1890s with streetcar firms capitalizing on the advent of the new technology by building lines that fanned out of Detroit in all directions. Detroit was known as the "interurban capital of America."
Northville eventually ended up partnering with Detroit and Plymouth in forming the Detroit, Plymouth & Northville Electric Railway (DP & N), later becoming the Detroit and Northwestern Railway Company.
Northville's first electric streetcar arrived on Main Street from Plymouth on November 10, 1899. A photograph from the Northville Historical Society Archives (see accompanying image) shows the first streetcar's debut on East Main Street along with the private car of F. W. Brooks, president of the DP & N Electric Railway.
Regular service began the following day, with complimentary rides given to residents. "The cars were crowded beyond even the standing room capacity with Northville, Plymouth, and Wayne people," reported The Northville Record in a November 17, 1899 article. "It seemed that all the Plymouth people were over here, and all of Northville certainly over at Plymouth. Up till Sunday night more than 1,000 passengers had been carried."
The fare to Plymouth was 5 cents, Newburg 10 cents, Wayne 15 cents, Detroit and Ypsilanti 35 cents and Ann Arbor 45 cents.
Not long after the original interurban arrived in Northville, another company added a second line. In his book "Northville . . . The First Hundred Years", Jack Hoffman noted, "With establishment of the 'north' line into town, Northville was served by two separate companies that, on Main Street, shared the streetcar tracks.
"The line from Plymouth traveled along what today is the northbound lane of Northville Road Boulevard. It rounded the curve on a bridge over what then was a pond of water and then headed directly east up the middle of Main to Center Street where the line ended." In the middle of the intersection was the raised bandstand known as the Crow's Nest.
In 1907 two trains collided head on and 33 people were killed and over 100 injured
This point of interest is part of the tour: Northville Heritage Hike