Saturday, October 15, 2016

Laying Track--Disputed Interurban Line Put In Despite Court Rulings

    Before the days of heading off in our automobiles, Crawfordsville residents had the option of riding in town or to other cities on the interurban. In July, 1903, the Northwestern Traction line track was laid down the middle of Main Street, starting by the courthouse between Washington and Green Streets.  In order to get around a court case with the Consolidated Traction Company over who had the rights to put a line through Crawfordsville, one hundred workers were brought in from Danville and Lebanon line in the dark of night to get started by the earliest morning light. The first track was hammered down by a Mr. E. A. Wilhite, one of the oldest living first settlers in the county.  This was the fourth time the Northwestern Traction Company had attempted to lay tracks.
This shows the track after its installation.  The Crawford Hotel is the tall building on the right, on East Main St. 

   The laying of the track at this time was a point of contention with the city fathers and with the Consolidated Traction Company. Consolidated Traction had already begun laying lines west out of Indianapolis towards Montgomery County.  The first time the Northwestern Company tried to lay track at the end of May, some city officials contested it, and even went so far and to take fire hoses and water to the workers to stop them from tearing up the city streets.  The city filed suit, and the Northwestern counter-filed against the city.  The suit went back and forth between judges and courts, federal and local. If the company was to be found in contempt of court for trying to continue to lay track after being told not to, then the new tracks would have to be torn out of the street, and the company would have to pay fines and the company leaders would be jailed.  

  The track was laid without incident, finally, and transportation options were opened for travelers from Montgomery County to easily find their way to Indianapolis and other points east. 

No comments:

Post a Comment