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Silver Maples of Chelsea to host program on interurbans on Jan. 9

Courtesy photo.

Interurban historian Norm Krentel will present a free program on the interurban railways in Michigan at Silver Maples of Chelsea, 100 Silver Maples Dr. on Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 3 p.m.

Krentel will be accompanied by photographer Doug Johnson — who has joined Krentel on his journeys around the state to gather the history of transportation in Michigan that culminated in the electric interurban railways, according to information about the event.

He’ll outline where they operated in Southern Michigan and how they were used to move passengers and freight, and tell a few of the stories based on his conversations with motormen, conductors, and their families, including several Chelsea residents.

Krentel’s interest in the interurbans began with his father and grandfather, who were devotees of the interurban that ran in Lansing and East Lansing.

After serving in the U.S. Navy, he found an old interurban car, scrapped by the interurban company, being used as a cottage at Duck Lake, north of Albion. For one dollar, he separated it from its concrete foundation and moved it to a railroad museum in Chicago.

To learn how the car should be restored, Krentel interviewed everyone he could find who had worked on or rode the interurban trains around Michigan. His accumulation of this information will be turned into a book about the interurban railways in Michigan outside of Detroit.

Today, Krental and a group of volunteers are actively working on the restoration of Michigan Railways Car #28 at the Illinois Railway Museum.

The presentation is free and open to the public. For more information, click here.

For more events taking place in Chelsea, click here.


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