Erie and Kalamazoo Railroad
Erie and Kalamazoo Rail Road
The first railway in the Northwest Territory, the Erie and Kalamazoo Rail Road linked the east coast with the Michigan Territory and points westward. The E&K was chartered on April 22, 1833 to connect present-day Toledo, Ohio, with the Kalamazoo River; however, the track never reached beyond Adrian. The first train arrived in Adrian on October 1, 1836. In 1837 the E&K contracted for transport of "the Great western Mail." From 1852 to 1857 the line, then part of the Michigan Southern Railroad, was a link in the early rail route from the east coast to Chicago. As part of the Lakeshore and Michigan Southern, the New York Central, the Penn Central, and the Conrail systems, the E&K carried passengers until November 1956.
Blissfield was once a stop on the Erie and Kalamazoo Rail Road, the first passenger railway in the Northwest Territory. On October 1, 1836, the first train, a horse-drawn, wooden car running on iron strips spiked to oak rails, left Toledo and traveled the thirty-three miles to Adrian. Advertisements in the Toledo Blade boasted that the train saved travelers two days in their trip to Adrian, where they connected with coaches bound for Michigan City, Chicago and the Wisconsin Territory. Passengers paid $2.25 for a full ticket in the "pleasure car." In June 1837 the E&K replaced horse power with a locomotive. The E&K existed as a leased railroad and paid dividends to investors for more than 125 years.