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The History of the Former...
BAKER STREET STREETCAR LINE
Westbound—Nevada and Van Dyke, west on Nevada to Mt. Elliott, to Davison; to south on
Jos. Campau, to Chene, to Gratiot, to Randolph, to Monroe, to Michigan, to Porter, to
Brooklyn, to Bagley, to 23rd, to Vernor Highway, then west and north on private right-of-ways
to Eagle Pass, to Ford Rouge Plant South Yard.
Eastbound—Ford Plant, south on private right-of-ways to Vernor Highway, to 24th, to
Bagley, to Trumbull, to Abbott, to Michigan, to Monroe, to Randolph, to Gratiot, to Grandy, to
Chene, to Jos. Campau, to Davison, to Mt. Elliott, to Nevada, to Van Dyke.
The Baker route began in the 1870s as a small struggling horsecar line that almost went under, but by the
time the line had been converted over to buses eighty years later it had grown to become one of Detroit's
longer and heavier traveled streetcar routes.


Shortly thereafter, the eastern portion of the line was extended
to a new turn–around  loop built at St. Jean street, with  newly
built  trackage also connecting to the
DSR's  new Shoemaker
Carhouse
, also located on St. Jean,  just  to  the  north of the
St. Jean Loop. The route now formed a partial belt across the
city, operating  from E. Warren  and  St. Jean on the east side,
to Junction and Fort Street on the west side.

Beginning  on June 5, 1927,
Grand Belt cars began providing
service  to the  newly built transit loading facility located at  the
Ford Rouge Plant in Fordson, Michigan (which became a part
of Dearborn in 1929).  During shift changes at the plant, some
Grand Belt cars would turn off Junction onto W. Vernor, and
follow along the Baker car route to the new Miller Road South Yard loop, located along Miller Road across from the
Ford Rouge plant.  Service by the Grand Belt line to the Ford Rouge facility would continue on well into the motor
bus years, and beyond.

However, by 1932, a major route adjustment for the
Grand Belt line had been implemented after the Grand Belt and
Crosstown (Warren and Forest) car lines swapped routes east of  Mt. Elliott.  The Crosstown  line — which previously
traveled along Forest Avenue, and then along Mt. Elliott, Kercheval and Concord, ending at East Jefferson Avenue (just
across from the entrance to the Belle Isle bridge) — was rerouted, and would now continue along Forest, Cadillac and E.
Warren to St. Jean.  The
Grand Belt car line would now continue along Mt. Elliott, along the former Crosstown route
to the entrance of Belle Isle.  

As a result of this route reassignment,
Grand Belt now formed a "belt" shaped route around the central city, operating
along Mt. Elliott on the east, Milwaukee, Ferry Park and McGraw streets along the route's north portion, and Junction on
the west. The
Crosstown line would now follow more of a "cross-the-town" route along Warren and Forest Avenues.
(Baker rail map (illustrated by Richard Andrews) and 1941 DSR streetcar route info all courtesy of the S. Sycko Collection)
On November 14, 1879, the financially-troubled company's franchise grant was repealed by the city and the operation
of the rail line came under the control of the larger
Detroit City Railway Co., although the company continued to
provide the service.  On June 26, 1882, the Congress and Baker Co. was sold to the Detroit City Railway, the city's first
and largest street railway company.    

After all city lines were converted over to electric power in 1895, many of the routes—including the Congress and Baker
line (now under the Detroit Citizens' Street Railway Co.)—were merged with other lines; forming longer crosstown
routes.  Effective November 3, 1895, the Congress and Baker was combined with the suburban Dix Avenue line and
extended westward via Dix (now known as W. Vernor) to the city limits at Livernois, and the route was renamed
"Baker."  On November 27, 1895, the line was combined with the east-side
Loop Line, which looped between Mt. Elliott
and Brush via E. Congress and E. Fort streets.  The Baker was through-routed downtown via Baker, Trumbull (return
via Brooklyn), Abbott (return via Porter), Michigan Avenue, Cadillac Square and E. Congress (return via E. Fort and
Brush) to Mt. Elliott.  As a result, the Baker line would finally become, as was intended 22 years prior, a crosstown route.

D.U.R. YEARS:
Under the DUR (Detroit United Railway, which took-over all city lines in 1901), the Baker line would undergo a number
of route adjustments.  Beginning in April 1911, the DUR would enter into "Day-to-Day" service permit agreements with
the city (in lieu of franchise renewals), which also allowed the company to begin building new trackage under a track
extension program.  One of the new tracks built under this extension program included new rails built along Grandy
Avenue north of Gratiot.  Shortly thereafter, the Baker route was rerouted through downtown from Michigan Avenue
via Monroe, and then extended northward via Randolph, Gratiot, north along Grandy Avenue (return via Chene), to
north on Jos Campau to the Railroad Crossing just north of the Dodge Brothers Motor Car Company plant (Dodge
Main) in the village of Hamtramck.

Since there was no streetcar access across that wide expanse of railroad tracks belonging to the Grand Trunk, Michigan
Central and Detroit Terminal railroads, "suburban" service across the tracks along Jos. Campau northward was provided
by a small separate (suburban) North Detroit line, which traveled via Jos. Campau, Davison and Mt. Elliott to Nevada;
into the village of North Detroit (formerly Norris).  But after the area north of Hamtramck (including North Detroit) was
annexed by the City of Detroit in 1916, a connection over the railroad tracks was completed that August and some
Baker cars marked "North Detroit" or "Norris" made occasional trips to Mt. Elliott and Nevada.  However, effective April
4, 1920, the North-Detroit (Norris) line was discontinued, and service through Hamtramck to Mt. Elliott and Nevada was
now provided by some extended trips from the Baker line.  Beginning in April 1923, the service along Davison and Mt.
Elliott was reassigned to the Northwest Belt line (Oakman) and all Baker service was once again cut back to the loop just
south of the Michigan Central Railroad Crossing in Hamtramck.   

Meanwhile, a long-standing squabble between the DUR and the Common Council would delay the DUR's ability to
extend streetcar service to the new Ford Motor Company Eagle Shipbuilding plant, completed in early 1918 and located
along the Rouge River in Springwells Township.  But finally, on January 1, 1919, the west-end of the Baker line was
extended west of Livernois via Dix and Ferndale Avenues (both of which later became W. Vernor) to provide service to
the Eagle Shipbuilding plant and Ford's Blast Furnace and Foundry operations in Springwells (all of which would later
become the Ford River Rouge auto complex).

This extension was accomplished by building new double trackage along  Ferndale (Vernor) from Springwells Ave to
Woodmere Ave., which then crossed over onto a private right-of-way built along the south-side of Ferndale.  After
crossing Dix, the rails turned north onto a private right-of-way built between what it today Ferney and Wyoming
streets, terminating at a vacant prairie field loop-around at Eagle Road, which was named Eagle Loop.  With the line now
providing service to two large auto manufacturing facilities, the Baker line would soon become one of the city's longer
and heavier rail routes.

D.S.R YEARS:
During the 1920s, the Ford Motor Company would begin to outgrow its Highland Park assembly plant. As a result, in
1927 Henry Ford would move the company's automobile assembly operations to the new River Rouge location, in what
had now become the city of Fordson.  But by that time, employment at the rapidly expanding complex had climbed to
75,000, and as a result the Eagle Loop could no longer handle the heavy streetcar traffic to the facility.  With the city-
owned DSR now operating the city's street railway operation, the DSR entered into an agreement with the Ford Motor
Co. to lease property along Miller Road where two large terminal yards were built just to the north and south of Eagle
Road.  An underpass was built underneath the Pere-Marquett railroad tracks between Eagle and Wren streets. Effective
June 5, 1927, the Baker line was extended westward from the Loop area via Eagle (Under)Pass to the Miller Road South
yard.  By 1930, as many as 42 Baker cars would service the Ford Rouge plant during an afternoon shift-change.

[photos of route into Ford complex]   

Meanwhile, on the east side, beginning September 18, 1928, the entire Baker line was extended further north along Jos.
Campau to Davison Road after the Davison-Chene rail-line, a route launched by the DUR back on Nov 30, 1916, was
discontinued.  The Davison-Chene line had operated from the Ford Highland Park plant on Manchester and operated via
Davison, Jos. Campau and Chene to Atwater Street at the river.  With the cancellation of the Davison-Chene line, the
Baler line alone now provided service along Chene and Jos. Campau streets between Gratiot and Davison.

Effective October 17, 1938, after the Oakman-East (Northwest Belt) line east of Woodward was discontinued, the Baker
was once again extended via E. Davison, Mt. Elliott and Nevada.  New trackage (added in 1930) had now extended
service along Nevada to Van Dyke.  The following year, effective July 24, 1939, the DSR decided to also extend the
Baker line westward along Davison Road via Davison, Oakland, Victor and Woodward into the DSR Woodward
Carhouse Loop.  This service would become the "Highland Park Branch" of the Baker line.  However, this service had to
be discontinued on March 22, 1942, to allow for the construction of the Davison Expressway in Highland Park.  The
service to Highland Park was replaced by a Davison Shuttle bus line.



The last route change would occur on February 14, 1949, when Baker service to Nevada and Van Dyke was
discontinued and replaced by the extension of the Davison Shuttle bus line.

Baker headways during the remaning years

(photo caption)
car #xxxx operating along the DSR's only remaining two-direction single track operation. This strech of open track was
added along Nevada between Mt. Elliott and Van Dyke in xxxx 1930.

VERNOR AVENUE TRIVIA:
Did you know??? Vernor Highway (no doubt named after former city alderman James Vernor of Vernor's Ginger Ale
fame) was an east-west roadway created by the city of Detroit during the late 1920s to provide a much needed
"crosstown" thoroughfare to aid traffic flow. With only one crosstown roadway at the time through the central city
(Warren Ave), an alternative was sought to provide cross-the-town routing through the southern portion of the city.  A
number of narrow (non-connecting) streets were widened and connected, which included Waterloo and High streets on
the east side, and High, xxxx, Dix and Ferndale streets on the west-side.  The new thoroughfare now traveled from
Alter Road (the city's eastern border) across to Dix (at the Detroit-Dearborn border).  During the late-1950s/early-'60s,
Vernor Highway through the downtown area was replaced by the I-75 (Fisher) Expressway.

DSR decided to extend the Baker line, westward via Davison, Oakland, Victor and Woodward into the Woodward
Carhouse loop.Manchester  Avenueand the shuttle was discontinued on July  24, 1939.  That
portion along Davison west of Jos. Campau, replacing the service provided by the Davison Suttle bus route    would
become the "Highland Park Branch" of the Baker streetcar line.


Effective February 14, 1949, Baker service north of Davison to Nevada and Van Dyke was discontinued and replaced
by the Davison Shuttle bus line.
For more on the Grand Belt route's years as a Detroit bus line see...... "GRAND BELT"
BAKER STREETCAR (EARLY YEARS):
The history of the Baker streetcar route goes back to 1873,l where it began operations as the "Congress and Baker"
horse-car line, by way of a thirty-year franchise agreement granted to the Detroit and Grand Trunk Junction Street
Railway Company
on June 13, 1873 .  However, because the new company wanted to use narrow Congress Street—
which also paralleled the Jefferson Avenue horse–car route two blocks to the south—the franchise was initially vetoed by
Mayor Hugh Moffet.  But his veto was over-turned by the Common Council and the franchise ordinance was granted.

The
Congress and Baker line became the seventh street railway line to begin operations within the city limits,l with  the
initial franchise plans calling for the line to operate as a crosstown route,  running west from Congress and Mt. Elliott
l(the
then eastern city limits)  via  East Congress, Jos. Campau,
l Larned, Randolph, Congress, 7th (known today as Brooklyn),
Baker (known today as Bagley), 24th and Dix Avenue (now known as W. Vernor) to the city limits—-around what would
today be 25th Street. Around December 12, 1873, service began on the completed portion of the route from Randolph
and Congress to Baker and 14th streets, charging a 5-cent fare.  It was later extended to 22nd Street one year later.
Under both the DUR and DSR, Grand Belt cars operated
along Junction Avenue between Warren Avenue and
Fort Street. This 1948 photo shows DSR Peter Witt car
#3320, southbound on Junction, just south of Michigan
Avenue, while working the Grand Belt line.
(Thomas C. Van Degrift photo, from CERA Bulletin #120)
Information for the above article was compiled from numerous soources including the 1980 publication "DETROIT'S STREET RAILWAYS Vol II: City Lines
1922-1956"
by Schramm, Henning, and Dworman (Bulletin 120 - Central Electric Railfans' Association), and from Jack E. Schramm articles found under
"Detroit's DSR, Parts 1 thru 3" published by Motor Coach Age Magazine. Information was also obtained from miscellaneous artifacts courtesy of the Stan
Sycko collection. Grand Belt route map illustration by Richard Andrews.
This was a typical Grand Belt streetcar 1¢ transfer issued in 1942. (Transfer courtesy of the S. Sycko collection)
-- BAKER STREET FOOTNOTE:
DID YOU KNOW??? ...For decades the Baker streetcar and bus lines operated under the name of a Detroit street over which it
didn't even travel upon. ....Or did it?

Actually, the Baker line was originally named after Baker Street, which still exists today.  According to renown Detroit Historian
Silas Farmer, the original Baker Street was named back in 1835 after a Colonel Daniel Baker of the U.S. Army, who was stationed
at Detroit during the War of 1812.  Initially, the street was an east-west roadway that ran from 6th Street to 24th Street, but
was later extended westward as the city limits expanded.  But during the late-1920s, most of Baker Street was renamed after
Michigan's 16th Governor (and long-time Detroit politician), John J. Bagley (1873-1877), and became Bagley Street, the name it
still holds to this day. Although a portion of Baker Street west of Clark Park would remain as Baker, today only a block-and-a-half
portion of the original Baker Street (west of Junction St) still remains.

Interestingly, although Baker Street (over which the streetcar line originally traveled) was renamed Bagley, the streetcar and bus
lines would still retain the Baker name more than 65 years later.
During the early years, horse-drawn railcars, like car #81, were used on all Detroit lines,
including the Congress and Baker Street line.  When this photo was taken during the
mid-1880s, ownership of the financially-troubled line had already changed hands three
times and was now owned by the Detroit City Railway Company.
(Photo source: from the D.S.R. photo files)
Unfortunately, financial l problems
would  overtake  the company
l as
unpaid stock pledges  hindered its
ability  to  complete
l construction
along  the  eastern  portion of the
route — east  of  Randolph Street.
In  1874,  the  financially–troubled
company  attempted  to  sell,
l but
no  buyers  could  be  found.
l On
September   17,   1875,   a
ll  new
company was organized  and  the
route and franchise transferred to
the new
 Congress  and l Baker
Street Railway Company
.

In  May 1876, the  new  company
attempted to extend the route to
Mt. Elliott, as provided for by their
original franchise agreement,  but
this time their request was denied
by the Common Council.
In 1879, the city became dissatisfied with the taxes it was receiving from the company, and on November 14, 1879,
the financially-troubled company's franchise grant was repealed by the city and the operation of the rail line came under
the control of the larger
Detroit City Railway Co., although the company continued to provide the service.  On June
26, 1882, the Congress and Baker Co. was sold to the Detroit City Railway, the city's first and largest street railway
company.    

After all city lines were converted over to electric power in 1895, many of the routes—including the Congress and Baker
line (now under the Detroit Citizens' Street Railway Co.)—were merged with other lines; forming longer crosstown
routes.  Effective November 3, 1895, the Congress and Baker was combined with the suburban Dix Avenue line and
extended westward via Dix (now known as W. Vernor) to the city limits at Livernois, and the route was renamed
"Baker."  On November 27, 1895, the line was combined with the east-side
Loop Line, which looped between Mt. Elliott
and Brush via E. Congress and E. Fort streets.  The Baker was through-routed downtown via Baker, Trumbull (return
via Brooklyn), Abbott (return via Porter), Michigan Avenue, Cadillac Square and E. Congress (return via E. Fort and
Brush) to Mt. Elliott.  As a result, the Baker line would finally become, as was intended 22 years prior, a crosstown route.