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Students in the Michigan's 1st District were the only pupils in Nation to go to school by train

In a special edition of the Northern Michigan / U.P. #PhotoOfTheDay, we take a look back in time to when Michigan's 1st District students traveled to school by train.

TUES. JAN. 11, 2022

PAINESDALE, Mich. — For three hundred students at Painesdale High School in Houghton County from 1909 to 1944, wind, snow, and drifted highways were of little concern.

Students here were transported to school by train. Thought to be the only school train to have operated in the nation, the locomotive made a 33-mile run in Houghton County twice daily, five days a week, for 35 years.

The mining town of Painesdale had an agreement with the Copper Range Railroad to carry students from Stanton and Adams Townships to Painesdale High School. The coaches were wooden cars about 52 feet in length with 15 windows along each side. Each coach seated approximately 62 pupils in two rows.

Rural education has some distinct challenges. Today, our infrastructure has progressed, but we must continue to be proactive and innovative to offer students in rural Michigan opportunities to thrive.

Above are images by the Michigan State Historical Society of the train in action, students on board, and a line of students disembarking the train to head home.

Want to learn more? Get your copy of the latest Michigan History magazine today and read the full scoop.


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