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Israelite House of David - Rare, Early Map From 1908 or 1909

         

This rare map, with south at the top, survives from an early park brochure that was distributed to tourists in 1908 or 1909 just after the park was opened.  While the brochure appears genuine, it does have several questionable aspects.  It correctly displays very early features of the park including the Archway building, the park Ice cream parlor, the pond, the original zoo and the west trestle.  On the south side of Britain Ave. the earliest version of the north depot is shown as in image #12.  The portion of track from the north depot on Britain Ave. heading west and then south towards the valley and over the west trestle follows the course of the final layout used by the 1930's.  The rest of this track layout is unknown today.  Of special interest is the double loop configuration with the smaller loop to the eastern park entrance along Blaine Ave.  Trains entering this smaller loop from the main line to pick up passengers would return to the main line running in the opposite direction.  If the switch between the loops was as depicted, at some point the trains would have had to backup using engines without reverse gears.  It would have been impossible to support the multiple trains with this configuration that were in use on the line no later than the beginning of the 1909 season.

This rare map, with south at the top, survives from an early park brochure that was distributed to tourists in 1908 or 1909 just after the park was opened.  While the brochure appears genuine, it does have several questionable aspects.  It correctly displays very early features of the park including the Archway building, the park Ice cream parlor, the pond, the original zoo and the west trestle.  On the south side of Britain Ave. the earliest version of the north depot is shown as in image #12.  The portion of track from the north depot on Britain Ave. heading west and then south towards the valley and over the west trestle follows the course of the final layout used by the 1930's.  The rest of this track layout is unknown today.  Of special interest is the double loop configuration with the smaller loop to the eastern park entrance along Blaine Ave.  Trains entering this smaller loop from the main line to pick up passengers would return to the main line running in the opposite direction.  If the switch between the loops was as depicted, at some point the trains would have had to backup using engines without reverse gears.  It would have been impossible to support the multiple trains with this configuration that were in use on the line no later than the beginning of the 1909 season.

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Israelite House of David
Post Office Box 1067 • Benton Harbor, Michigan 49023-1067
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