My journey to Starke and Pulaski Counties happened by accident. My original game plan for these "Bygone Places" was to document the Michigan City Branch from the LaPorte County line (Kankakee River) north. One Sunday my wife and I decided to take a drive and shoot pictures at Wilders. When we arrived at Riverside, much to my surprise, I had neglected to bring additional film. With more to photograph, we had a decision to make. Run north into LaCrosse, or south to San Pierre or Medaryville. We chose San Pierre, but ended up at Family Express in Medaryville. Between the two towns were came across a place called Radioville, however, we did not make any attempt to stop and look around. After purchasing film, we decided to photograph the local Monon landmarks. Word to the wise: Always make sure you have enough film. Sheese.
MP A 26.5 3rd Subdivision -
Mainline at Farmside, circa 1974. Looking northwest.
Farm Side 2005. On the most recent Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society Profile And Station Names CD, MP 26.5 was once known as Farm Side. One recent weekend Jim Wolfe went exploring. Left: Looking down what was once the Michigan City Branch mainline at Farm Side. This location is one half mile north of the Route 10 and 421 intersection. Right: Looking towards the north and Wilders. Note large loading door on the building. Perhaps at one time there was a siding at this company?
Another look at the business which is at Farm Side. Was this company once served by the railroad?
Originally named Culvertown when platted out in 1855. The Post Office opened as "River" in 1853 and the town's name was changed to San Pierre in 1855. The post office was named after San Pierre, a French Canadian, who started a saloon south of the town. It is alleged that San Pierre influenced the residents to move the town site closer to his establishment. Horace Greeley called San Pierre a "one horse town" when he found a missing engine from a story of a trip north from Lafayette in 1853. It was named Culvertown. Before the downturn of the railroad industry, San Pierre had a train station at the intersection of the Monon and New York Central railways, boasted three grocery stores, a pickle factory, and a grain elevator. San Pierre was a stop on the route of Abraham Lincoln's funeral train, and a whistle stop on the Presidential campaign of Harry S Truman.
Left: San Pierre. Main Street circa 1880. Right: San Pierre 1911, photo taken from the elevator.
Right: Building at Braodway and Eliza. Right: San Pierre Bank on Boradway.
Left: The San Pierre Municipal Band preparing for a concert downtown. Right: the Bank of San Pierre, built in 1917, which still stands today at the corner of Eliza and Broadway. - Starke County Historical Society-
Left: Kingmans Store and Gas Station, San Pierre. Right: Interior of the store. -Starke County Historical Society-
Several important things happened in San Pierre involving transportation. The county's first railroad arrived there in 1853, linking San Pierre to the rest of the state and eventually Chicago. The Louisville, New Albany and Chicago Railroad, commonly known as the Monon, became Indiana's most distinguished line. In 1886, the Three-I Railroad formed a junction with the Monon, transforming San Pierre into a busy hub of activity for several decades. Not surprisingly, San Pierre was a center of market and civic life for the marsh region.
In the early 20th century, San Pierre's economy further increased with the construction of U.S. Highway 421, running parallel to the Monon tracks through the town. Wood-frame commercial buildings of the railroad period slowly gave way to one-story masonry structures. The last significant commercial building dating to before World War II is the Bank of San Pierre Building. Local lore claims that it fell victim to the notorious Hoosier outlaw John Dillinger, but the legendary exploits of his Depression-Era banditry are difficult to verify or dispute.
San Pierre, Indiana depot. This postcard is from the collection of Edna Stonecipher of LaCrosse, Indiana. The postcard was postmarked 1-28-1914 and was sent to Nora Schraw, of Wilders, Indiana, who was Edna's mother. -Thanks to Betty Hucker for the information on the postcard.-
Depots at San Pierre. The double tracks are those of the Monon. The NYC/ Three I line runs left to right in the image. The depot in front of the elevator is that of the "Three I" / NYC. If you compare the Monon depot about, you will notice that the depot has been moved. The photo is dated 1907, so it is possible that both lines agreed to use the one depot. In later years there was a combination depot. -Max Foltz Collection-
Left: The Chicago, Indiana and Southern depot, circa 1910. Right: Looking east along the II&I Kankakee line sometime before 1920 when the joint depot was built.. The shed on the right of the tracks is the Monon freight house.
Crossing at San Pierre. Monon tracks run left to right.
Left: July 1964, San Pierre depot. Looking east down the NYC. Monon is in the foreground. NYC train crew is leaving the station. Right: The east side of the San Pierre depot, date unknown. John Fuller photo.
1971, San Pierre. Monon freight working the interchange track. Engine would be either backing east, or moving forward and will turn towards the south. Robert Olmsted photo, courtsey MRRHTS.
RS2 #55 working the NYC/ Penn Central Kankakee Belt interchange track at San Pierre, October 1970. -Robert Olmstead Photograph-
November 24, 1972, San Pierre. L&N #1107 is working the former Michigan City branch. John Strombeck photo.
Left: Circa 1974. Looking to the south along the mainline. Right: Looking north along the main. -Mike Albert Collection-
Removal of the tracks through San Pierre. Looking south. -Mike Albert Collection-
Removal of the tracks. Looking north.
Left: March 28, 1977, San Pierre. Looking north along former Monon mainline. Interchange track with New York Central leads off to the right. Right: San Pierre Monon/ NYC interchange as seen from 421. Looking to the northeast. Lloyd Kimble photo.
March 1977, San Pierre Elevator. Tracks pictured are those of the NYC. This was the Kankakee line which originated in South Bend, Indiana and would cross and interchange with the Monon again at Shelby.
San Pierre Today
Welcome to San Pierre, population 156. -James Wolfe Photographs-
Left: Looking at the business district. Looking northwest from near the Fire Station. Highway is 421. Right: Looking west at some of the businesses in town. -James Wolfe Photographs-
Left: San Pierre Fire Department. Right: San Pierre Library. -James Wolfe Photographs-
Looking south at downtown San Pierre. -James Wolfe Photographs-
Left and Right: San Pierre Depot, circa 2002. Foundation is still visible. Overgrown with cactus and weeds. Right: Looking west. Left: Looking east.
Left and Right: Abandoned right of way northside of San Pierre. Left: Looking north from Fisher Street and San Pierre Road. Just north of this vantage point the Monon crossed Route 421 and continued on south. The mainline would now be on your left as you continued south towards Monon. Right, looking south towards former junction with NYC.
Left: July 2002. Abandoned right of way looking north from NYC crossing. Right: July 2002. Looking south. Down the right of way were two young ladies with 4 wheel ATV's and lots of problems. I attempted to help them get one started, however, the problem was beyond my knowledge.
July 2002. The Monon/ NYC interchange track area, overgrown with weeds. Picture is looking to the east along the New York Central.
Left: Former Little Company Of Mary Hospital on the south side of town. Looking at the main entrance. Right: Another view of the former hospital. The building is closed now. If you visit San Pierre, evidence of the former Michigan City branch still remains. Old rail can still be seen in the drives and some ties are still embeded in the ground. -James Wolfe Photographs-
Demolition of the former Little Company Of Mary building. -James Wolfe Photographs
Thanks for visiting San Pierre. -James Wolfe Photographs-
MP A20.9 3rd Subdivision
A 1906 Starke County plat map that shows it as Anthony Siding and was part of about 1,000 acres labeled Anthony Ranch which fits the above history. (See additional in Radioville below.)
MP A 19.3 3rd Subdivision
This location could otherwise be known as Strawberry. On the MRHTS Profile CD, Volume 4, Radioville is not mentioned. By milepost the closest named location would be Strawberry. The general area was also known as Anthonys or Anthonys Switch.
The land that the village of Radioville occupies was once part of a large tract of land originally owned by Irene Otto and was known as the Anthony Ranch. Radioville was laid out in 1933 by Margaret and Pearl Lauglin, of Illinois, who secured possession of some of the Otto holdings which boarded the west side of US 421 and extended east 3/4 of a mile with the Monon Railroad cutting through. The land between the highway and the Monon tracks were to be divided into 82 lots. Beyond the tracks the land was to be divided into 272 lots. The community never fully materialized and today consists of a dozen or so houses and trailers strung along the highway. A 1942 road atlas had Radioville still listed asAnthony. Maybe the name Radioville didn't have anything to do with the development in 1933, although the 1930s were the heyday of radio, and came later.
See there really is a place called Radioville.
Left: Looking north along the main at Radioville, October 1976. Right: And looking south along the main.
| Bygone Monon Main | 1952 Lowell Train Wreck |