Nestled in the beautiful landscapes of Saugatuck Michigan, lies a captivating chapter in transportation history. This picturesque lakeshore town, with scenic views and rich heritage, was once intertwined with the intricate Interurban rail lines, shaping its connectivity and cultural fabric.
The Interurban’s roots trace back to the late 19th century. By 1904, the first interurban line connecting Saugatuck to Holland had become a reality. This initial route, powered by electricity generated at a local power plant, opened up new possibilities for residents and tourists. Soon, a network of interurban lines connected Saugatuck to Grand Rapids, Douglas, and Kalamazoo. This advancement made transportation easy for residents to visit the beautiful Michigan lakeshore.
Playing a pivotal role in shaping Saugatuck’s identity, the Interurban promoted economic development by attracting businesses and tourists drawn to the ease of travel and vibrant atmosphere of the town. Additionally, the Interurban was a social hub connecting residents from diverse backgrounds and creating a sense of community.
In the mid-20th century, the rise of cars and buses quickly became competition for the Interurban as ridership started dropping. Due to the decline in ridership and the high maintenance costs, the Interurban system closed in 1968.
Even though the original Interurban lines are not operational, its legacy continues to inspire. In 1980, the Interurban Transit Authority was established. It offers a modern demand-response public transportation service that serves Saugatuck, Douglas, and Saugatuck Township. This contemporary system embraces the spirit of the original Interurban while providing accessible and affordable transportation for the community.
Explore Saugatuck and Douglas or visit Holland effortlessly with the Interurban Transit Authority. Book your ride conveniently 2-4 hours ahead by calling 269-857-1418, hop on, and pay the driver. Fares are $1 per person per way. Reach events, beaches, shops, and restaurants with ease, leaving the car behind. Enjoy year-round service and discover the charm of Saugatuck and Douglas without the parking stress. Plan your trip and book your ride today!
This information booth used to be a former way station or train stop from the 1900s era Interurban.
Images in this blog have been provided by the Interurban Transit Authority.
Don’t forget to book your place to stay!