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M.P. A39.4 - 3rd Subdivision - W



Relocated history. This "Erie outhouse", according to Fred Jeffers of Wilders was relocated from junction several years ago. It once sat along the Erie, east of the Monon crossing. It now resides south of Wanatah. Just over the bridge, east of 421. Outhouse sits close to the road.






Left: Looking north along the right of way. Vehicle in the distance is on Highway 30. Right: Looking north from the depot.

"Wanatah received its impetus for growth with the coming of the Monon and Pittsburgh, Ft. Wayne and Chicago RRs in the late 1850's. The promise of railroad jobs and the prospect of a thriving market center caused many of the early settlers to relocate to the site. The trains brought many newly-arrived German immigrants both as workmen and passengers and soon German was the language of the streets and schools. Platted in 1865, Wanatah quickly overshadowed the earlier towns of Bigelow Mills, Haskell Station, Roxelle and Morgan. Farmers shipped their corn, cattle, wheat and wild marsh hay from the warehouses and traded in the general stores. Lumber was cut and sent by rail to larger markets. Frogging, hunting, trapping and fishing were all available on the surrounding prairies and marshes. With the construction of major roads through the area, Wanatah continued to prosper as a commercial center. Today, its growing population supports an economy based on agricultural operations and business services.

Monon Depot (south of Cross Street along Monon tracks) The New Albany and Salem R.R, later known as the Monon, was completed in 1853 and a station and freight house were later built along the tracks. Watertanks and coal docks near the town served as fueling stations for the locomotive and as job opportunities for Wanatah residents. Many traveled to Michigan City's lakefront attractions by way of the Monon excursion trains, boarding the train at the Wanatah depot.

William F. Hunt Memorial Park (Cross Street) This picnic area was named after the editor and publisher of the Wanatah Mirror, Wanatah's weekly newspaper from 1899 until 1963. Hog Creek, which winds through the park, flooded the town in 1908 after a mill dam which the creek flowed through failed, causing Hog Creek to back up and flood its banks. Boats floated down Main Street that week." - Courtsey of Portable LaPorte County , Copyright 1978 Michigan City Public Library-

Wanatah Indiana, founded in 1857.The name was adopted in 1862. Named for an Indian Chief meaning "he who charges his enemies." The town was laid out in 1865. Photo of the Wanatah Depot, date unknown. The depot location was on the northeast side of the crossing with the Pennsylvania Railroad. A siding and interchange track ran east of the mainline just south of Cross Street. A grain elevator, once served by the Monon still is in business in 2002.



Another view of the Wanatah depot. In 2003 a historical marker was erected on the site of the former depot to commemorate the Abraham Lincoln funeral train which stopped at the depot.






Looking south down the Monon mainline and shows the Ft. Wayne line of the Pennsy at Wanatah. That is Hog Creek in Hunt Park. Photo courtesy Don Milbranth. Right: Boating on Hog Creek. Date of photo unknown. The freight cars in the background are on the Monon. Mike Fleming Collection.

The Wanatah Depot, date unknown. Nice picture, courtesy of William Smith, also shows the interchange track with the Pennsylvania. It appears as if the picture was taken from the interlocking tower, which would have been west of the diamond.






Above and Below" Four views of the Wanatah Depot, circa 1970's.



1947 Exhibition train crossing the diamond at Wanatah, Indiana. Harry Zillmer photograph.






Exhibition Special. The 1947 Exhibition on the Michigan City branch at Wanatah. That signal pictured is the home signal at Wanatah.  The track in the foreground is the interchange track. 







Left: Another picture of the Wanatah depot. Date of photo unknown. The man in the white suit (center) is Monon President John Barriger. Picture is taken at the Pennsylvania Railroad diamond, one of numerous on the Michigan City branch. Photo courtsey Trains Magazine. Right: Wanatah depot and tower, date unknown. All indications point to the early 1900's. Photographer unknown.



Left: Looking west down the Pennsylvania minline, circa 1980. The interlocking tower. The Monon mainline has been removed, however, the diamonds are sitting south of the Pennsy. Right: The inside of the tower, circa 1980. -Larry Ratcliffe Photographs-


Left and Right: Looking south towards the depot and PRR crossing, circa 1974.


Another view of the junction at Wanatah. Picture taken late 1970's early 1980's before the right of way was taken up. Looking to the north.




Looking east down the double-tracked Pennsylvania right of way. Highway 421 overpass in the distance.-Jim Latimer Photo, Chad Quick collection-






Left and Right: Action on the PRR/ Penn Central near the Monon crossing at Wanatah. Left: Tower operator hooping/ hooking orders to an eastbound train, circa 1975-1976. Right: Westbound Penn Central freight approaching the Monon diamond. The Monon mainline is in the lower right corner of the photo. The PRR/ Monon interchange track is pictured also.

L&N on the old Monon Michigan City branch at Wanatah, August 21, 1972. This northbound freight stopped to set out some cars on the PRR interchange track.





Twin L&N GP30’s set out Monon PS-2 covered hopper 43022 onto the interchange track towards the Penn Central. Note weed growth on the branch.





More Pictures from Wanatah


Ron Stuckey took this picture, October 11, 1970.





Another shot, from Bob McCord, of the Wanatah depot, circa October 1966. Note traffic waiting on the interchange track.




Backside of the Wanatah depot, October 7, 1976. Pictured is the east wall.





U23B #601 working the Michigan City Branch at Wanatah.







Ooops, just a little accident. Pictured is BL2 #32 which derailed in a quarry north of U.S. 30. According to Mahlon Eberhard, kids threw the switch north of the highway and the southbound local crew could not stop before hitting the building pictured. The incident happened, September 6, 1960.




Another view of the accident.







More pictures from the William Smith collection. Bill's Grandmother, Bessie Shaw, was the depot agent in Wanatah for many years. Note sign, "Monon RY".





Gathering at the depot. Date of this picture is unknown. It is possible that it was taken the same day as this picture from page one.





Final picture from Bill. Another wonderful shot of the Wanatah depot.





There is a good possibility that this picture was taken the same day as the ones from Mr. Smith. This image was courtesy of the Wanatah Historical Society.





Left: July 27, 1967 Monon derailment. Several tri-levels loaded with Pontiacs derailed, and many new vehicles ended up in the creek. Right: This picture is of one of the last trains on the Michigan City line, heading south. Both images courtesy Wanatah Historical Society.


Left and Right: Photos of the 1967 Monon wreck


Left and Right: More pictures of the 1967 wreck, invloving several auto racks. Rick Dreistadt photograph.


Left and Right: 1967 wreck. Rick Dreistadt photograph.

Wanatah, Indiana...And Now




Left: Abandoned mainline, circa 2003. Picture taken looking north from north of County Road 1350. Right: Looking south. County Road 1350 is pictured in the background.

Looking north from the former Monon crossing with Pensnsy/ Conrail tracks. The photographer would be standing at the location of the old depot. William F. Hunt Memorial Park is to the left of the former right of way.




Looking south from the former Monon crossing at the Pennsy/ Conrail tracks.






Old equipment south of former crossing. Across from where the tower once stood.





Looking south down the former Monon mainline from U.S. 30. Former depot would be on the left side of the photo. The interlocking tower, depot, line structures and all of the former Monon track have all been removed. All that remains is the vacant former right of way.





Driving north from Wanatah, the first crossing I explored was at 1000S. Photo is looking south down the abandoned right of way.





Same crossing, looking north. Although I did not try and follow it myself, the abandoned right of way does appear easily walkable. However, "No Trespassing" signs are common.





M.P. A37.7 - 3st Subdivision - WA

South Wanatah, August 9, 1947. Monon passenger special arriving at the junction. Train is southbound. M.D. McCarter photo, used with his permission.





Another view of the same passenger special. M.D. McCarter photo, used with his permission.






August 1947. Monon engine 530, a 2-8-2, pulls a local through South Wanatah on the Michigan City line. In the hole, waiting for the local to pass is Monon's Hoosier making its exhibition tour. Malcolm McCarter photo.






Left: Football special, October 18, 1952, at South Wanatah. F-Unit 81-B in the lead. Sandy Goodrick photo. Right: April 18, 1981, South Wanatah. Norfork and Western 1378 about to cross the former Monon. Jeff Strombeck photo. Both obtained from the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum, North Judson, Indiana.



Left and Right: South Wanatah depot, October 6, 1976.


Looking north along the Monon at South Wanatah.






Another view looking north along the former Monon mainline.







The beginning of the end for the former Monon. This photo was taken after April 18, 1981, which was the last day of operation on the Michigan City Branch. The diamond has been removed. You are looking to the north.




South Wanatah action, April 18, 1981. Norfork and Western freight about to cross the former Monon at South Wanatah. John Strombeck photo.






South Wanatah 2002. Left: Looking north towards Wanatah. Right: Same area looking south.

South Wanatah 2002. Looking westbound. I apologize for the poor quality of this photo. Next trip, maybe I will snap a better one.






Driving north from Wanatah, the first crossing I explored was at 1000S. Photo is looking south down the abandoned right of way.





Same crossing, looking north. Although I did not try and follow it myself, the abandoned right of way does appear easily walkable. However, "No Trespassing" signs are common.







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