“Not a Wilderness by Any Means”

Let’s Make a Deal in Michigan

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458. [MICHIGAN]. GRAND RAPIDS & INDIANA RAILROAD COMPANY. HUGHART, W.O. (Commissioner of Land Grant G.R. & I.R.R. Co.). 1,000,000 Acres of Splendid Michigan Lands. Where?...The lands are North of the flourishing City Grand Rapids, and in the counties of Kent, Montcalm, Newaygo, Mecostam Isabella, Clare, Osceola, Lake, Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Kalkaska, Grand Traverses, Otsego, Antrim, and Charlevoix. The part of Michigan in which these lands are found is Not a Wilderness by Any Means But Contains a Population of 200,000 Souls! And is rapidly filling up with Settlers from Canada, Sweden, Norway, Holland, and from almost every State in the Union. These lands are in the grant made to the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad, which road extends from Ft. Wayne in Indiana, by way of Sturgis, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Big Rapids, Clam Lake, Fyfe Lake, Kalkaska to Petoskey on Little Traverse Bay, and thence to Mackinac. N.B.—Persons on application at the Office in Grand Rapids, by Letters in advance, will be furnished with a “Land Ticket,” which will entitle them to a Refund of Fares paid on the G.R.C.I.R.R, [sic] in the event of Purchasing Farming Lands. Also, during the years 1874 and 1875, any purchaser of not less than eighty acres of Farming Land, paying one-quarter Down, who will go upon it for settlement within Six Months after purchase, will be furnished with Free Passes for himself and family over the G.R. & I.R.R, from where such strike the road, to the station nearest the purchase. Lands from $4 to $8 & $10 Per Acre. Well Watered, Good Markets. Strong Soil. Maple, Beach, Oak, and other good Timber. [pointing hand] Only One Quarter down; Balance on Easy Time Payments. [pasted-on slip at bottom] Address of H.O. Hughart, Commissioner of Land Grant, G.R. & I.R.R. Co., Grand Rapids, Rapids Mich. [below lower border] Detroit Daily Post Print. [at center, untitled engraved scene of well-appointed homestead and farm lands]. Detroit, n.d. [ca. 1873-1874]. Broadside (window card on heavy board) within green border, text printed in black, red, and green (some in large wood type); border to border: 53.5 x 32.5 cm; overall sheet size: 56 x 35 cm. Uniform browning due to wood pulp paper, moderate chipping to blank margins. Overall a very good copy of an ephemeral survival.

     Unrecorded early immigration promotional, a very colorful, animated window card meant to capture the attention of passersby. In the most appealing terms, including free train fare, the promoters promise a good life in the newly opened areas, alluding specifically to the fact that the area is not an uninhabited wilderness. The Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad came into operation in January 1873, and much promotional material such as guides flowed forth. Eventually, the line became the longest north-south line in the United States and exerted a strong spur to the growth and development of Michigan. Albert Baxter, History of the City of Grand Rapids Michigan.... (New York: Munsell, 1891, p. 534:

[The Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad] has been one of the chief factors, indeed through this region the very chief, in the development of Northern Michigan. It has promoted the building of important commercial and industrial centers where but twenty years ago was a wilderness unbroken save by the lumberman’s ax, and these towns with their rural population have vital interests in, and dependence upon, Grand Rapids.


Sold. Hammer: $600.00; Price Realized: $735.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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