Down at the Depot with Children's Author
Karen Kulinski

Griffith Historical Park & Museum, Griffith, Indiana


I'm at the museum, standing in front of our 100-year-old Grand Trunk depot, which is the centerpiece of the Griffith Historical Park & Museum.

In the background are, from left to right, our EJ&E transfer caboose, our Pullman troopsleeper which carried military personnel during World War II, and part of our road caboose. The full caboose is pictured at the left.

What you can't see in the photo is the tall brick railroad tower that we saved from demolition and moved to our Historical Park in 2000. The tower is pictured at the left, too.

I hadn't realized it when I came to Griffith, but, in fact, I settled into the quintessential "railroad town." At one time, five different rail lines crossed in the middle of the main road through town, Broad Street. The trains earned Griffith the nickname "The Town that Came to the Tracks. And it was precisely because of those railroads that Griffith was founded where it was by Chicago real estate developers Jay and Elmer Dwiggins.

Some 180 trains came through each day when all five rail lines -- the Michigan Central; the Erie (later became the Erie Lackawanna;) the Elgin Joliet & Eastern Railway; the Grand Trunk (later became Grand Trunk Canadian National and now is just the Canadian National;) and the Chesapeake & Ohio -- were in operation.

It's quieter now, with only the Canadian National still in operation through Griffith. But with CN trains running through, and since the Union Pacific leases trackage rights through town, Griffith still experiences a moderately heavy load of rail traffic.

Both the Depot and Tower are now on the National Register of Historic Places and the Indiana Register of Historic Sites and Structures.