M.P. A 51.1 - 3rd Subdivision -
Left: 1202 S. Otis Road, looking south. Right: Same area, looking north. This was another area where access was easy to the right of way and one would be able to walk several hundred yards in either direction.
Looking south, across the newly completed bridge over the Indiana Toll Road. Photo is 1955. Toll Road opened in 1956
Left and Right: The Michigan City branch mainline crossing the Indiana Toll Road. Circa 1955 during the construction of the Toll Road. -MRHTS Archives photos.
Left: Otis Road and the Indiana Toll Road. Looking towards the north. Bridge and abutments have been removed. Right: Closer look at north of right of way from south side of Toll Road.
Left: Otis Road and the Indiana Toll Road. Looking up from the Toll Road at where the south bridge abutment once was. Right: Looking south along the former right of way.
Contrary to some opinions, Otis Indiana was not named to honor Otis Campbell, of Andy Griffith and Mayberry fame. Nor was Otis named for the famous elevator manufacturing company.
"Settled in 1851, this town was christened Salem Crossing by the Michigan Southern Railroad along whose tracks the community grew. By the time the village was platted in 1870, it was called LaCroix, courtesy of the Monon. The town served as an important station during the Civil War since all soldiers from northern Indiana were required to travel by Monon troop trains south from LaCroix. The community bustled with the arrivals and departures of troops and the hotels and merchants thrived on the needs of soldiers for rooms, food and store goods. It was also along the Monon that the funeral train of the assassinated President Abraham Lincoln traveled to Illinois. Although the funeral cortege was not scheduled to stop at LaCroix, the crowd which had gathered around the refueling train was so large that the officials allowed the waiting people to view the body of the fallen president. After the war, LaCroix was still called Salem Crossing by some. To eliminate the confusion, the town was given the name of the district congressman, General Packard. In 1872, Packard himself suggested the name of Otis. The town today is a small community of farmers and commuters.
As a railroad junction, Otis had been the home of a number of railroad workers. In the 1860's, a group of Polish immigrants settled in Otis and began to clear or acquire farmland. Perhaps these immigrants had raised money to buy this land by working in the Haskell-Barker Car Company of Michigan City or the Studebaker Corporation of South Bend. Hundreds of Polish immigrants earned their first American paychecks working as cheap labor for these and other factories. As soon as they could financially afford to escape the factory and city, many would pursue their first dreams of becoming landowners. The group of Poles who arrived in Otis after the Civil War were attracted by the region's similarity to their hometown of Posen." - Courtsey of Portable LaPorte County , Copyright 1978 Michigan City Public Library-
Left: Otis, Indiana Union depot. Exact date unknown. This depot served both the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern, later New York Central, and the Monon. The Monon tracks are in the foreground, on which the words "Union Depot" are written. Right: The Otis Hotel, date unknown. From the clothing in both pictures above, these photos may date back to the late 1800's early 1900's. Courtesy Mike Fleming.
Otis Tower, date unknown.
Left: Otis Senators posing for pictures at the depot. This picture, taken in 1918 shows the Monon mainline in the background. Right: This picture is from a collection taken by the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern in 1906. It is of Otis, looking toward the east. The depot is easily seen, however, I have had problems picking up the Monon mainline, which should have been just east of the depot. Courtesy Mike Fleming.
Otis crossing. Westbound Conrail freight is coming up to the location of the former Monon crossing.
Looking west from crossing along Conrail tracks.
Norfork Southern action, 2003, Otis, Indiana. Westbound freight, with locomotive 9708 in the lead roaring through Otis. Rick Adkins photo.
Looking south at what remained of the former Monon. Nature is already starting to reclaim the right of way.
1974, looking north across the diamonds at Otis.
Another shot looking north at Otis. Tacks are still in place, but their days are certainly numbered.
Same view, circa 2002. Looking south, toward Haskells, along abandoned right of way from W. Snyder Road.
Otis crossing. Looking to the north from W. Snyder Road.
Driving north on Otis Road the abandoned right of way is visible from the road. On several occasions I stopped and walked up on the old roadbed. It is easy to walk and the trail is pretty clear. I found an old bridge over what the maps call the Little Calumet River. I wasn't aware there were two. It was an interesting hike.
This image caome from the Michigan City Library and Betty Smith of San Diego, CA. Pictured is a wreck that happened May 4, 1892 north of Otis, Indiana. The engine was from the Louisville, Indianapolis and New Albany (Monon) Railroad. To read the story about the accident and additional photos, 1892 Otis Wreck Page
Bridge over Little Calumet River on abandoned mainline south of 50N, north of Otis. Former right of way is easily traversed in this area.
Abandoned right of way, Division Road crossing, north of Otis. Left: looking toward the north. Right: Same area, looking south. It appears possible to walk from Otis to this crossing without much difficulty. Much of the abandoned right of way is on private property with No Trespassing signs posted.
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