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Trout Lake Township

Trout Lake Township located within Chippewa County in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The town is rich in history and natural beauty.  It occupies the southwest corner of Chippewa County and is home to the lake of the same name. The Township and the unincorporated community of Trout Lake have much to offer the outdoor enthusiast, with vast natural resources including and surrounding the lake. Trout Lake Township overlaps Hiawatha National Forest. The Township is 143.6 square miles, including Muir Woods Nature Preserve (70.39 acres) and Badgley-Little Trout Lake Natural Preserve (28.43 acres). Both are operated by the Little Traverse Conservancy. Recreation is a key theme in Trout Lake Township and featured at the Township Park, which is seven acres and includes a boat launch, beach and other facilities.

Trout Lake was founded at the junction of two historic Upper Peninsula railroads. The Detroit, Mackinac & Marquette Railroad began laying rails out of Marquette and St. Ignace in 1880 and operated trains between the two points by 1881. In 1886 the line declared bankruptcy, operated temporarily as the Mackinaw and Marquette Railroad, and by 1887 became the Duluth South Shore & Atlantic Railroad (with a Mackinac Division that ran south from Soo Junction to St. Ignace). The Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railroad was established in 1883 on a route generally paralleling the Lake Michigan shore before veering northeast to Sault Ste. Marie ("the Soo"). These two railroads merged with the Wisconsin Central Railroad in 1961 to form the Soo Line Railroad (the common name for the former MS&S).

Railroads were the catalyst to settlement and early development of Trout Lake, which was platted in 1888 by the Peninsular Land Company (the land agent for the DM&MRR). The general location was called Trout Lake Junction. Railroad-related structures at the village included the DSS&A depot, roundhouse, pump houses and storage tanks, a section house, a bunkhouse, and repair shops that together were used by at least 30 full-time employees. At its height 8 passenger trains, a day ran through the town as well as a late-night freight that included a passenger car. Birch lodge sent a wagon, and later an automobile, to pick up tourists at the depot. The original depot that still stands in the center of the village continues to be used by railroad maintenance crews, although the DSS&A ended its last Upper Peninsula passenger service after the Mackinac Bridge opened in 1958.

In 1984 the line south out of Trout Lake was abandoned; in 1987 a large amount of Soo Line Railroad including all Michigan mileage was spun off to Wisconsin Central Ltd, now part of the Canadian National Railway. The former MS&S line survives today and runs through Trout Lake.

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