Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

With the lines of automobiles and trucks streaming through Warsaw each day, it is a little difficult for us to visualize the traffic picture in Warsaw in the day before the widespread use of the automobile.

We ran across an interesting news item in a Warsaaw paper of August, 1909, which tells something of the traffic problems of that day. This was at a time when few people had automobiles, and many persons depended on electric or rail transportation to get them from place to place. The year 1909 was a big one for Winona Lake, perhaps the biggest in that town's early history. Crowds flocked to Winona Lake, perhaps the biggest in that town's early history. Crowds flocked to Winona Lake to attend the Chatauqua programs and the Bible Conference. As most of these people came to Warsaw first, the traffic between Warsaw and Winona was very great.

The news item referred to above tells of the tremendous volume of business which the Winona Interurban was doing between these points in the summer of 1909. It states that at one big Winona event in early August, twenty-seven street cars crowded to the limit were run from the park to the city in two hours time. This led Sol C. Dickey, general manager of Winona Lake and also an important figure in the operation of the Winona Interurban, to ask for permission to double-track the street car line from Detroit to Lake streets on Center, as well as the building of additional switches. Dickety felt this was necessary so that the cars could keep in movement constantly. These suggestions were never followed, because in a very few years the automobile was cutting greatly into the interurban's business.

Probably most of our readers can remember the loop which the street cars made in Warsaw. Coming from Winona Lake, the cars would turn south at Detroit to Market, then west on Market to Lake, north on Lake to Center, and then east again to Detroit. A short strip was double-tracked on East Center at Maple Avenue so that cars could pass at that point.

Warsaw Times-Union Tues. July 21, 1953