History – RR & Chicken Pie

Michigan Central Railroad in Marshall

The first wood-fired engine arrived in Marshall in 1844. It took 40 minutes to travel from Albion to Marshall, which was the end of the line for a couple of years. In 1850, the local newspaper announced that a new depot had been built because Marshall was now the central location on the route stretching from Detroit to New Buffalo. Train engines could go no further than 100 miles at that time without overheating, so trains would stop in Marshall and have their engines switched to fresh ones. The new depot also featured a machine shop and a lunchroom.

Chicken Pie Stop

Something quickly discovered by passengers was that they could get off the train and run into the station, order a chicken pot pie, and get back onto the train before it left the station. Thus, Marshall came to be known as the “Chicken Pie Stop.”


The first telegraph office in Marshall was installed in 1845 by the Erie and Michigan Telegraph Company. However, a telegraph was not installed in the railroad depot until 1856, forcing trains to run by time cards until that date.

Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers

Originally called the Brotherhood of the Footboard, the oldest railroad union in the United States was bought into being in Marshall on May 8, 1863. The organizers were Sam and Linans Keith, Tom Nixon, Sam Anlar, Tom Faulkner, Henry Lathrop, Henry Hall, John McCurdy, J.C. Thompson, John Brown, W.O. Robinson, and Uriah Stevens.

There is a memorial to this historic union at the corner of Mansion Street and E. Michigan Avenue, across from the VFW Hall.

In 1873, the rail yards moved to Jackson along with the union offices, and the trains no longer stopped in Marshall. In later years, Marshall’s roundhouse was moved to the Henry Ford Museum where it resides today.