Historical tour of the Pumpkinvine

friendsPumpkinvine News

Bristol – Take a historical biking tour of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail at 10 AM on May 12, 2012. Join Elkhart County Historical Museum director Matthew Schuld for a leisurely ride along the former railroad route, and learn about how it contributed to the history of Goshen and Elkhart County. The tour will begin at Oakridge Park in Goshen on the Corner of First Street and Oakridge Avenue. Riders will be guided east on the Maple Heart Trail and then onto the Pumpkinvine Trail. Along the approximately 4.5 mile round trip route, tour goers will hear about the significance of historic sites and buildings that line the trail. The trip should last about one-hour.
What today is known as the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail was created in 1888 when the Canada and St. Louis Railroad Company connected Middlebury and Goshen. The track was originally intended to be part of a larger route connecting Bay City, Michigan, to Danville, Illinois. Like many small railroads during this period, the company quickly failed due to legal and financial problems. Soon after, the rapidly expanding Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad Company purchased the track and made the Pumpkinvine Line viable. A great number of businesses and passengers took advantage of the railroad line which earned the nickname “Pumpkinvine” as a result of its many winding turns. The Friends of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail, Inc. purchased the right-a-way in 1993 and worked to ensure that it would become a publicly accessible trail.
The tour will focus primarily on sites in Goshen with a future tour expected to leave from another point along the trail in Middlebury. “We will address the many ways that the railroad affected the growth and development of Elkhart County,” said museum director Matthew Schuld. “At one time this railroad served some of Goshen’s largest manufacturers. The places we’ll pass also tell a larger story about the changing nature of our economy, cities, and transportation demands,” Schuld added.
The tour is free, and riders of all skill levels are welcome. Please contact the Elkhart County Historical Museum at 574-848-4322 or matt@elkhartcountyparks.orgfor more information.
About the Elkhart County Historical Museum
The Elkhart County Historical Museum fosters appreciation and preservation of local history and culture through exhibits, educational programs, and an accessible library and archives.
The museum’s regular hours are 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday-Saturday.  There is no charge for admission, but donations are accepted.  For more information, please call the museum at (574) 848-4322.  The museum is located at 304 W. Vistula (SR 120) in Bristol.