200 Washington Ave.
Grand Haven, MI 49417
1 (616)-842-0700





Train Engine #1223


Pere Marquette 1223 Steam Locomotive
Combined weight of engine and tender 400 tons
Overall length 101 feet
Height of engine 16 feet
Driving wheels diameter 69 inches
Tender capacity water 22,000 gallons
Tender capacity coal 22 tons
Cylinder horse power 2,979 hp.


In 1949, after the Pere Marquette merged with the Chesapeake and Ohio, the PM began converting to diesel locomotives. The transition was made in only a couple of years, and on November 25, 1951, the last of the 1200's to operate in Michigan, pulled out of Holland, Michigan. When it arrived at the Wyoming Yard near Grand Rapids, its fire was extinguished. An era thus ended, much to the regret of steam locomotive lovers. By 1961 all but two of the well-proportioned locomotives were sold for scrap.

The 1223 was moved from the scrap line at New Buffalo in 1960. It was repainted and moved to Detroit where it went on display at the Michigan State Fairgrounds to the delight of the thousands of visitors who came to admire the big machine. As every community who has received one knows, big steam locomotives look magnificent and draw crowds when they first arrive, but time, weather, and vandals create wear and tear. In 1980, State Fairground officials in Detroit decided they were tired of trying to maintain the 1223 and the engine was in the way of a grandstand expansion. They announced they would give the locomotive to an organization that would provide a new home. Six bids were received and after much confusion and political maneuvering, the 1223 was awarded to the City of Grand Haven. The 1223 is listed in the National Historical Register.

Moving the engine 180 miles to its new resting place could have been a huge problem, but the Michigan National Guard, Grand Trunk and CNO Railroad agreed to commission the engine's move as a training exercise. In August of 1981, a large crowd turned out as they brought the special train, the 1223, to Grand Haven.

The 1223 now sits in the former terminal yard of the Detroit, Grand Haven, and Milwaukee Railway, later a component of the GTW. During the peak of railroading activity in Grand Haven this yard included an engine house, turntable, freight warehouse and carferry facilities. The Detroit, Grand Haven, and Milwaukee passenger terminal built in 1870 is now one of two buildings housing the Tri-Cities Historical Museum.