Winona Railway Trail
(Side One)A History of the Winona
In the early 1900's, Indiana had more miles of electric train lines than any other state in the United States. The lines blossomed primarily at Indianapolis, radiating out to transport people and goods to and from the bustling city. Indianapolis lines ran only as far north as Peru and northern Indiana lines ran only as far south as Goshen. A link between the two quickly became necessary.
In 1910, the link was created: the Winona Interurban Railway Company connected Goshen, Warsaw and Peru with sixty-five miles of trail. This additional line made it possible to travel from Michigan City to Indianapolis and back again in the same day.
In 1926 the line, now the Winona Railway Company, focused less on passenger service and more on freight service. In 1934, passenger service ceased all together. The transportation of eggs, coal, and sand became the main business for the line. Soon after this transition, diesel and gas engines replaced the electric locomotives.
In 1945, competition from the flourishing trucking industry threatened the stability of the Winona Railroad Company. After a difficult seven year period, it was forced to shut down due to financial losses. The final train ran in 1952.
(Side Two)Bethany Christian Schools
On June 4, 1953, the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference chartered the building of a high school, which opened on this site on September 7, 1954. Enrollment increases over the years led to building additions in 1957, 1964 and 1989. A middle school was established in 1996.
For several centuries, this land was home to a Pottawattomi tribe. In 1829 John W. Violett laid claim to 825 acres that included this property. In 1870, his son William built the brick house located at the southwest corner of this property, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Today, Bethany continues the original mission to provide an excellent Christian education. All students, regardless of their religious affiliation, who agree to live by the community guidelines and who satisfy the admission requirements are welcome.