Michigan Transportation History

W. Howie Muir

Detroit Transit Person EngineerPublic

Youth and education

W. Howie Muir was born May 28, 1867, to William Ker Muir and Christina Hendrie Muir? (sister of George Hendrie). He married Marion Lewis (daughter of Alexander Lewis the former mayor of Detroit), whose sisters had married Cameron Currie? and James H. McMillan? and whose brothers (Henry B. Lewis? and Alexander I. Lewis?) in Detroit were themselves manufacturers. W. Howie Muir and Marion Lewis had three children: Elizabeth, Marjorie, and William.

Business life

William Howard was educated in the Michigan Military Academy? and at the University of Michigan. He graduated from Michigan as a mechanical engineer in 1888. He was first employed at the Eureka Iron and Steel Works? of Eber Brock Ward. In 1892, he organized the Jenks & Muir Manufacturing Company, which manufactured brass and iron bedsteads and for which he served as vice president and treasurer. By 1922, Jenks & Muir was one of Detroit's largest manufacturers outside of the automobile industry.ManufacturerIron

He was a director in Detroit's Peoples State Bank.

Muir was also involved in street railway construction. On October 15, 1894, he secured from Highland Park the rights to construct a street railway through the town.1 In late 1912 or early 1913, he along with Walter O. Parker of Nashville (TN), George T. Hendrie, Russell A. Alger, Jr.?, and Henry B. Ledyard III? incorporated the Nashville Traction Company? in Tennessee at $125,000 to build 34 miles of street railway and provide electric lighting power.2

Social life

The Muirs were members of the Presbyterian Church. Muir was a MasonMason, a member in Delta Kappa Epsilon and the Detroit Board of Commerce?. He had memberships in most of Detroit's clubs. He was a founder (along with George M. Hendrie? and others) of the Wanikin Club and golf course on Jefferson Avenue in 1895. The Hendrie family donated the land. He was also vice president of the Detroit Country Club. He was a benefactor of the Historic Elmwood Foundation.

Muir died December 6, 1929, and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery.


1. The Electrical World 24, n. 18 (November 3, 1894), p. 484.

2. Electric Railway Journal 41, no. 2 (January 11, 1913), p. 91. The ERJ notes that it was a "George N. Hendrie who was in the partnership, but there was no such person in Detroit. My best guess is that it was George Trowbridge Hendrie as his father died in 1913 and probably wasn't up to starting another street railway. Similarly, the article listed Ledyard as "Henry B. Ledyard" and not as Hendrie's contemporary Henry Brockholst Ledyard III?.


Clarence M. Burton, William Stocking, and Gordon K. Miller, The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922, vol. 4 (Detroit: S. J. Clarke, 1922), 779-780.

David Robb, "The Game of Golf Comes to Grosse Pointe: The Founding of the Country Club of Detroit," in Tonnancour: Life in Grosse Pointe and Along the Shores of Lake St. Clair, vol. 2, edited by Arthur M. Woodford (Detroit[?]: Omnigraphics, 1996), 170.

Grosse Pointe Historical Society, "Grosse Pointe History Timeline."

Debbie Axtman and Linda Ball, "Grosse Pointe, Wayne County, Michigan - Biography of Residents," American Local History Network, Michigan, link checked July 2012.

Clarence Monroe Burton, s.v. "Alexander Lewis," Compendium of History and Biography of the City of Detroit and Wayne County, Michigan (Chicago: Henry Taylor & Co., 1909), 251.

Robert Budd Ross, George Byron Catlin, and Clarence Monroe Burton, Landmarks of Detroit: A History of the City. Detroit: Evening News Association, 1898.

Citation: When referencing this page please use the following citation:

R. D. Jones, "W. Howie Muir," Michigan Transportation History (Ypsilanti, MI: 2020), www.michtranshist.info/.

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Page last modified on March 30, 2020, at 08:32 PM EST

Page last modified on March 30, 2020, at 08:32 PM EST