1. Grand Rapids and Indiana (1867), later PRR
2. Detroit, Lansing and Lake Michigan (1871), from Greenville, later DL&N, DGR&W, PM.
3. Saginaw & Western (1886), from Lakeview, later DGR&W, PM.
Question 1: Did either of the future PM lines build their own depot in Howard City, or did they always use the GR&I depot? If either did open its own depot, where and when did they move to the GR&I depot?
The Wikipedia Howard City Page quotes Michigan Place Names by Walter Romig, saying:
"Benjamin Ensley owned the land on which he, E. W. Muenscher, and Mr. Shaw began the settlement that Muenscher platted in 1868. It was named for William A. Howard, a Detroit railroad attorney. The Detroit, Grand Rapids and Western Railroad depot opened in 1869. A post office was established on January 12, 1870, with John B. Spencer as the first postmaster. It incorporated as a village in 1873. The post office name was shortened to "Howard" on February 2, 1895, but restored to Howard City on January 19, 1899."
Problem 1: The DGR&W didn't exist until 1897 as a merger of several future PM lines including #s 2 and 3 above.
Problem 2: The DL&LM didn't arrive in town until 1871, according to several sources, including Mr. Meints.
According to this site, William A. Howard was the president of the GR&I in the 1870s.
I presume Mr. Romig's data is in error and several sites (Wikipedia, migenweb and others) quoting it are also in error.
I also presume that naming the town for Mr. Howard was done wither as a thank you or as a result of a prior agreement to get the GR&I to build a stop there. The sites I have identified imply that the town was named Howard (City?) to attract a rail line.
Question 2: Was the initial name of the settlement "Howard" or "Howard City"?