Submitted by Nute Chapman
From Onaway Outlook ay 18, 2012
Caption: THE DINKY ENGINE with Billy Sheldon and John Cordier standing near the back of the engine.
As we explore some of the Dinky Lines, some names that pop up in our history are John Cordier, Billy Sheldon, William Comfort, Michael O'Meara and Harry Helper.
History shows that Lobdell had nearly two miles of track within the Lobdell plant. (I will cover more about this track, when we join the late Vern Jackson on a tour of the American Woodrim Co.).
The Dinky Line gets its name from the narrow gauge rails it ran on. I am sure that I will get reminded that I missed a spur or two, but we can all use a history lesson or two.
One Dinky Line left Onaway going north and east. This line cut east near the north end of the airport and through the north end of Frenchtown and continued almost to the Rainey.
At this time, Twin School Road only went about one and one-half mile east. The next road to the north was Stoney Creek Road, which ran two miles east past the Miller place and ended at the Lobdell School and Camp, at the east side of Section 28.
This camp is on the Ron Robinson property now. One can see the outlines of the buildings and a well was there the last I knew.
I should add here that Chick Vermilya took me there with my metal detector when he had the Atcherson's property rented for pastureland.
On the east side of Section 33, a spur went north through Lobdell's camp where the school was located. This spur went north almost to North Allis Highway.
One can walk this grade and when you come to a spot where they built the grade up you will find many barrel bands and assorted junk that was discarded there, which came from the factories. This area was one of my dad's favorite morel patches.
The next line to explore left the Lobdell Plant and ran southeast through the city. The line ran through Norb's Auto Body Shop, through the Catholic Church parking lot, down the middle of Elsden Street, past Edna's store, behind Tom's Market, turned southeast thru the intersection of Shaw and Lynn Street, through the intersection of Fardon and First and then southeast across Glasier Road, past the dynamite house, through the Lafave property and ended on Leist Road.
Sometime after 1902 the Dinky lines grew from 10 miles of track to almost 30 miles of track. The line from Liest continued southeast crossing One Mile Highway, 638 Highway, and went southeast behind the Charlie Bowles' place and turned east and crossed the Pauly property.
Somewhere here a spur went into a banking ground located on the Wreggleswoth property. The main line crossed 3 Mile Highway below the Noel Peters place (now SKW Ranch) and went across the Little Rainey River, across Little Rainey and ended up in Camp 18. Later this grade went on south, but we have not explored this one yet.
Another spur came off the D&M (Detroit & Mackinac) between Belding and South Porter Road and went southeast and crossed highway 638 near the end of Highway 638.
This grade crossed South Porter or should we say South Porter crossed the railroad grade as the road came after the grade. This grade went behind the old Don Bondy home and crossed 3 Mile at the foot of the first hill. A hunting club has its road on part of this grade. From here just about 200 yards south and you are in Camp 101.
The grade continued south and made a wide loop and came back west across Hoffmeyer Road and went to the Robinson lumber camp between 5 Mile and 6 Mile. The grade continued west through the Ping-Pong swamp and crosses the Little Rainey Road behind Watson's place and ends up at a campsite on the Roy Skinner farm. In talking to Betty Cowles, she tells us that there is still a well pipe and a small open area, in the woods, just east of Skinner Road. This is at the foot of the hill going to the Skinner farm.
Our next ride will take us on some of the grades south of Tower.
-Onaway Outlook, May 18, 2012, p.3. Retyped by J. Anderson.