Totem Pole Tales- The Hot Pond
Submitted by Nute Chapman
From Onaway Outlook May 23, 2014

Caption : Verne Jackson July of 1940 with one of his teams.
width="800" As I drift back a few weeks ago and read the "Autobiography of a Bicycle Rim" again, I am amazed at the content of the article. One would have to believe that the lad of 15 years of age either worked at the factory or his parents may have worked there. At any rate I would like to shed a bit of knowledge that I have gained from my interest in the American Wood Rim (AWR) Company.
First of all, the pond of water that the logs were dropped into was "the Hot Pond." The logs were dumped into the pond to wash the dirt from them, and to wet them for easier sawing. The pond would hold a flatcar load of logs.
The men would use a "Pike Pole" to spin the logs and wash the dirt away. This pond had to be cleaned with a special dredge box. The dirt from the fertile hardwoods was stockpiled and dried. It was stockpiled and dried . It was sold to the ladies for their flower boxes and gardens.
The pond had steam pipes coming into it to heat the water. After the logs were cleaned the men would guide them to the end of the pond where they were guided onto a chain conveyer that carried them to the second floor of the mill. They were again wetted down to make for easy sawing.
The shaft and bearings that drove the chain lift can be seen at the entrance to the courthouse. This piece of AWR history was salvaged from the end of the hot pond by this writer with the help of my brother-in-law Richard Hart and Robert Nash. I gained permission from the property owner, Tom Ellenberger, to store the shaft. Bob's John Deere did the heavy work.
The anchor to help unload the rail cars was still in place when we salvaged the shaft. My interest in the AWR Company was started when my Dad would talk about how Onaway grew from a few residents in 1900 to a few thousand by 1920.
I was very privileged when I got to know Vern Jackson. Jackson was the yard foreman on the day that the factory burned. I spent two afternoons with him touring the plant ruins. It was with him at the hot pond that I became very hooked on Onaway history.
Vern is Ruth Szymoniak's grandfather. Our good friends and neighbors live just a block away form us on School Street. Judy Shaloy, another granddaughter, lives two blocks from us.
Onaway will se some great improvements at the AWR site in the very near future.
One of these is to relocate the shaft back to its original location where one will see it from the pathway that will pass by the hot pond.
From the Onaway Outlook, May 23, 2014, page 5.
Retyped by J. Anderson

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