Sunday, January 31, 2010

1898 Firemen effective in dampening R. R. hopes

This story was published by the Ypsilanti Daily Press of Friday, January 31, 1930.

Screeching, rasping noises as the lat rails are drawn from the protesting ties; clank of loading and the deep rumble of heavily laden trucks, is the last chapter in the History of the D.J. and C. Railway in Ypsilanti. Workmen have finished removal of the tracks west of the city and long stretches of the right of way have been covered over for traffic.

As the last load passed through the city today residents recalled brighter days for the railroad, days when it was arrogant, days when it got what it wanted or knew the reason why.

In 1898 plans were formulated for construction of a spur on Cross St. from Washington St. east. The city politely protested. The railroad men were adamant and one morning when D. D. Davis, then mayor, sauntered up the Cross St. hill he discovered a crew of about 40 men busily engaged in laying the disputed spur in front of the fire department. Indignant, and realizing that there would not be time to obtain an injunction from Ann Arbor before the last rail was in place, the mayor contemplated the scene with mixed emotions. Running a contemplative eye over the situation he devised a method of dampening, in fact deluging the hopes of the railway.

Fire Chief W. W. Worden who had been looking at the activity with a rueful expression brightened visibly after a short conference with Mr. Davis and in a short time gloom vanished from the faces of the firemen when they received orders to wash the street in front of the fire barns with their heavy fire hoses.

Never did they do that task with greater zest and never was Cross St. so thoroughly washed. Not a man was able to stand against the powerful stream of water and with in a short time the electric railway representatives, in a chastened mood, came to an agreement with the city officials.

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