Island railroad tracks pulled up, headed for new home in Findlay, Ohio Islanders will recall the quarter-scale train Skip and Sharon Duggan had on their property out by the South Bass Island Lighthouse. The locomotive and cars were capable of pulling loads of kids around on the tracks Skip, Rob Mohn and another fellow laid in Duggan’s woods and field just over twenty years ago.
Over the years, there were parties with train rides for all the island youngsters. Several years ago, the locomotive and cars left the island for a new home, but the track remained. After Skip died, the question became what to do with the about-a-thousand feet of track. After several years, the route through the woods became overgrown and the tunnels through the hanging branches impassable.
Sharon thought she had a buyer for the track, but when the buyers came and saw it, they decided because of the work and cost not to take it.
This past month, a volunteer group from Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation, Inc. in Findlay, Ohio, came to the island to rip up all the track and take it back to Findlay where it will be relaid so the quarter-scale locomotives and cars they have can have their operation expanded. The volunteers who came to Put-in-Bay spent at least two days removing the track from the Duggan property. It wasn’t easy. Many branches in the woods had to be cleared just so they could get to the track. The track had to be disassembled section by section and picked up and loaded on a quarter-scale cart to be pushed out to the welder who cut up the sections for easier transport off the island.
Established in 1998 as an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable corporation for the preservation, promotion, and education of railroad history in Northwest Ohio, NWORRP is unique among railroad groups in that they incorporate a diversity of interests – from model size to quarter-scale, to full-scale. They believe each aspect communicates the importance railroads have to our national and local history, and combining all of these interests together allows a better understanding of the positive impact railroads have in our everyday lives.
The NWORRP has a quarter-scale train that gives rides, a gift shop, a museum, a Lionel layout and an HO layout in progress. If you are interested in finding out more about the NWORRP or becoming a volunteer, you can call 419-423-2995 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The group also has a website – http://www.nworrp.org . Their projects are made possible through the hard work of their volunteers and the generosity of donors. All donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law and are much appreciated. There’s an interesting footnote to this story. The quarter-scale locomotive now at the NWORRP in Findlay, once was in “The Springs of Eden Park,” a world-famous amusement park and zoo operated by The House of David in Michigan in the 1930’s. Sharon’s great-grandfather was the founder of the House of David.
Thanks go to Miller Boat Line and the yacht club for helping with the transportation for the volunteers who pulled the track.
Sharon has also arranged for the younger students from Put-in-Bay School to take a field trip to Findlay in the future to see the train and track and enjoy a ride just like island kids did in years gone by. The last time tracks were pulled up on Put-in-Bay was probably when the tracks for the trolley car run from downtown Put-in-Bay out to the Hotel Victory were pulled up. The trolley operated more than one hundred years ago. The Hotel Victory was located where the South Bass Island State Park is now located.