The Alpena News, January 8, 1931

Here’s An Old Timer Takes You Way, Way Back Into History of Alpena

Editor Alpena News:

Let us go back into the sixties again.  Do you remember the only way there was of getting from the down town district of Alpena to the then so-called Campbellville at the west end of Washington avenues?  Well, you waded up Chisolm street through muck and sand, (No there was no sawdust on the streets then, for the mills that were then – used all the refuse to build up around their plant) nearly to Eleventh street, then turned to the left and followed very nearly what is now Eleventh avenue and close by where the Fair Grounds now are, (Right about opposite where the main entrance to the Fair Grounds now is was the Catholic cemetery which was later removed to the present Holy Cross cemetery grounds.) and so on to so-called Campbellville.  And there you found one boarding house and two small frame dwelling houses and a sawmill owned by the E.P. Campbell & Co., later owned by W.H.& E.K. Potter.

Of course later on there were other buildings; among them were a small mill, built by Deacon Kimball.

From the sawmill straight out to the bay shore, was a tram road built as follows: medium size trees were cut  and hewed flat on one side, and bedded in the ground flat side up about five feet apart, and two by four strips of hardwood (sawed) pinned on with wooden pins, and on this ran the truck, drawn by horses, that carried the lumber from mill to the dock, which was built of spiles, well out into the bay.  And that was the only dock where boats of any size could land for years.

The road from the dock up State to Chisolm street (wow) sand, and then lots more sand.  (Do I hear some one say: Why did we not travel up Washington avenue?  For the very good reason that the upper end of Washington avenue then was a tamarack swamp bog hole.

Let me say further, that excepting the buildings at Campbellville there were no buildings south and west of Lockwood and Fourth.  The ground was swamp and sand ridges and alive with rabbits and partridge, and some lynx that were always fat and would not hurry out of man’s way.  And many the good kill of partridge and rabbits have been made by the writer of this, anywhere south of Lockwood street, and in fact on the ground where the court house now stands.

From Old Timer

Eular Thorne, Sr.

Rt. 1 Lachine, Mich.