Submitted by Nute Chapman
From Onaway Outlook August 31, 2012
Caption: Today's picture is of the depot and freight house in the early 1900s.
Leaving Case, our first stop will be at one of M. Chandler and Lobdell & Bailey's many lumber camps. This camp was located on the west side of Section 13 in Allis Township. There were two spurs from the Detroit & Mackinac (D & M) going into the camp.
The O'Connell family owns most of this land today. There were no roads to this camp. It is here that the first passenger on the new D & M line switched from the engine to a flatcar and rode on into Onaway. Her story follows.
Mrs. George Morris was the first passenger to come to Onaway by train. She rode the engine from Millersburg to Rainey River and from there she rode on a flatcar to Onaway. This was the first trip on the new track, built by the D & M Railroad Company. This happened July 9, 1898.
Mr. and Mrs. Morris were married in Alpena in 1897. Early in 1898 Mr. Morris came to Onaway and built a hardware and sheet metal store, known as the Pioneer Hardware Store, which later became the Lennox Restaurant (now a vacant lot next to Schell's Auto). The Morris household goods and stock of merchandise for the store came in on that first train to the city in July 1898. This information comes from an old Onaway Outlook newspaper.
Leaving the camp we arrive at the Onaway depot and freight house. Here we would see teams and wagons waiting to take passengers and their luggage to their destination. The Chandler Hotel had its own team and wagon for anyone going to their hotel. A few years later the Metropole added a covered bus for their customers. The depot had about 10 employees by 1903. Harry Young was the telegraph operator for several years. At this time there were four passenger trains daily. The schedule shows the train arriving at 6:20 a.m., 8:15 a.m., 4:10 p.m. and 6:18 p.m.
Wouldn't it be nice to take a tour through the depot and freight house today? Our depot was given to Louie Haver of Black River. He tore it down and moved it for the lumber. Most of the lumber is now a cattle barn.
While we are waiting for the next train lets take a walk up 1st Street to the south. We jump ahead to 1902 and go window-shopping. There were no numbers that matched buildings at this time. The businesses were just listed as being on First Street or had a two-digit telephone number.
We know that the Greenwood Hotel sat on the corner of Spruce and First. John Clark's Telephone Central was close to where the present switch building is today.
The first printing office was near the corner of Spruce and First on the east side of First Street. It then moved to the corner of First and State Street. It has seen many faces and changes but is still the old Onaway Outlook on the outside.
On the lot north of Gary Price's is where the City Hall, the lockup (jail), a livery and a hose tower were located. Little Franks Store sat on the corner of State and First Street, where the Coney Dog Restaurant is today.
Hiram Olmstead ran the D & M Hotel, which had a sample room, S.W. Ferguson was the proprietor of "The Bee Hive" which was another sample room and Herman Peetz had a saloon near the depot.
Edward Montague ran the city livery. He had 10 horses and a rig to suit every need.
Fred Tuffs ran "The Dewey" sample room. M. Quick & Co. had a grocery store with crockery and stationary.
Pratt's Livery and Feed Store would rent you a rig day or night.
William Harman's first general merchandise store was in the Harman block. William later built a bigger store that is still standing today as The Flower Box.
D. G. Lowe was a jeweler and optician on First Street. D & C Howell was one of the foremost physicians of Presque Isle County. He was the chief surgeon for the D & M Railroad. He was also located in the Harman block.
Keep in mind that First Street was the main street at that time. As State Street started to develop, a lot of merchants moved to State Street and built bigger and better buildings.
Let's go back to the depot and catch the train to Waverly Crossing.
-Onaway Outlook, August 31, 2012, p.3. Retyped by J. Anderson.