A Wooden Railroad, Tippecanoe County, Indiana
From: Past and Present of Tippecanoe County, Indiana
General R. P. DeHart, Editor in Chief
B. F. Bowen & Company, Publishers
Indianapolis, Indiana 1909

A WOODEN RAILROAD.

The following interesting reminiscence has been contributed by one familiar with the facts, but was received too late to be inserted in its proper place in the first volume of this work.

In about 1855-56 a wooden railroad was built in Tippecanoe county. Starting at West Lafayette, the road ran alongside the highway leading by the water tank, thence to the "Two-mile" saw mill, and on out the old plank road to what is now known as Klondike. Here the road went in a northerly direction around the burying ground, then turned up towards Mr. Harvey's place, and stopped. The original intention had been to run the road to Oxford, but it was completed only to the Four-mile brickyard. The idea was originated by the late Henry L. Ellsworth, who thought to haul lumber to Oxford and then load up with corn for the return trip. Mules were used as the motive power, and the rails were of wood, four by four inches in size, the material being sawed out at the Ellsworth sawmill, four miles from Lafayette. It is stated that Thomas Murdock, at the age of thirteen years, was employed in the grading of the road, receiving eight dollars a month as wages. The road was operated intermittently for about a year, and then passed into disuse.


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