Taken from a newspaper article that we found at the store. No date was given.

Alger Resident Recalls Past Half Century
(Mrs. Vivian Ernst, daughter of Job Hartwick, an early railroader in Alger, tells her story)

When I arrived in Alger near midnight August 31, 1902, Alger had recovered from the excitement and confusion of being a thriving lumbering center. Its 13 saloons had been reduced to one and its many railroads had been reduced to one. No longer were there short spur lines for hauling logs out the woods. The "narrow gauge railroad" was gone.

By the time I arrived the lumber camps had moved northward but every day our only railroad hauled many cars, loaded with logs through our town. In some ways Alger resembled a ghost town.

There were many unoccupied buildings which had gradually deteriorated and had fallen or been torn down. To my knowledge there is only one building other than the school that remains standing since lumbering days and it has been remodeled and added to several times. That building has served many purposes. It has been a clothing store, a grocery store, a saloon, a creamery, a dance hall and lastly a post office with part of it being a dwelling.

I went to Alger's little red schoolhouse and after learning all it had to offer, I went on to high school… and eventually… back to the red school again where I taught. My mother, too, went to that school which still stands although it has been altered two or three times.

Some years ago our school consolidated with Standish-Sterling, and the schoolhouse was sold and is now being used as a home.

I have many memories of Alger during my childhood. My father was a section worker on the railroad over 30 years. He was called out at night, many times, to assist at the scene of a train wreck.

Alger's Nights of Horror
The most vivid in my memory was the night the train was wrecked right in our village. At that time our railway depot was a two-story building with living quarters on the second floor for the station agent and his family.

When the train was wrecked that night, part of it tore into the station when the family was sleeping above. We lived across the road a short distance from the station and were awakened by the sound of the tremendous crash as the long log train, coming down grade from the north, rammed into the building.

Logs and cars were piled high. The station was demolished and burned but luckily the family escaped without the loss of life.

During the years there were many other wrecks where several cars, loaded with logs, were piled high. It took hours to untangle them and clear away the wreckage. Another horrible memory was the stormy night when two section laborers were killed while running a handcar in a blinding snowstorm.

My grandfather, Estes, owned the farm located at the junction of M-33 and M-76. In fact, I was born on that farm. Our place had a very large round barn, which for years was the landmark of the Alger area. I remember the day the barn burned. The cause was never known. My mother and I watched from our window. I felt so bad and mother cried so hard while watching it burn.

Another thing that frightened us, and the horses, was the first automobiles when they occasionally came down over dirt roads… but before we realized it, the buggies and the dirt roads were gone.

Dirt became gravel and gravel became pavement, buggies, automobiles.

When my mother died at 77 years of age, she was Alger's oldest resident. She was born in Alger. Mother used to tell me about when she used to sell bunches of violets, trailing arbutus and winter greens to passengers on the trains passing through. Trains used to stop at Alger for people to eat. There was a big dining room in the depot for the passengers. My grandmother used to cook there.

I like to look at the old pictures of bygone days. The country roads, so quiet and peaceful. The depot is gone. The big red water tank is gone. It became leaky and had to be torn down. I can remember, in summer, when our daring young people in spite of strict regulations against it, used to take a swim in that big railway water tank. Now the trains are about gone.

How I miss the shrill whistle of the trains and the clinging and clanging of the bells. That used to keep strangers who stayed with us, awake nights.

Please note: All words in red italics were added by me.