Taken from a newspaper article that we found at the store. No date was given.
Railroad Guided Moffatt History by Cal Ennes
Arenac County's First Railroad
By 1870, trains were running from Jackson to Saginaw over what was known as the Jackson and Saginaw Railroad. During the same year this railroad was built from Saginaw to Wenona (West Bay City) and on north as far as Pinconning.
The next year, 1871, it was completed on through White Feather, Worth, Standish, Deep River, Sterling, Dunham and as far north as Wells, a village named after a prominent lumberman. This village was located about one mile south of Alger of today, near the cemetery. The next year, 1872, the railroad was built on north to Culver, another village named after a pioneer lumberman. This village was located about one mile north of Alger of today. Thus the Jackson, Lansing and Saginaw Railroad ran from Jackson to Culver. During 1872, it was sold to Michigan Central Railroad Company.
In those days many lumberman knew in advance when and where railroads would be built. They purchased a tract of timber, built lumber camps and had them in operation when the railroad was constructed. Hoop-makers, tie makers and other came very soon. Villages with post offices, stores and mills came into existence. Well and Culver were formed in this manner.
As soon as the railroad reached Wells and Culver, the lumber company in each of the villages built logging railroads west to the Molasses and east to the Rifle River.
The Main line of the Michigan Central Railroad ran on to West Branch, another span was built east from Culver to Shearer, which was north of Melita in Clayton Township near the county line. Other railroads criss-crossed Clayton, Mason and western Turner Township.
When the railroad came, this region grew fast. It was organized into Moffatt Township in 1874. Alvin N Culver was its first supervisor. Patrick Reardon, who came from Cork, Ireland, the Clives, the Teachants, the Estes, and many others settled there. The villages of Wells and Culver had post offices, stores and mills before Alger came into existence.
Railroad From Tawas Created Alger
(To be continued)
Here is the second part of the article. This is also taken from the same newspaper. Once again, no date was included.
River and Rails Helped Build Area by Carl
In 1880, the Hale Brothers finished their logging operations on that portion of the Tawas and Bay County Railroad, running to the East Branch of the AuGres, so they sold the railroad with a capitol stock of $180,000.00 to C.H. Prescott and Sons who had extensive timber holdings in Ogemaw County near Prescott.
The railroad was then extended west from the River, (later called Emory Junction) through Whittemore and on to Prescott during the year of 1881. Lumbering then began in earnest in this region. Later during the same year the Tawas and Bay County Railroad was sold again by the Prescotts to Alger, Smith and Company.
General Russell A. Alger, who later became governor of Michigan, was president of the new company. He had the railroad built on from Prescott to the Michigan Central Railroad at a point halfway between the villages of Culver and Wells. The new village was named Alger, after General Russell A. Alger.
Alger Becomes a Booming Railroad Center
This narrow-gauged railroad was only three feet, two inches wide. Its rails were made from narrow strips of iron, screwed on three by five inch plank. These plank units were laid on timbers that had been sawed flat on one side and the round bottom laid on cross ties spaced every five or six feet on the ground.
In the beginning this railroad was nearly 40 miles in length but by 1886, it was extended to within three miles of Alpena. It had many railway coaches and locomotives and hundreds of freight cars. One could change cars at Alger and go on to Tawas and Alpena by railroad.
Scenic Railroad Bridge Over the Rifle
This wooden railway bridge east of Alger was developed after bridge engineering used during the Civil War. It was 75 feet above the low water mark of the Rifle. It was the highest railroad bridge in Michigan. The bridge's total length was 986 feet with two trusses each made of wood and some iron. The one truss was 100 feet long and the other was 150 feet. The rest consisted of trestlework containing one-half million feet of sawed timber and 100,000 feet of hewn timber.
It cost $30,000.00 to build. The timber used in the construction of this famous bridge came from green pine cut on the banks of the Rifle River.
The first train over the bridge ran from Alger to Tawas on December 3, 1883.
It was a memorial event in several ways: It was at this time that E.J. Dunn (The Dunns were Moffatt pioneers) printed the first issues of what was later called "The Arenac Independent." And that first train also carried the type and the equipment for the "Tawas Herald" which began publication a moth later, January 1884.
Alger then became a boomtown with mills, restaurants, 13 saloons, and round houses for repairing trains. The villages, Wells on the plains a mile south and Culver in fine clay loam farming country a mile to the north, were its suburbs. It was then the railroad metropolis of the north but as the timber was lumbered, one by one the logging railroads and camps disappeared. It became just a country village.
Please note: All words in red italics were added by me.