Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Trolley Depot

Whenever I stayed at my grandparents' house when I was a little girl, if a train came through, my brothers and I would run down to the corner and watch them roll through. A half-dozen or more tracks crossed the street and went on past the depot, no longer used as such, but as a steak restaurant. On the other side of the tracks, Depot Street would take us toward downtown Plymouth. I was around 4 years old when my brothers walked with me through the snow down that street to see a Christmas season showing of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Always part of the scenery was this blond brick building. For some reason I got it into my head that it was a fire house once upon a time. Who knows what little girl reasoning took me there, perhaps it was the round holes near the roof that seemed just right for hoses to be pulled through, the huge garage doors, the utilitarian look of the building. Last year I finally found out this was a depot for the trolley line from the first half of the 20th Century that I never knew about. Turns out the holes near the roof were for the trolley cables.

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The line went from Fondulac to Sheboygan, running through Plymouth and Elkhart Lake, and also from Kiel. Grandma said people from Chicago would work hard and save so they could come up and summer at Elkhart Lake. When she was sixteen she worked in a restaurant, and a sister worked cleaning rooms. She didn't like that the customer was always right.

Grandma told the story again about how she rode the trolley so she could be with her sister when she had her baby in Sheboygan. She was scared, but it was so interesting to see the country between Plymouth and Sheboygan from that different view, rather than the usual roads.

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