Frankfort Iron Works - Elberta, MI
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member wildernessmama
N 44° 37.612 W 086° 14.050
16T E 560749 N 4941786
Quick Description: The ruins of the Frankfort Iron Works is next to the city park in Elberta.
Location: Michigan, United States
Date Posted: 5/13/2017 6:53:35 AM
Waymark Code: WMVP9Z
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 2

Long Description:
The ruins of the Frankfort Iron Works is next to the city park in Elberta. A sign to tell its story. The text reads:

“The Frankfort Iron Works, which originally occupied this site, closed in 1883, later becoming the property of the Toledo, Ann Arbor and North Michigan Railway, which later became the Ann Arbor Railway. James M. Adley’s vision led to construction of a railway from Toledo, Ohio to Lake Michigan, where rail car ferry ships could sail across the lake to Wisconsin ports. This culminated in the construction of a rail yard and ferry slips on this site. The former iron works forge building was converted into a roundhouse and shops. A turntable and switch rails were constructed in 1892.

“Benzie County’s transportation system had its beginnings on this site. The first railway, complete with a locally constructed steam locomotive was primarily used to transport hardwood to the Franklin Iron Works charcoal furnace for the manufacture of pig iron. Farmers quickly saw the railroad’s value, using it to ship hay, grain and other commodities to distant markets. Passengers were welcome to ride the rails for free – at their own risk.

“Edmund Chambers, assistant secretary of war during Lincoln’s administration, owned a 1,000 foot wide parcel of land separating the rail yard from the slips. Chambers refused to grant the railroad passage through his property, and as construction of the slips and rails neared completion he hired and armed a group of local men to prevent railway crews from crossing his land. Railroad official assembled a group of their own men, holding them quietly in nearby Copemish.

“Upon acquiring a court injunction the railroad moved in with 200 men and one steam shovel. Chambers’ small group, vastly outnumbered by the rail workers, avoided an outbreak of violence, save for Chambers’ display of outraged profanity.

“The rail connection was quickly completed following the standoff with Chambers, and the world’s first sea-going car ferry service began operation on November 24, 1892. The Ann Arbor Number 1 was also the first in U.S. Service with three screws, two aft and one in the bow, and was designed to run up on and break ice floes in its path. The Ann Arbor Number 2, launched on December 24, 1892, was immediately put into service. Many other ships were added to the fleet, which operated until 1980. The Ann Arbor Railway’s marine terminal facility remained in operation until 1983.”
Dates of Operation: Not listed

Website: Not listed

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