HISTORY OF THE “DUMMY”
(Submitted by Ivy Skeen Carver)
Between 1897 and 1910 one could buy a round-trip ticket from Ogden to Hot Springs for 30¢ on a train called “The Dummy”. It left Washington Blvd. and 19th Street to Hot Springs via North Ogden.
This “Dummy” train line was extended to Plain City via Harrisville, in 1909. There was quite a celebration; Royal Carver remembers his uncle, Jim Carver, standing on the platform around the engine, pulling the whistle and ringing the bell. One of the engineers was William Clark,the conductor was “Moonie” Holmes, and other engineers were Charles Tracy of Wilson Lane, Charles Lunt and others.
The “Dummy” would start grass fires along the line, with its twice a day trips. One fire was started in the grass on Charles Taylors home on the 4th of July, 1915, which burned his barn, sheds, pigpens the old sow and her brood. This disrupted the celebration in Plain City center as the ball team and other men went to Poplar Lane to fight the fire and save the house. The railroad was held negligent and they paid Charles Taylor $1500. After the fire in 1915, and before 1918, they electrified the “dummy” as a precaution to prevent other fires. One amusing tale of the Taylor fire was the Milkman, George Moyes, coming from the dairy with some of his cans full of sour milk and his using this milk along with water from the slough to pour on the fire. Along the Railroad line from Harrisville to Plain City there were several wooden platforms for loading and unloading freight. There were two newspapers, Morning and Evening, which the “dummy” brought out to be delivered by boys on horses such as Royal Carver, Vern Palmer, Edward Kerr and Charles (Chuck) Skeen and others. The train was so slow that kids would outrun the train on their farm horses and even on foot, running until they gave out. The “Dummy” worked as a freight engine. The roadbed was laid and rails set by residents along the line. They were paid by Script, which was good for a ride on the train.
More History of the “Dummy”
(Submitted by Irene Skeen)
In 1909 John Maw, Lyman Skeen and Mr. Eccles, then head of Utah-Idaho Railroad company, negotiated for a railroad to Plain City. On Nov. 15, 1909, the first railroad was built into Plain City.
A big celebration was held in the adobe school, on the north east corner of the town square.
The tracks came along the side of the road through Harrisville and down Plain City to the cemetery, then north to the square. This railroad was used for produce, beet hauling, lumber, coal and transportation. It was known as the “Dummy” by everybody in Plain City. It was one car pulled with the engine. The inside had a coal stove and kerosene lamps. The car was divided by a partition; one end for the men and the other for ladies. However, it was not restricted as such. A foggy morning, in 1915, as they were on their way to Ogden and traveling on the old Harrisville road, the “Dummy” ran head on into an engine pulling railroad cars full of coal. Naturally, everyone was thrown from their seats and some were injured, however, not seriously.
There were two houses nearby where the people went to keep warm. The ladies at the homes bandaged the cuts, where needed, and the people were returned to their~homes in bobsleighs. Most of the passengers were students going to Weber Academy or to Ogden High School. The “Dummy” stopped at the depot located about one-half block west of the Post Office on 24th Street and the passengers walked to their destinations or to Washington Blvd and caught a city streetcar.
Merlin Englands grandfather, his mothers father, had a store in Logan. Mrs Ellen England persuaded her husband to go into the business in Plain City. The store was located west of the England home. Mr. England left for a L.D.S. Mission early in 1896, and left the store, coal-yard and farm for Mrs. England to supervise. Merlin England was 3 months at that time.