The tracks and grades around Virgil, the former crossing of the Grand Trunk and Pere Marquette on the southwest corner of Pearl Lake in Sheridan, were our playground growing up. We stretched a lot of pennies on the GT rails. I spent hours standing on the GT right of way, trying to hit ballast stones over a farm lane south of the tracks with a (beat up) baseball bat. That was before the Big L Lumber was built. Later, as a teenager, I often rode a small motorcycle up the PM grade to play on Colby Ranch (Stanton State Game Area) and to our high school, just south of Stanton. I collected a business card from the GT Captain of Investigation for riding on the shoulder of the GT grade to get to the PM grade. I stopped doing that, but someone else continued, prompting another threatening visit. My dad showed him the workings of my Honda's transmission all over the garage floor, explaining that they had been their for months, and If I didn't do something about it soon, he would give me a lot more grief than the railroad could. Ah, memories...
Things have certainly changed at Virgil. Several more houses have sprung up along the old rail lines and I now own the garage my dad built. The Honda and the Grand Trunk are long gone, and I can ride my bicycle on the old GT and PM grades (now streets) around the lake all I want.
1976 photo looking East from Virgil, at the yard limits. Sheridan GT Depot, elevator, Sheridan Lumber and Carnation plant are in the background. Main on left, siding on right, spur into Big L Lumber visible leaving the siding.
Photo taken 15 minutes ago (3/11/2015), looking East from near Virgil. Big L is still going strong (spur started near mailbox). Carnation plant is still barely standing (hidden from view by the pine trees), but is slated for demolition later this year. Elevator was torn down a few years ago. Depot was torn down in 1979 (more photos coming soon Trai Nut).
« Back to index