During preliminary research it was discovered that a strange tale existed surrounding
the pier. In the early 1900's a narrow gauge railroad had been constructed across the island,
which terminated at the end of the pier. Local folklore indicated that a Shay locomotive had
either been driven off the end of the pier into Lake Huron, or had been blown up with dynamite
while still on the pier. This local mystery has provided a research question to be answered by
this project. The research team has set out to either prove, or disprove the legend of the Shay
and the manner in which the locomotive met its demise.
Logging on the island reached its prime around the turn of the century and from 1900 to
the 1930's three narrow gauge trains delivered logs from the interior to the mills in Sand Bay. In
addition to Bett’s mill, Sutter's mill operated at Sand Bay during this time. These mills produced,
amongst other wooden products, hardwood flooring, shiplap, and railroad ties. It was reported
that the Sutter mill burned down in 1918 along with many houses and over 400 acres on the
island. The mill was subsequently rebuilt at the site incorporating a circular saw into its
operation, which was more efficient than the previous band saw. However, in spite of this technological advance, the ruinous fire marked the beginning of the end for lumbering on the
island (page 7, Partial History of Sand Bay, Bois Blanc Island by George Dye).
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