Station: Herron, MI
Herron was a station on the Boyne City, Gaylord & Alpena railroad in central Alpena County. It was founded around 1920. The town was named after a local farming family.
On October 30, 1952, a gas explosion in a shaft at a gold prospect mine in Herron killed five persons.
Notes about Herron from Rootsweb.com, History of Herron, a French Community by Ruth Ann Cochrane:
THE B. C. G. & A. RAILROAD
The B. C. G. & A. Railroad was incorporated in 1905. Its namesake included the cities of Boyne City, Gaylord and Alpena. Construction began in Boyne City and was completed as far as Gaylord.
Construction halted until August 29, 1912 when it was resumed west from Alpena and east from Gaylord. W. H. White of the White Brothers Company, a Boyne City logging company, was President of the B. C. G. & A. Railroad. Since he held vast logging interests in Otsego and Montmorency Counties, he was eager to extend the rails through the lands of opportunity. He was also interested in purchasing the Gilchrist Lumber Mill in Alpena for a sawmill for eastern lumbering operations. Because the area which the rail was to serve was growing agriculturally and industrially and contained large tracts of standing timber, it was gratifying to the promoters. Freight and passenger outlook looked good as it was the only east-west railroad, and it connected the major north-south railroads such as the D. & M., Michigan Central, and Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroads.
However, many problems arose with securing right of ways from property owners and other railroads. In spite of the ups and downs, only 25 miles of track were left to lay between the eastern and western extremities by October 1913. The completion of the last 25 miles was delayed as the result of the B. C. G. & A. Railroad and the interests of the White Brothers going into the receivership of the Michigan Trust Company in 1914. In 1917, through the efforts of Irwin Canfield, an Alpena lawyer, a bond issue of $800,000, was established t pay off the account and to finish railroad construction.
After five years of ups and downs, the B. C. G. & A finally connected the cities of Boyne City and Alpena. At 5:00 P.M., September 26, 1917, the “steel gang” on the extension of the railroad placed the last rail in position. The eastern and western ends were united making a continuous track from Lake Michigan waters at Boyne City to Lake Huron in Alpena. A work train was soon sent out and work commenced reballasting and putting it in condition over its entire length.
December 16, 1918, the first through passenger train left Boyne City at 11:45 A.M. and arrived in Alpena t 6:00 P.M. At 8:55 A.M., a train left Alpena and arrived in Boyne City at 8:00 P.M. This definitely marked a new epoch in northern Michigan rail transportation.
The Alpena News reported that between 20 and 25 passengers made the first trip from Alpena. Most of them were woodsmen bound for various lumber camps. Of those on board were Circuit Judge Frank Emerick, Circuit Court Stenographer, A. H. Briggs, and attorney Irwin S. Canfield who were bound for Atlanta on court business. A. Fortier, Superintendent of the Loud Lumbering operations, Robert Rayburn of the Island Mill Lumber Company, and Ira Simmons, a traveling salesman, were also among the first passengers.
Local shippers held a dinner at the Elk’s Club in honor of B. C. G. & A. officials on December 20, 1918. A get acquainted session set the ground for future business.
The B. C. G. & A. ended its services east of Atlanta in March of 1931. Local representatives said the reason for discontinuance was that the tracks and right of was were overflowed when the level of the reservoir dam of the Alpena Power Company was raised March 15th. By this date, the major lumbering operations had ended, and automobiles were competing with passenger service. The agricultural and industrial products could not support the railroad. Therefore, the tracks were not raised for continued service.
One of the stations along the B. C. G. & A. was located in Herron. The tracks ran between Martin’s store and Domke’s elevator and store. Hay, cattle, peas, wool, logs, pulpwood, excelsior, railroad ties, cream, potatoes, cedar posts, grain, and mail were shipped out from Herron. Coal came in by the carload and was piled near Martin’s store. Customers would come there to buy their coal. Arlington Martin recalls delivering coal to the Wilson Township Schools with a truck made from a 1923 Dodge touring car.
There was a siding near Martin’s store. Cars were switched onto it while being loaded. A boxcar was placed near the tracks to be used for storage of goods ordered until pick up by the purchaser. The boxcar was approximately 35’ X 9’, and its remains can still be seen near Domke’s elevator.
The B. C. G. & A. began purchasing right of way in the Herron area in December 1912. Men from the area helped clear the grade and blow the stumps. The area residents recall several railroad employees: Roy Smith was a conductor. Moses Sauve was a section boss. Harry Holloway watched the track. Other names associated with the railroad were Joseph Zybtowski, Frank Zybtowski, Carl Christopherson and Mr. Crick.
Many men from the area worked in Camp 4 and Camp 6 which were built by the White Brothers along the railroad. The B. C. G. & A. was also known as the “White Road” since it serviced many of their camps.
The train schedule for Herron is shown on the following B. C. G. & A. time table. It went into effect on December 15, 1918. It appeared in The Boyne Citizen ON December 11, 1918.