Hoosier Slide

THANK YOU TO MY FRIEND: Josh McIntyre, (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP3v92eXNeiTB9c7F_CmSow) who painstakingly typed this all in from archives at the Michigan City Lighthouse Museum.

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This 1910 panoramic photo was taken from the top of Hoosier Slide by Haines Photo Company of Conneaut, Ohio. It is my all-time favorite historical photo of Michigan City. This large panoramic photo hangs in the industrial room at the Old Lighthouse Museum and measures around 5 feet wide. The museum opens on April 1st for its 49th season. If you are interested in volunteering or internship opportunities, please feel free to contact me or the museum directly. We could always use more help. Thank you!

Note: If you are using a computer or the Facebook app on your phone (not the browser) you should be able to move the picture around with your mouse, fingers, or by moving your phone around to see the 360-degree effect. It might take a few seconds to load properly. This is a very long read, but it's well worth it. It's the best story about the Hoosier Slide I have ever read, especially since it was told by a person who actually spent most of his early life working on the Hoosier Slide. This story was typed up from the Old Lighthouse Museum archives. There are TWO stories here.

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I have been asked to tell something about Hoosier Slide. There was a time when these two words were understood by all of the folks who lived in Michigan City or those who were personally acquainted with the city and its most famous landmark, Hoosier Slide, for the latter was a huge, barren pile of sand which was cast up over the years to come to rest along the west bank of Trail Creek where it emptied into Lake Michigan, to become Michigan City's harbor. Although it was a part of the dune chain, it was unique in that it was wholly without vegetation, except for a couple of small trees which were gnarled and barren, as they had lost their struggle for life against the blasting given them by the winds which carried the sharp grains of sand. Hoosier Slide may have been captured by vegetation and held stationary during periods of its existence but it was a shifting dune when I first knew it at the turn of the century.

Why should I be asked to write about Hoosier Slide. Perhaps because there are few now living who had an intimate contact with it as I had, and not too many others who even remember it at all. I was born in Michigan City almost seventy years ago. My birthplace was on Franklin Street between Fourth and Fifth Streets, and there had been a day before I arrived here, and before the lower part of the downtown section had been built up, when high winds out of the northwest would carry the sand from the big dune far to the south of my birthplace. My memory takes me back to the days when we used it as a slide in the winter as well as in the summer. We used hand-fashioned sheets of metal gathered from the nearby car factory, with here and there a fairly good toboggan made of wood. The main idea was to get something which would slide and on which we could ride. There always seemed to be human beings here and there on its slopes and top during all seasons of the year.

In the summer when little passenger boats came over from Chicago, such as the old Taylor and the early Waite, a climb up the side of old Hoosier was a must on the part of most visitors who came over to Michigan City for the day's outing. From the decks of these little boats they could view the bare sand mountain from far out in the lake. It was also a guide to their captains as well as to the captains of the great many freight boats which entered the little town's harbor dailyโ€”from the days of the sail down to those of steam. Old Baldy, as some of the local commercial fishermen called the 'slide', served as a guiding beacon whenever they happened to be caught out in the lake in heavy seas and the very high wind-produced waves.

As the years went on, the two railroads entering Michigan City from the south, the Monon and the Lake Erie and Western used old Hoosier to lure revenue and passengers from down state. Excursions from Peru, Indianapolis, Lafayette and all of the other smaller towns along these lines brought many people to see Hoosier Slide and the great blue inland seas of Lake Michigan. There were times when the enterprising local merchants would arrange for wedding rites to be performed on the top of the slide. Merchandise and cash awards were given to some couples who might be willing to act as the principals in such an event. The old Michigan Central Railroad got into the act either by running excursions from Joliet or by having the train porters and crews point out to its passengers going between New York and Chicago to this natural wonder of the area. Some people from afar who passed through in the winter time often inquired of the railroad men how such a big pile of snow got there.

I have so far rather sketchily set forth one phase of Hoosier Slide's history by outlining the more pleasurable use to which it was put. I now come to the other phaseโ€”its removal and the commercial enterprise which that entailed. In telling of this I will have to say that this was started by my father, the late William B. Manny. Back in the late 1890's he was the local agent for the Monon Railroad. That railroad had built a switch track from its main lines, which was on the southerly side of the Michigan Central Railroad's main line, across such main line in order to serve the lumber shipping interests which had constructed docks along the west bank of the harbor. There the boats discharged their cargoes of lumber brought down the lake from upper Michigan. This lumber was then loaded into freight cars to be hauled downstate or elsewhere. It might be said at this point that the lumber activity extended all up and down both sides of the harbor as far as Seventh Street. But in what I am setting down herein I am largely thinking of the particular activity along the short west bank to which the Monon's switch tracks extended. Along about that time there would be a call from some Monon agent downstate stating that a customer there wanted a carload of Michigan City sand. At first a car would be placed on this particular switch track which ran alongside the eastern slope of the Hoosier Slide and a 'dockwalloper' would be hired to load the car and the loading would be done with a wheelbarrow, some planks, a few wooden 'horses' and a shovel. In those days there were probably a hundred or more dockwallopers who handled the cargoes from the incoming boatsโ€”mostly lumber but corn sometimes, and large amounts of salt.

I digress for the moment to say that I was always told that in an earlier day a small glass factory of sorts had been built on the south bank of Hoosier Slide. Glass factories had been springing up in min-Indiana in Muncie, Elwood and Kokomo, being attracted there largely by the finding of large supplies of natural gas. It must have been the large supply of glass making sand which caused the plant to be built here. However, it soon developed that it was easier to convey the sand than it was the other essentials to the manufacture of glass and the project at Michigan City was abandoned. I suppose it was at this time, too, that the downstate glass folks became interested in getting their sand from Michigan City.

My first recollection of watching sand loaded was when I was five or six years old. Father had caused a siding to be built off the tracks leading down to the lumber handling operation from which sand could be handled without interfering with the lumber freight cars. At first an overhead trestle on which a narrow gauge set of tracks were placed and little dump cars used to handle the sand from the bank to the car. This arrangement took care of the loading of the open-type, or gondola freight cars. Alongside this the wheelbarrow and plank method was used to load the box cars. One problem we had with the dump cars was that, although they were chained down over the weekends, kids would break the locks and use the little cars to coast down the narrow gauge tracks. (You will note that I have said โ€œweโ€) I guess this is because I even then pictured myself as being a part of the sand business in which I would be engaged for many years to follow. I recall that when I visited this spot one Sunday afternoon with my father we arrived just in time to see one of these cars loaded with boys come barging down the trestle and across its end to fall on the other side of the freight tracks below. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but it was not long thereafter before this method was given up and open top cars were loaded the same as the closed one, it being necessary to have horses high enough to carry the planks on top of the gondolas. Walking over a ten or twelve inch wide plank out into a small space, wheeling a barrow with a near-ton of sand, required far more balance than strength. These 'barrow's developed, too, as time went on. Wheels were specially cast and the bodies were raised with a sheet metal 'sideboard', much time being spent in the balancing. The shovels, too, were developed into what was known as a โ€œsand scoop special.โ€ The metal was very light weight and the edge soon became as sharp as a cutting tool.

Getting back to the Sunday dump car incident, there was another day and another incident which turned out far differently. This was during a particularly dry spell when the sand loosened from above came cascading down and caught one of the loaders, covering him with tons of sand from which he could not be dug out before his life had been smothered away. Time went on and the sand pit tracks circled around the northeast corner of the hill and down along its north side facing the lake. Between these rails and the lake, as soon as the dune was taken away and an area was cleared off, there sprang up some little shacks in which the sand pit loaders lived, either batching it or living with their families. Two or three of these buildings took on enough substance to almost be called houses. It was a hard life, but one seemingly enjoyed be these people. The pay was good and they had their independence, loading their assigned cars at much the time they wished between the hours of switching.

As a youngster it often fell to me to have to go to the pit and take the car numbers. At times the high winds would close the pit by blowing the drifting sand across the rails so the switching crews could not reach the loaded cars. After rather high piles and been cast up along the rails and shoveled into banks several feet high on either side, three and four feet of sand would have to be dug out by hand, and this required a fairly large crew of men. When more men than the regular loaders were needed for this task it was up to me to go along Franklin Street at its north end saloons and rout out a crew of dockwallopers who were loafing there at the time. That task I enjoyed because I had a sense of bossing a job, and getting it done even though actually the work was headed by an old timer who was both head leader and boss as well. The task I liked the least was facing the wintry blasts with the cutting sand blowing into my face. There was no glamour in that lonely job.

So the years went on and many changes took place. When I came back from college in 1912 I took over on my own. My father had divorced himself from his activities outside of his railroad job for in that he had become a district freight agent which took him away from Michigan City a part of his time. During the years another sand operation had been established on the south side of Hoosier Slide by the Pinkston Sand Company, served by the Michigan Central RR. Then I faced competition. Competition, too, had arisen and continued being added to after I took over, easterly along that railroad, but those operations at the moment devoted themselves to serving the building trade in Chicago, while Pinkerton and ourselves looked after the glass and foundry needs.

Mr. S.J. Taylor, in the accounting department at the Haskell & Barker Car Co., was one of the principal owners and Hiram Pinkston lent his name and operated the Pinkston Pit. In 1906 my father had incorporated the Hoosier Slide Sand Co., and it was under that name that we moved our part of Hoosier Slide out of Michigan City. The old method of wheelbarrow loading was still used until a year or two after I went into the business full time; we being the first to buy a small locomotive crane for the loading on Hoosier Slide. This machine operated on a second set of rails. As time went on I tried out methods of using a machine run by electricity which would throw the sand back into the ends of the box cars. The crane and such machine eliminated much of the old man power. I think some of these changes were prompted by the fact that the aging sand loaders were no longer able to handle the sand as they had done in their earlier years when it was not uncommon for one loader to handle as much as sixty or seventy tons of sand in a day, a somewhat long day, I should probably add.

Where did all of this sand go? Two of the largest users of it were Ball Brothers of Muncie, Indiana, the manufactures of the old glass fruit jars which were then so much a part of our economy, and the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. at its Kokomo, Indiana, plate glass factory. The sand served a different purpose in these two plants. Ball Brothers melted it up, along with an amount of pure silica sand from the Ottawa, Illinois district. The main problem in this operation was the fact that Michigan City sand was not pure silica. The traces in it of iron, clay and other elements making up the other five or six percent, and particularly the variations which might arise from day to day in these, made the control of the 'melt' at Ball Brothers somewhat difficult. Temperature settings for the melting of one batch might not be right for the next. I should say at this point that although sand is still being shipped from Michigan City, Ball Brothers have long since used only the Ottawa sand in its operations at Muncie.

The use at the Pittsburgh Glass Company was something else. There the sand was used in one of the plate glass grinding operations. The first grinding was done with emery; the second with Michigan City sand and the last with rogue. As these abrasive materials were sluiced off from the plant a gigantic hill was created at Kokomo. After many years it grew to such proportions as to become a problem. The plant did not know what to do with it, and what was to follow. Naturally the bulk of all of the sand that was shipped to the plant remained there even though it became a flour-like substance. I suggested that it be shipped over to Muncie and used in the manufacture of glass, but the presence of the powdered emery and rogue made this impracticable.

There was a second glass plant at Muncie. Hemingray Glass, which made those old time glass insinuators which were used on the telephone poles across the land to carry the wires, and which were the favorite target for the small boy's slingshot, gun, or throwing arm. This plant used about a carload of sand a day. Ball Brothers about four cars and Pittsburgh Glass six or seven. Another was use was in the making of cores in iron foundries. The advent of the automobile, the development of farm machinery, the making of steam and hot water radiators for the home, and other items which required a foundry product, made an ever increasing demand for Michigan City sand. Shipments were made to far away as places such as Westfield, Massachusetts and a small quantity has been shipped clear to Mexico. Insofar as the sand business was concerned it was well that Michigan City sand was to become known largely as a superior core sand, for the glass requirement became a thing of the past. Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. closed its Kokomo plant. (I might add that it did finally find a solution to its man-made pile of sand for it sold the acreage it covered to the city for a cemetery.) Ball Brothers turned to using the Ottawa sand only and Hemingray stopped the manufacture of the green glass insulators. These are no longer seen on poles across the country.

Sand for insulators and glass fruit jars became a part of the product itself. Sand in the foundry was not consumed. It was mixed with other ingredients, principally core oil, and banked into a form around which the metal was poured to make a hollow casting. The grain from Michigan City sand was particularly well suited for this use, leaving a porous mass which vented gases freely, a very necessary thing in cores. Cores once used become waste just like sand used for abrasive purposes. There were other uses for Michigan City sand. Large amounts were used by the railroads which put supplies of it in their locomotives to sand the rails. Much, too, was used in the building industry, especially in the Chicago area, but that latter was lost to the sand-sucking boats which were built to suck sand up from the bottom of Lake Michigan and deliver it directly to the docks in that city. There were two other quite small demands for this sand from Michigan City, one for making singing sand beaches at inland towns in Indiana, where there were lakes and municipal bathing beaches. Another from a private golf course down near Kentland, Indiana. In that case the famous Hoosier humorist, George Ade would send an order in his own writing, and signed by him. Perhaps the period of greatest demand fell around the first World War years, and carrying over into the early 1920s. By this latter time, me with the Pinkston Sand Co. had entirely cleared away the Hoosier Slide, and we had moved our lakefront operations to the west on dune land owned by the Zorn family.

Then, one day we, as well as the Pinkston Sand Co., were approached by the Northern Indiana Public Service Co to sell our leveled Hoosier Slide property. When this sale was made the building of the present NIPSCO power generating station was begun, on the site of the highest and largest sand mountain in the areaโ€”Hoosier Slide. Statements have been made that approximately thirty cars of sand per day, on an average, were shipped from Hoosier Slide over a period of thirty years. At fifty tons per car and three hundred shipping days per year over a thirty year period, that would amount to thirteen and a half million tons. I personally feel that that that is an exaggerated figure but I also know that Hoosier Slide was a vast mountain of water-ground, wind-blown lake sand and the loading and shipping was nearly a life long assignment for numerous people and an important source of freight revenue to several railroads. Lowering the period to twenty years would make the tonnage nine million which I would estimate to be more accurate.

In conclusion, I perhaps should say that there may be two questions I have left unanswered. One is how Hoosier Slide got its name, and to this I must answer that I do not know. The other is as to how it came to be. Naturally I have no way of knowing, but my theory has always been that it was the result of the blowing of the sand from along the shoreline, piling layer upon layer as the years went by. The principal evidence of this was that a cross-section of the dune revealed a stratified structure, one layer being somewhat courser, or finer, than the next. This seemed to indicate that one wind was strong enough to have carried the heavier grains, and the next, a lighter wind, only carries the smaller grains. This theory of mine seemed to me to have been proved a little more conclusively when one day in our sand operations we had reached a point in our loading where we were taking the sand down close to water level in an area underneath what had been the highest point of Hoosier Slide. Our locomotive crane's bucket struck a spot where in an area about twenty feet square we came on a mass of dark reddish colored sand which contained human bones. This I felt had been a very old burial ground long before Hoosier Slide had ever come into being. The bones were turned over to the Medical Society. The skeletons were pretty well broken up but there was a part of a skull of a child about fourteen years old.

The stacks of the NISCO power station now rise as sentinels and land-marks where Hoosier Slide towered much higher than the tree tallest mounts in what is now Indiana Dunes State Park or anywhere along the southeastern shore of the lake. Only โ€œSleeping Bear Mountainโ€ to the north in Leelanau County, Michigan reaches to a height of over 400 feet. A dune-like ridge of black bituminous coal points toward the former pinnacle of Hoosier Slide. This reserve supply of fuel will be pulverized much finer than grains of sand and burned like gas in furnaces that will deliver part of their heat to vaporize treated lake water and produce high-pressure steam to spin turbo-generators for an output of electricity to illuminate our homes and operate the motors, appliances and luxurious gadgets of our time.

And Hoosier Slide, huge mountain of sand at our harbor entrance when the twentieth century arrived, is a memory, converted into glass jars, sand lime brick, concrete and foundry cores by the labors and ingenuity of man in pursuit of a better life. Perhaps this famous sentinel of Michigan City should have been preserved. This could only have been accomplished by planting of trees and vegetation capable of taking root and capture it from being shifted by the strong winds, and fencing it in to keep people from climbing up its steep sides. Its removal eliminated the nuisance of the sand blowing down Wabash and Franklin Streets during heavy โ€œblowsโ€ from across the lake. - ๐‚๐š๐ซ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ ๐‡. ๐Œ๐š๐ง๐ง๐ฒ.

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The History of the Hoosier Slide. Every once in a while I have been asked to tell something about Hoosier Slide as I remember it. It's now only a memory to most of us, but for the benefit of those who are too young to remember it at all. It was a large mound of almost pure sand; a giant dune; a landmark quite famous in its day, and now long since hauled away in freight cars to cities near and far (even as far away as old Mexico), where it had important industrial uses in making glass jars, such as the Mason ones used by our mothers in canning fruit and vegetables, grinding plate glass, and particularly in the foundry. Now where it once so proudly stood is the city's electric generating plant of the Northern Indiana Public Service Co.

I suppose I am about as well qualified to tell its story as anyone. In telling it I mean to confine my remarks as much as possible to what happened to it, and around it, during my own lifetime. As to be qualified I mention two of these qualifications. First I was born only a few blocks away from it, on the west side of Franklin Street, and the south half of the block between Fourth and Fifth Streets. I have been told that this birth took place in the upstairs of a little building, occupied on the ground on the ground floor by Mr. Woodsen's Drug Store, which was being moved away to make room for a larger two story brick structure. 'Bee' Woodeen, as my elders called the kindly druggist. The father of Elva Woodsen Higley of this city, used to keep a large record book into which the local doctors would enter the births of the ones they brought into this world. My birth was registered therein as 'Baby Manny'. Later the Carter Hugh was added, and at some time this record was taken over by the city's health department. My birth date was August 19th, 1891, and the doctor who delivered me was Dr. Mullen, father of the late attorney T.C. Mullen.

Second, my father started sand from Hoosier Slide about the time I was born, or possibly a little before. In any case, as a very small youngster, I often accompanied him as he visited the 'pits' where the digging and shipping were done. The sand business started in this way. The Monon Railroad, of which my father was the local agent, needed sand for its engines for one thing. Then, as foundries and glass factories grew up downstate, these firms needing sand in their manufacturing operations would arrange, largely thru the railroad, to have its sand loaded into cars and shipped to them. At the outset, and for years thereafter, the cost of the loading of this sand was added to the freight bill as a 'loading charge' collectible, among with the freight charges at destination. Besides the industries on the Monon rails, the demand grew from near and far. The man I was named after, Oliver Clinton Carter, was the General Freight Agent of the Monon, and my father's closest friend. In the early days, and somewhat before the Interstate Commerce Commission of the Federal Government had been established, Mr. Carter virtually made his own rates. The Monon enjoyed an enviable position in that it extended from the top to the bottom of Indiana. Most of the east-west lines crossed it at one point or another. Lets just take three of these roads for example; the New York Central crossing at Otis, the Pennsylvania at Wanatah and the Baltimore & Ohio at Alida. An eastern sand user might well be served directly, or otherwise, by all three railroads. Mr. Carter would then make a 'deal', so to speak, with the road which would accept the smallest percentage of the through rate; a rate, and a percentage of which lay largely up to him. Thus, percentage-wise, the Monon got the best part of the cut. The Monon sometimes hauled the sand only 10-30 miles, while the connecting lines hauled it many, many more miles. After all, what's so bad about having a little fellow come out on top?

But I have digressed, or gotten off my track, railroad speaking, and as I am afraid I may do herein. Anyway, to get back, I recall that on one Sunday I went over to the sand pit with my father. At that time there had been a short spur-track running along the east end of the hill. A wooden trestle had been built extending from the pit down over the railroad tracks where the freight cars to be loaded with sand were 'spotted'. A narrow gauge track had been laid atop this trestle, and across it would run little dump cars which were loaded with sand by the pit men, and were moved down by gravity to a point over the freight car and their contents would be dumped. A sand loader would ride the little car down and apply a brake at the right time in order to stop the dump car from going off the end. When the pit was not in operation, as it was not, on this particular Sunday, the dump car would be chained to its rails and padlocked to keep it from being tampered with.

That day some kids had evidently broken the lock, had pushed the car up to its highest point, and were riding it downhill as we arrived. Probably seeing us scared them for they piled off down near the end of the track, and the car went plummeting off the end. The boys, fortunately, were unhurt for they quickly ran away, probably never trying that sort of joyride again. However, not long after this incident, this method was dropped. Thereafter the loading was done with wheelbarrows over a long 12 inch wide plank. These planks extended from the hill out over the top of the gondola or open freight car, or into the floor of the box cars. In the first case, tall saw horses had to be used to help span part of the distance from the hill to the car. The sand loaders were very adept, and quite agile in this loading operation. They developed their own type of wheelbarrow with high added sides in order to get a good load in them, and somewhere along the line, special wheels were cast in the foundries here which helped make a perfect balance. Thus it became quite a sight to see a sand loader wheeling out almost a ton of sand at a time somewhat reminding one of the tight wire performers in a circus riding a bicycle across its span with such extra fine balance. I got so I could wheel one out into a box car without running off the plank and dumping it, and its contents, including myself, into the sand below. I might add that the high wire act, that of loading the gondola and coal car I left to the experts.

I also recall that one day during the week, and at this same point in the hill a bank cave-in buried one of our men, and he was dead before his fellow workers could dig him out. It was our first sad fatality, and I am glad to report that it was the last. It seemed that on the day of this accident, which was in the early spring, our loader had had his back to the hill whereas he should have been facing it all set to jump away if a slide occurred. These slides came as the spring thaws arrived which broke up the sometimes deep frozen crust which was formed during the winter months. Sometimes, and most often, these slides were in the form of what we called 'pumpkins'; huge boulder-like chunks of frozen sand, which came rolling down with great force.

Many years after the loss of one of our men which I have just mentioned, I arrived at the pit to take the numbers of the cars, just as one of the huge hunks of frozen sand came down and caught one of our men and threw him against one of the handles of his wheelbarrow. He was in great pain and I thought he might have suffered a leg fracture. While the other men made him as comfortable as they could, I hurried in to town, and over to Earl's Livery Stable, at Michigan and Washington Streets, where I got a horse and buggy. I got back to the pit and with considerable effort we got the fellow into the rig, and I drove him to Dr. Kerrigan's office, in his home, just south of the blacksmith's shop at the corner of 4th Street and Washington. There a couple of men from the shop moved our man into the doctor's office. He was crying out in broken English and German. Some years before this happened, Dr. Kerrigan had come to town with his family to take over the practice of Dr. Mullen. Dr Kerrigan's family, besides his wife, consisted of his children, John, Lee, Paul, Lucille, and Grace, and it was to become one of the leading families in Michigan City.

The name of the big German-born loader who was injured that day I will not mention herein, but I imagine his family, like himself, have long departed this world. He loved his native Germany, and was an ardent pro-German at the outbreak of World War I. This was quite natural, and also applied to most of our German-born citizenry as well as the very young children who came here at, or near, birth. Before we got into this war, there were a number of demonstrations in support of Germany's cause. I recall one particular one which a large benefit dance was held at the old dancing pavilion then situated across park drive to the south of the of the Peristyle on the Monon RR property; the proceeds going to hospitalized German soldiers.

In mentioning all this explains why I was not particularly surprised when I was called on the telephone one evening by the police who asked me to meet them down at the Starland Theatre, at Franklin Street near Fifth. They quickly had explained to me that one of our men was creating a disturbance out in front of the theatre, as reported to them by its management. I jumped in my car and arrived just as a couple of police officers were cutting across Franklin Street at this point. There we found our German sand loader waving his hands in the air and shouting out โ€œDeutschland Uber Alles!โ€ The sign out front told of the German war news-reels which were being shown inside, which included much footage of the Kaiser himself. The police grabbed the German by his arms, and by this time he had seen me. He offered no resistance, and I was able to have the policemen turn the fellow over to me on my promise that he would not make any more trouble, and that I would take him home. They were quite understanding so I got my Deutschland Uber Alles pal off across town and into his home.

As I think I said at the start, and if I did not, I want you to understand that in telling the story of Hoosier Slide I will weave things in things which I feel were somewhat related to it. Its personality was, I feel, a somewhat real thing, and it always seemed to me to have been closely connected with its surroundings, the freight boats, the harbor, the shacks along its foot to the north, its famous Snarltown at its southern foot, the piles of lumber, the storms that blew its sand way up into town or into the bend of the harbor near it, and many other things. The shacks I have just mentioned were first largely built by men who had lived on the west side of town near the lake. They had โ€œborrowedโ€ enough lumber from the car factory and elsewhere to throw up these little buildings; some of them large enough to house their families. Here they kept their little boats and went out to fish whenever the weather was right. As time went on my father built some rather good little houses which we rented to the sand pit men.

The sand I have just explained that was blown around became almost a menace, especially during dry spells, and during high northwest winds. Whenever I feel that we might have been despoilers in digging and shipping Hoosier Slide away I comfort myself by thinking that really we were doing the city a good favor. I have just mentioned, too, Snarltown. Where it received this name I do not know, but I think the word is quite descriptive of the area. I suppose in its early days it had also been squatted on, but by the time I was old enough to know a lot of things my folks wish I had not, Snarltown had become our towns red light district, not overlooking its somewhat lesser, and tougher competitor, The Patch, over on the other side of town.

Before I can remember I have been told that there was a small glass manufacturing plant built on the Snarltown side of the hill, but it had not remained in business very long. However, in my memory, there were a couple of other enterprises at the foot of Hoosier Slide between it and the harbor. One was a building which housed the office of the Greer-Wilkinson Lumber, a firm that had opened a branch here to handle the lumber it shipped down from northern Michigan. At that time much lumber was piled quite high around it. I think that Mr. Albert Henry came to town to manage the affairs of that company here and after the movement of lumber to this port ceased by reason of the fact that the lumber had been cut away up north, he stayed on to start the present Henry Lumber Co., which has remained a family affair during these many years. Down to the south of this operation of Greer-Wilkinson wash Sash Door, Window and Moulding factory was built. How long it operated I do not remember, but I think that at an early date it closed up shop at that site and a new building was erected on the north side of E. 2nd Street, between Spring and Pine Streets.

I do remember that during the Spanish American War, and when I was so small that I could not run around by myself, this building burned one day, and that this was one of the spectacular fires of my childhood. I do remember, living up on E. 6thStreet that I was allowed to go to either Spring or Pine Street and watch the fire from there, and that I spent most of my time going back and forth, hoping that I could see more on one street than I could on the other, but really only seeing a lot of smoke from either point. While I was still quite young there were still huge piles of lumber along the harbor all the way up as far as the lumber boats could go, but those on the west bank of the harbor were going fast, and those along the south bank, just east of the bend, were no more, for at this latter spot the dockage had been taken over by the passenger boat line.

This business started at a very early year, certainly before I was born, because I do not remember the Chief Justice Waite, a side-wheeler, that is pictured in one of the old photographs with Hoosier Slide as its background. In this particular photograph, there is a sign that was painted on the dock across the harbor at its bend at that point, which would be down below the lighthouse. It read: Eat Lowney's Candy and Be Happy. This sign I do remember so it must have been there after the old side-wheeler stopped coming into our port. Maybe this passenger boat was only an occasional visitor here and happened to be in the day this photograph was taken. I believe that this particular photograph was one of a fine series which were made by a prominent resident of the city, Mr. Edward F. Bailey. As I have said, I think these photographs, which were very excellent ones, were found not too many years ago by George Trask, who had represented Mr. Bailey in a clothing operation he carried on after he had moved away from here.

The first passenger boat I can remember was what we called the 'Tub' Taylor, the 'Tub' naturally indicating the size of the boat. When I was still quite small, probably 7 or 8 years old I went to Chicago on her one morning with my mother; the Taylor making a round trip to Chicago daily. The day I remember among the passengers was a colored mother and her small twin sons, Bryan and McKinley. This family lived down in Snarltown, and several years thereafter, I remember one of the boys, in hopping a freight near his home fell and had one leg cut off. It was very rough the day we were with this little group, and we were all very seasick. Somewhere along the line there was a somewhat larger boat called the R.J. Gordon. The Soo City came here too. Perhaps the boat that really started the excursion business was the Indianapolis. Then there was the Mary, the Roosevelt and the United States, and for one summer not too many years ago the City of Grand Rapids, and that ended that business. Having told about the candy advertising sign on the dock I should like to say that the Chicago theatre attending folk in those days were always treated to the spiel the candy 'butcher's' made between acts, calling out to all to buy Lowney's Candy.

Sometime early in our own sand business a competitor, the Pinkston Sand Co., started to take sand from the south side of Hoosier Slide. This company was owned by Samuel J. Taylor. For many years thereafter we raced to see which outfit could reach the peak of the hill first. Our sand business was incorporated as the Hoosier Slide Sand Company in 1906. Our business relationship with Pinkston Sand remained a friendly one for many, many years. We little knew when we were the only ones in this business that it would not be long before we would have many other competitors who wanted the open pits east of the city along the Michigan Central. At the start of their business was largely the building trade in Chicago, a market we had never been interested in.

I have mentioned before some of the uses of our sand in certain manufacturing. I have mentioned the Mason jar, which incidentally made great fortunes for the Ball Brothers of Muncie, Indiana. For years we shipped about four to six boxcar loads of sand a working day to their plant. Near it, at Muncie, was a plant called the Hemingray Glass Co., which manufactured what were known as green glass insulators. These were used on telephone and telegraph poles all over the world. When I was a boy, we kids used to spend hours throwing rocks at these insulators, but I never remember that we ever broke one. We were either pretty poor shots or they were a very tough product. This type of insulator ceased to be used, at least in this country, years ago, and the Hemingray Glass Co. closed its Muncie operation. These, the jars and the insulators, were the only products which used this sand in the products themselves.

Our sand here has the peculiar quality of being like a lot of tiny ball-bearings, so fine that they make a fairly smooth core, but open enough to be porous, so that generated gas in the iron casting making will vent out without leaving bad blowholes resulting in defective castings. Its use in the foundry in making cores became the sand business's largest field. Many machines in the first World War were made possibly by the use of this sand. Up until that war, and shortly thereafter, the one largest consumer of Hoosier Slide sand was the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. at Kokomo, Indiana. In its manufacture of plate glass this sand was used in one of the grinding steps. First, however, the plates were ground by the use of emery, then the sand followed. After these grinding materials had finished their operation they were flumed off by water, and rouge powder was run in to make the final polish, and then flumed off. All of this resulted in a huge mountain of reddish powder made up of the then powdered emery, sand and rouge.

As the years went by this pile became a small mountain for all of the sand still remained in this soft, powdery slightly tinted refuse. Then came the day when it was not possible to flume off any more material on the land owned by the glass company so a somewhat strange thing happened, strange because it was little thought that someday departed citizens of Kokomo would be buried in Hoosier Slide sand, but that's exactly what happened for the glass company traded its mound of refuse sand with the city for nearby flat land, and the somewhat recently transported Hoosier Slide sand became a cemetery. This bit of information is not known by many which reminds me of what my father used to say about me, โ€œCarter, you have more useless information than anyone I ever knew!โ€

But to again return to the real Hoosier Slide. With all of the other things about her what a pleasurable spot it really was at one time. What a joy it was to go coasting on it in the winter. The town's so-called elite had slick and beautiful toboggans, but the kids of the west side of the town had just as much fun, perhaps more, with their hand made affairs consisting of sheets of corrugated iron from the car factory, which they turned up at one end. As very often uncovered-by-snow spots occurred on these slides and when these sheets hit them they became nicely polished and became much speedier than the fancy toboggans. In fact, I have seen them used on the very steep slopes right in the mid-summer.

I have mentioned the piles and piles of lumber all along the harbor. The Monon undoubtedly had greater space for these than the Michigan Central and Lake Erie & Western Railroads. The latter's tracks lay, as they do today; first along the east bank from the 2nd Street bridge, across 6thStreet to the south, and on the west bank, largely from 6thStreet south. The Michigan Central's area was limited to not too much space on the south bank east from Franklin Street, but much of this area was occupied by its tracks and its shops and roundhouse. The Monon owned land all along the north bank of the harbor from a point not too far north of the railroad bridge of the Michigan Central, and on up around to Franklin Street, and across it to below the old lighthouse. The part east of Franklin Street was known as Milwaukee Dock.

By some long time agreement with the Michigan Central the latter railroad had to do all of the switching of cars for the Monon over these rails owned by the Monon at .50 cents per car. As most of the lumber handled over this trackage moved from here downstate over the Monon all the Michigan Central received was this .50 cents plus, a relatively small switching charge for delivery to the Monon's main line tracks. In addition to the sand business, my father looked after the unloading of the lumber boats along the Monon's docks. What a lumber boat was sighted far out in the lake and it was determined by telescope what one it was, if it was destined for Monon docks my father had a crew of dockwallopers all lined up to be on hand on the boat's arrival. By prearrangement with the cargo owners up north he would go to the bank and get enough cash together to pay off these unloading crews and advance the captain with whatever funds he needed for restocking, or refueling his boat for the return trip. This latter thing suggested to my father that he might just as well get a company started that could do this coaling, and thus his Milwaukee Dock Coal Co. came into being, which included the coaling of the passenger boats. Thus thru this coaling operation, together with the sand pit one, he had created a fine standing with these many men who depended on their livelihood from this work.

While I was still a quite small boy I would accompany my father to these various operations, and I got to know, and like, all of these rough men. I have already mentioned that there was lumber piled along the west bank of the harbor below Hoosier Slide, and as I have said, also on Monon tracks. As I grew up I got to liking the sand end of the business. The unloading of lumber was rapidly coming to a halt, with, as I have said the final depletion of the north Michigan lumber. The coaling of the passenger boats, and few remaining lumber boats, was handled by Mr. Rawlings, who operated his own retail coal company, and was one of the finest men I have ever known. His daughter, Mrs. Walter Lindenmeyer, I am sure was most proud of him. The nickname โ€œdadโ€ was a happy thought on someone's part. He had at one time looked after our sand pit, and I took over this job from him. We tried to keep the pits open all year round, and it was pretty rough going in the cold weather with the blowing sand and snow, the covering of tracks, the tie-ups in the railroad yards for days, in addition to the carload movement of sand out of here and the movement of coal into our city, most of which was handled by the Monon. There was a very busy less-than-carload freight house which would handle the transfer of a good part of the contents of from a dozen to twenty cars a day, breaking the freight up from the south for reshipping to the connecting lines here, particularly the Michigan Central.

I remember one particular winter when the northbound evening passenger train on the Monon was stalled in high snowdrifts before it could even reach the Wabash Street crossing. This was the worst tie-up I ever experienced. The railroad had a small crew of six or eight section hands, together with a foreman, whose job it was to look after the right-of-way from here to Westville. As far as this snow was concerned there might just as well have been no crew at all. By that year I had personally taken over the sand operation, while my father was on the road a considerable amount of the time as a traveling freight agent for the railroad. I recall that if I was to get the pits going again the main line would first have to be cleared of the snow. You must remember that there was no bulldozer plows around, and no railroad snowplow, as least as far as the Monon was concerned. The job simply had to be done by hand. I called the top brass of the railroad and got it to agree to a plan whereby I would hire a gang of men, which the railroad would consider as extra section hands, and the railroad would reimburse me to the extent of section hands pay rate considerably below the going one for dockwallopers and sand loaders, which would be paid hourly.

These latter rates happened when we would have the big job of throwing the sand tracks when we had to move them in closer to the hill. After hanging up the phone I started out to round up the crew. Fortunately, the first place I struck was Slattery's Saloon, on the west side of Franklin Street, a door north of Michigan. Mr. Slattery was a big red-haired man with like-colored mustache who tolerated no monkey-business around his place whose patrons certainly were not like those of the Vreeland Hotel's bar across the street. Surrounded by a tough element he was still a fine gentleman. I do remember that he virtually adopted a family of children he was unrelated to, and made them into fine citizens. A son of one of these, and his son, live here and are important men in our community. At Slattery's I found my old pal, 'Happy' Guthrie, who was a real character in his own right. A highly independent individual who was never subservient to anyone; no hat-in-hand approach on his part. He was a hard worker, a schemer, a heavy drinker, and the happiest man I ever knew. A fellow who got whatever he wanted. He light to be boss whenever he could, was a good one, and was well-liked by the men who often found that their trust in him was quite misplaced. These men, like myself, always willing to go back for more. He was a past master at beguiling ways.

Soon 'Happy' and I came to an agreement which provided for him rounding up the men and bossing the job. I handed him ten dollars and told him to get busy. I reminded him that the last time I had made a deal with him when he was to round up an extra crew one Sunday to throw tracks that he had cost me over four hundred dollars. I told him that this time I would pay the men directly and not thru him. I sadly remembered that the Monday following the track throwing deal I found an attorney awaiting me at the office when I got there that morning. It soon developed that 'Happy' had taken the money and had gone on a spree. I must now admit that there was nothing I could do but pay the man and charge off what I had given 'Happy' to experience. I told him this latter morning that if he did a good job, and kept sober until it was over, that I would give him an extra twenty. With a twinkle in his foxy eyes and his usual wide grin he said, โ€œyou won't be putting that twenty on account will you, Cart?โ€, and this in his smart-aleck way, โ€œAlso, you don't mind if I have one drink after the job is done, would you?โ€. It seemed like that within the hour the largest gang of men were collected at the north end since the day when there were several lumber boats in the harbor at the same time. Our top pitman, Hank Deickilman, I had instructed earlier to round up all of the shovels he could so we were all set. I might mention that Hank never got along very well with the other sand loaders. His thriftiness, sobriety, and the fact that he could load half again, or more, sand a day than any of our other loaders, undoubtedly accounted for this. May I mention, too, that when his son was born he named him Manny Deickilman, the latter now being one of the leading labor union heads here. For hours thereafter the snow was flying from Franklin to Wabash Streets. The first section of rail tackled as the men were placed at proper intervals all along the way.

Here was where 'Happy' did the job of proper organization. Fred Poehl, the section boss, and his crew somewhat augmented by some of their male relatives, work the tracks around the bend to the south. Beyond the train they found the trails fairly clear where the wind with the help of the car factory fence did a fair job of its own. 'Happy's' crew, when finished its two blocks was divided up, part of the men going over to dig out the sandpit tracks and the other to work the tracks east of Franklin. By noon the following day we were able to pay off the men, and soon all the lower end of town saloons were doing a big business. I took over the passenger room in the station, and with some borrowed help from the bank we got all of the envelopes of money taken care of and passed out. I close this little episode by recalling that when all was clear the 'Bluebird' snowbound train was given the highball and came down the tracks with engineer Burkett at the throttle pulling the whistle cord for all it was worth, while his fireman pulled the bell cord. As the train pulled up along the 'Ark' as the Monon station had been dubbed, conductor John Pangborn stepped down and out of pure force of habit he pulled out his big railroad timepiece, and glanced at it to check the time. Mr. Krueger, the mail clerk, struck his head out his doorway, and called out โ€œRight on the advertised, eh, John?โ€

It would be hard for me to give a list of all the names of Hoosier Slide's children, may I call them? Hank Deickilman, the Butts family, the Hatfields, Schultz, Snays are just a few, but certainly 'Happy' Guthrie was a really unforgettable child, and in a way, child he was for he never grew up. I feel that I may be excused for not dismissing him like that, and tell a couple of other incidents in which he is best remembered by me. 'Happy' was living in a little shack below the pit where he had his two small boys with him; his wife had died before I can remember. When we got into WWI 'Happy' took off one day and enlisted. The next I heard from him was that he was a blacksmith (for what reason I'll never know) in a Georgia training camp, and there he remained for the duration. He always kept in touch by postcard, and from Michigan City lads who were in that camp I learned that 'Happy' as the best moral builder the place had. The moving out of trainee was a slow process, and these fellows got restless and rather hard to handle.

'Happy' was enlisted by the top brass to help out, and he did a good job. His officers said that he always seemed to be making them feel at ease in his dealings with them, sometimes strange indeed to them, but not to me, and something they soon found they had to accept. Then as the war came to a close I got a wire one day from 'Happy' telling me that he had just married a beautiful Georgia 'peach', and would be home with her the next week. The telegram went on to advise me that I should arrange credit for him with Shon's and Wellnitz'. His having to have a furnished place to bring his bride, and food to go with it was to be my responsibility, and darned if I didn't accept it and do what he told me to do. On his arrival he did bring his new wife in when he came to let me know he was back. So I met the bride. Well, every once in a while there must have been a tough year for Georgia peaches.....

After the war was over the sand business very definitely went to pot, and the reduced loading was being done mostly by a new locomotive crane we had bought. The day of the sand loading men had past, and with it friend Guthrie. As the years passed I completely lost track of 'Happy', then one day, it being during prohibition, judge Harry Crumpacker told me that from his court over in Valpo (he sat there as well as in Michigan City at the time) that he had just sent a friend of mine to the pen. I soon learned that 'Happy' had teamed up with a widow who had a little hole-in-the-wall grocery over off highway 12 about due north of Chesterton. 'Happy' had been arrested at the store with a couple of jugs of while he had been dispensing by the drink. The judge added that when 'Happy' had been asked in his court what his occupation was he answered, โ€œI'm a dealer in whiskey and womenโ€, and so my friend soon found himself up in here in the pen. About a year thereafter, Happy's two sons came to see me on Saturday afternoon, and wanted to know if I would be their father's sponsor, one being necessary if he were to be released on parole. Well, I was always a sucker insofar as 'Happy' was concerned so he became my charge. Each month thereafter he came up to the office to see me and make his regular required report. The latter was really a work of art. His financial accounting that was needed on the form he had to fill out was indeed a marvel and his churchgoing record I am sure was pure fabrication on his part.

I am sure he felt that he wanted to give the parole people what they would like to have, and thus he pleased them accordingly. I am sure they couldn't have cared less, probably wondering why in the dickens he had ever been sent up anyway. The end finally came when 'Happy' got his full discharge, and on that day he came up to thank me for what I had done. All during the preceding monthly calls he had always protested his innocence, and darned if I had not got to the point where I believed in him, or almost did. This last day as he was leaving he first went over to my office door and quietly closed it, coming back to say to me in a low voice, โ€œWell, Carter, I've got to go out now and dig up my still which I have buried over in the dunes. Come out and see me and I'll fix you up with the best hooch from the biggest still anywhereโ€. You know the funny thing is that there is the last time I ever laid eyes on 'Happy'.

But to return directly to the โ€œSlideโ€ again, and go back in years. I have mentioned the lumber outfit below the hill, and along the harbor. It had built a plank road leading from it out to the south to the Michigan Central tracks. This had been done so the teams hauling out lumber for local consumption could get across this sandy area. I mention this plank road now because it probably had much to do in making possible one of the most pleasurable event that Hoosier Slide was to see, a wedding at its extreme top. The local merchants had arranged for this to take place one summer day, with prizes, and outfits for the bride and groom, the latter being selected by some method I've now forgotten. Anyway, the two lived down some place along the Monon, say Wanatah, or maybe Francesville or Medaryville.

As I recall it the Monon ran an excursion here for that occasion somewhat on the order of the regular dollar Sunday ones that were so popular for many years. A couple of Alf Earl's shiny black, beautiful โ€œhacksโ€ were at the station to meet the wedding party. The Ames Band was on hand to do the welcoming along with the mayor and other dignitaries. Soon a parade had been formed, led by Prof. Albert Cook, band director, the band, carriages and others, moving south on Franklin Street past the gaily decorated Vreeland Hotel where the couple was to spend their wedding night before they entrained the next morning on the 'Bluebird' headed for a week at French Lick, Springs, all a part of the awards made to the couple.

At Michigan Street the parade turned west and proceeded to Wabash Street where it turned north to reach the plank road I have mentioned. The band was seated on chairs on a widened out plank area along with the mayor and others. Here the group was met by the minister, and he with the bridal party took up the long climb up Hoosier Slide. They sort of zigged and zagged on their way up in order to make the going a little easier. Two little boys in white satin suits desperately tried to hold up the bride's gown trail. The band struck up the wedding march. The mayor and his group remained discreetly below. Crowds had already gathered up the sides of the hill. The fishermen and squatters had climbed up from the lakeside, and they seemed to form a little group of their own. Another group had come up from Snarltown, keeping considerably apart from the wedding party itself.

I liked to thank at Pearl and Esther and Jessie and all the other lady โ€œmanagersโ€, shall we call them, had let their little lovelies join in on the festivities that particular day. Might I say at this point that these โ€œmanagersโ€ as I have named them herein were in a way a rather accepted part of our community. I am sure their little charges stayed well enough in the background so that they might not embarrass any of their gentlemen callers who might be present at the wedding that day. I can see them, too, all prettily arrayed in their summery dresses which had been completed the week before. A few weeks earlier, Mr. Brooks from his little dry goods and notions store on lower Franklin Street had arranged for 'Red' Frederickson to bring a buggy over from Earl's to take him, with his bolts of dress materials, and other female furnishings, over to the houses in Snarltown. After careful selections had been made the next day another buggy would arrive carrying sewing gals who would take over from there. What stories Hoosier Slide could have told. I like to thank that I , as one of her despoilers, was selected by her to reveal her many secrets; a friendly gesture to one who had been so unkind to her. The ceremony was finally performed, the band struck up some lively tunes including โ€œThere'll be a Hot Time in this Old Town Tonightโ€. Just how successful the event was can perhaps be best measured by the fact that it did not become an annual affair. There weren't the stouthearted Chamber of Commerce boosters in those days which was either a good or bad thing as one might wish to view it.

Anyway, the days of the Sunday excursions and the crowds of folk who climbed up the big hill were to pass all too soon. It seemed to me, the hill must have had many moods. A somewhat fearful one when the dark clouds rushed down in the late afternoon portending the storm which was soon to follow. The lightning which gave out flashes of its almost grandeur. The high winds tearing it apart at the top whole we tore away at her base, tearing her apart and gradually shipping her away. On moonlight nights it seems to almost glimmer. It looked out over the lake as though to be a sort of sentinel and guard and guide and watch over its friends, the many boats which were to pass in the view below. One stormy night, however, it failed in its protection when a freighter loaded with shelled corn crashed against the west pier entrance, and in the morning its contents were strewn all along the beach ankle deep. Soon every sort of conveyance that could be hauled thru the sand had appeared as crowds gathered to collect this strange bounty from the sea. For weeks thereafter the chickens being raised by the pitmen had their stomachs nicely filled with corn even though the sand in their craws must have been somewhat overburdening.

In closing, something I am sure you must have thought might well have happened long before this, I feel that I must recall one of the strangest things I know about the slide. Along in the early 1920's the sand from it had largely been exhausted. By then we had moved over to the west and were loading from the adjoining Zorn property. By this time we were using a locomotive crane in our loading so we were able to load from below the track level at least to the point where we would seek the level of the lake by running into water. We were trying to recover some of the sand from the old hill with this equipment, and one day when our clamshell bucket dropped to just above water level we uncovered a twenty foot square or so of dark red colored sand, and this was at a spot that was just below the highest point of the hill. From this spot we removed a number of human bones and a couple of skulls which certainly indicated that this had one time been a burial ground. Often when I lie awake at night and try to conjure up things I might like to dream about I have rather foolishly thought about what happened in the pit that day. I think about the pyramid tombs of the ancient Pharaohs of ages past, and wonder what more modern King Tut's tomb I had thus decimated. I hope that I may now have long since been forgiven, like I hope that you will forgive me this evening for subjecting you to this lengthy disclosure. ๐‚๐š๐ซ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ ๐‡. ๐Œ๐š๐ง๐ง๐ฒ ๐’๐ซ.