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I think one of the interesting things about your and is that its population is almost the same today's It was 60 years ago. But there's been some changes and you're a man that's a different place now at least some different than mine I think. Well of course though you just can't talk about or ranted on without talking about the steam locomotive. Thank you thank you thank you thank us. The history of a place is the sum of many memories. The recollections differ sometimes conflict. But as people give voice to their memories history take shape the past comes alive. The Rand Michigan whop elation 30 300 lives today in the shadow of great cities.
I went to try to Lansing but Duran is as much America as any of the its roots go deep in American tradition on this program. The people of the rand in their own words create the complex colorful history of their city. This is derived from a self-portrait. That I can remember when I first came here right back to my mother. There are a hundred and forty eight trading days to do it. Forty eight. It was for me you know. So there were a lot of people that waiting room at the station was full of people all the time. It was one of our means for us to go down here to meet somebody new which we usually do the movers come here they were having venue change in them because I don't know from o'clock at night
if money should go in the next morning would be the only one of course. The trains are an important part of your early life I mean it was an exciting thing to have one of the first things I ever remembered about there and this is I was so proud because we had a hundred trains a day coming in and out of town. And. Even after I left Iran it wasn't uncommon for me to entertain folks that would come to see me by slipping over here 20 minutes of 4:00 in the afternoon and take these people into the deep or through the back way you know and then beat that being delighted because we couldn't get out because every 36 trains around this. Well I was graduated from high school in 1915 in June of 1950 you know the first job that I had was in the office. At that time I played around a hundred and fifty man.
Duran was at its peak. That time. And the railroad was at its peak because you see we had eight passenger trains and a Duran three three different times a day and the platform at the depot. There'd be two or three hundred people. Around the station. Each time that these trains arrived here seeing as there were no other means of transportation all day very very few automobiles. Duran was the main streets were the same as they are today. We had. Seven night seven saloons. I think at that time. One on One West Main was a little small
corrugated metal building and they call that the last chance and I was the last chance going west part of town to get a drink. Really it was a wild town Duran had a reputation all over the country of being a typical railroad town I was all but all that fellas come from maybe a wasso or somewhere else they'd hear that they had a couple of tough man Aaron Duran and they'd come over from a laso or maybe from Saginaw come down there to take a minute to see how good they were. There was a two man and Duran mag McLaughlin who was a baker and Sid harder who was a cleaner a barber. But those days they were young man and what we called A Good Man in terms of taking
defending himself. There were two men from a waffle came over here in Oct in the saloon and Holbert saloon which was on our street. And I wonder where they could find these fellas. Somebody told them where they would find them good by and so they round them up and said that they'd heard that they were the best man there were around this country and they came over to take him on. Oh well you don't have to go any farther he said. Come on they went out the alley and the two men from grand. They really cleaned them up and it was a bloody mess but they came back and Sloan all together and washed up one up to the bar had a drink there were no hard feelings and they said when they left they did have some good men and dry and when I was in high
school the saloon was the big thing with us. The liquor saloon you know and there are less than a small car I remember we kids used to count them up and you'd say just think the local saloons in this town and our population wasn't very green. And of course that presented a problem in the town. I don't know of any greater problem a military question does today but it was right down to where we all were. You see what I mean. And never did you find a women going to a place like that to drink. We used. To meet up with it on the street as young people drunken persons and more so than you do the day you don't meet up with there today only socially once in a while of course you do. Not all the business places were saloons there was the harness shop Barton's grand mom onions dry goods store Lamb's grocery store pipers
record store where they had beautiful penny candies Rawson's meat market and art Gray's barber shop where my father was a barber. Firing has been completely changed I can recall many people having their individual individual mugs in the barber shop where he went in to get shaved and you'd have your individual mug with your name. Men would use the facilities of the barber shop for shaving first that's all done away with. Today we had two wooden side walk many times we used to go home and water was deep. We used to spatter it off all rare sounds that I dreamed and delivering and the iceman delivered the ice and now and then he would take a bottle of home brew from the ice box instead of a ticket for the ice and of course we had milk deliveries. I don't care what color the horse drawn vehicle we have only.
Had her. A large. Oh. Well hold several gallons and carry of course from. Where they have their logs far less. Any with. I slipped the handle of his quote measure over the spout of that thing to carry it from place to place and we've put our dishes out on the front porch with the cover on them. And. Then people would. Pour out into this court measure. Our part of it all. And put in the dish on the porch. If we bring it in they're playable now can you imagine carrying a measure. Along a street atlas. Now or anything going around from house to house. The cemetery condition of that. Open. Court patient. But we survived the night Brittania I worked in.
Well John you obviously didn't break you there now or never and bury all the country or your to your alleged killer here in every direction both you. And I will call your progress sleep. Become a cattle Mount really Brahman and when will you get your pay obviously and you have to buy Okura barn full of couple have to wait in the lower basement under there or you can. We used to take a tumble down blow each one no that's way. And from out of it. Well good time we made to go down. Poor people weren't trouble. Oh I'm not a. Computer. You have to get up to. You'd be following in the wrong or even from being dropped them over
and the next day would be going no doubt wrong or wrong when there are more. I can recall a hospital not in Duran but in one of the other communities here. Having a root cellar that. Stored all the tuber vegetables and apples things I thought were stored all winter long and then there would be people have cellars the seem to be a common way of life. I can recall that we always bought our potatoes in the fall and the 10 bushel my dad bring home and the things that I hated doing was going through those buying things again off those sprouts Chanelle because they would sprout and the same thing with apples. It was you get apples by the bushel and they be stored in your boat cellar and then as you'd want apples of course as kids we had to go get the apples that had the spots on first and were reprimanded if we bring up the best apples.
We all have baseless and they all Michigan based you know religion and our cool place for you through it all every step you can take hold of. JM let everything go no stage you're going to famous things because people change trains and they had time to read the Thomas crime hearings but in the state when they had the dining room and people. Very neatly in six moved over there. Were sort of the thing to do. Mr. Thomas was an uncle of my house. And he had it. But Thomas Connor from the station there's no. And also one dining room where he fed a good many people because in those days there were a lot of trains into disarray.
And. This dining room was run by three terminus. At that time they had. They had a counter side to tables on the tables had table clothes last night. Just the nicest place to eat. And it was 50 cents a meal. And what's not. We look forward to Sunday to go down where it will be. But it was pretty high profile. We always had oysters on my hand shelf countesses and things of that kind. That was. Quite out of the ordinary for a town of this size where he put anything special He really put it on and of course cost about a quarter of what it would cost to dare you to do that. So you know and we had a nice social life we had that dancing clubs and dancing caddies and we had
a literary club that used to meet at school and we had a mandolin and pull out the pinky or. Were very nice I thought of course come cared what we have today. We just don't have if we want to go to do a good show we had to go to Flint but we could always go on the train we go on the train really early evening and then be back on midnight. And we saw a good many show that way. When I was a young girl. In 1921. And in the eighth grade in school and I had these very great impressions of the town because I was I came here as a preacher's daughter the Methodist preacher came in just after school had started and this was after the Durans school had burned to be on the site. And so all of the schools all of the classes were in various places in town. I started school in the mud church
and then the high school was up in the opera house. And and that was the end 21 and 22 this is where the dances were held and this was when I remember so much. Dardanelle on. The sheet of there these were the patter and whispering wonderful songs that came through at that time and what a thrill it was to watch the older. Of the older folks dance. I mean the kids that were 16 and 18. But young people used to put on these hometown show so curst of teachers were right a certain percent of us were quite prevalent to get into those things and mixing it with the high school students which we do in those days to sweep that much over the moon. We had lots of fun. Eventually we decided we'd like to build a library
so our woman's club did burn a library here and we started it by well selling bricks and and also we had a big auction. We canvassed every block in this town and had a big Arsenal on Saturday got everything free that we could of course and people gave antiques antique chairs and things of that kind that would bring a price and we worked and worked and worked until eventually we got a library day out. It wasn't done in the New Year. I started I started to your T junction first and main routine 12 was a call boy and I were about six months as a Corps War and card checker and
then the interchange clerk I just heard the trainmaster raised to no longer and I would pass the room must be grateful for any of the problem in the common room where I came to do ROOM. July 1832 straws. When we couldn't get on break and room to work from the rounds I was fuming. She mistook her for a little boy. That's for all of you are great. Forty. Four small stars Laurie if you big enough really good Looks like you have a good strong back where they give you do you.
Which is greater. The younger boys were attracted to the railroad yard as a place to play. They might even try to phrase every few years there was some very interesting way to kill me. But they try to keep children from playing around but it was just it seems like every generation. Will Lose one boy worked out about that way they play rousing it can crawl under trains a stack and several parking lot for every generation. That will teach them a lesson or two for the road surgeon stories. I mean the reality. Is the way it's going to look at one or two or three.
People going through it with the person going why is it worse where on the railroad yard. It might surprise a lot of people in the north to know that there was a good deal of open and tolerance in this case. Religious intolerance in a place such as Michigan not so very many years ago it was it was always quite exciting all of a sudden if you fire he crosses that different intersection right downtown. A fiery cross and a curse word when everywhere you're always racing around on the C-5 crosses this is during the day. I don't know what the Ku Klux Klan were doing but nevertheless this is one of my early memories is that there were fiery crosses in there and we live here and our neighbor was first Catholics and these for lectures and they didn't make any bones about hanging out their funds and stuff. They never burned a cross in front of our house but they did down a lot farther than we did in front of our church. You know they were they were quite a
bunch of right here where I am. Oh boy. We've seen them 0 0 0 hours tonight. Sure why they was trying to get people to go against the Catholic religion. We don't know what they were when and in here. He says you just come out here and turn the you know do anything burn in a Red Cross he says I got my gun he got his gun. He says the person that burns a Red Cross and says Get full of powder. Why neighbors were Klu Klux Klan's and every Sunday they would go to local clerks meeting and they'd all dress up in their uniforms and then they had a flag standing right straight up in the back of the truck. And so before they left they'd call us up and say oh glory is going high. So my mother we were Catholics of course
my mother would make all we kids get out in the yard and standard attention and salute the fly going at one time. Just to show that we respect and the flag they said the Catholics didn't respect mine. So that so after that we decided we would get even with them there were five kids in our family and only two in their family. So we took the kids and tied them up and dragged them up to our house and we had a play house and we made believe we were saying the mass and we fed them fish food for communion. And then then we let them go home. And they participated in the command. Was one.
Second if the action is an effort. Nike baby April 1999. One way draft into a washout hearted raining men ever territory. My engineer and were killed my very important but I got out and I had to direct my own rescue. There were 35 to five feet of road washed out and. He went in on top of that. I played a long time recovering but finally succeeded in doing so. And. Nine thousand nine hundred twenty three had a conductor in charge of neck temperature trend. We rarely Duran. And five men were killed. And a large number in the great Wallace Brothers show Rick which happened
west of dry Hannon August 19th Street in which. 25 or 27 people were killed. There are a number of these people that they could and they never found any trace of relatives or. Who they were and these people are buried in a cemetery Lovejoy cemetery. Two miles south of Duran. Where there is a monument erected. Where the. Unknown. Dead. Lost their lives in the railroad wreck. WALLACE Brothers shows at that time I was jacking a car down Oak Street we were maybe going to train to be a city. Kid fashion I want to get down to cringe. Did anybody see the circuitry in the first circus train came in left a train west of Oak Creek
and the union came down to the station for water and coal and. They crane but just west of Oak Creek crushing on the Chicago division. The second train coming into town. Communion form and all were familiar with wishful thinking which I would not at that time. He said a second service tray. Gets a new piece. To sound a new delay and you're away. Foreman says to me in trouble. He's calling for breaks. The automatic air break we knew at that time. Not very efficient. And he was calling for hand brakes on the part of the triangle mounted train.
But there were second train and a lot of coaches with the personnel. Of the circus outfit and the cart were locked and they connect an engineer and a conductor in Brooklyn and the rear in the train couldn't get over. Show me. The reason for a direct line of. The engineer that is. Trying to pressure get away from him when he came into Duran he didn't have any train line pressure or another word no air brake. And he crashed into the rear end of the first train. Just ahead of the caboose on the first train the Big Bang. When the men were sleeping you need quite a great amount of damage been done and a large number were killed. Now. The second thing. I was just a little girl but I remember that so much. The man that lived next door to us. Vs. cheap
I had the great eye. And he kept it to save people all being a bit behind on my mother she didn't want us to have any part of it you know to see what was going out. I remember it just as well. In addition to the people many of the circus animals were killed or so badly injured that they had to be. Destroyed. In fact it was an elephant and a camel carried just west of there and right side tracked after I've often thought perhaps sometime if. They ever take those. Happen to dig those bones up there they think that some prehistoric animal of the wrong things part of the wood. Actually that was what happened to A. Camel and. An elephant all their lives to. Thank
her in future heroine Towner defended in October 1876 from the tracks of the Chicago northeastern lability first third of the Detroit and Milwaukee. A small settlement on a Vernon center existed at the point of the crossing. Three years later the Chicago northeastern part of the Grand Trunk were away and not long after that for Detroit Milwaukee off of a converted GP Fishman. That's the casting of the tracks which had set up an important junction between route from Detroit to vend haven and between poor here and in Chicago. Became even more important under one management ran down quickly into a key division point on a grand trunk. Hundreds of passengers soon were changing trains a drain switch engine surfed in Perth day and night to keep the freight car moving. Later when a man or a railroad built through her and more passengers and more freight guard began changing rooted around. From a small beginning in 1876 there and soon assumed an important role in rail transportation.
By the start of the 20th century everybody in Michigan who did much traveling knew about Duran. And the railroad was the center of everything Indurain even a weekly newspaper took a name with a railroad background. The Durant express the railroad continued its domination of Duran for years it wasn't until the 1930s that some diversification began. The automobile and more highways by then began to make it easier to live under and work in nearby cities. But even today the railroad is still a big factor in Iran's economic life but it is far less important than it was at the turn of the century. Our activities in Duran as far as railroad activities today and the number of people employed by the railroad is probably in round figures only 50 percent of what it was in the early days because of the advent of. Diesel Power.
The American town: A self-portrait
Durand, Michigan, part 1
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University of Michigan
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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This program, the first of two parts, focuses on Durand, Michigan: Its story and success in changing to other industries in the face of declining railroad activity.
Historical documentary series drawn from the recollections of senior citizens in a variety of American towns.
Local Communities
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Host: Sears, Ralph
Producer: Johnson, Ralph
Producing Organization: University of Michigan
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-9-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:50
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Chicago: “The American town: A self-portrait; Durand, Michigan, part 1,” 1967-01-17, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 23, 2021,
MLA: “The American town: A self-portrait; Durand, Michigan, part 1.” 1967-01-17. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 23, 2021. <>.
APA: The American town: A self-portrait; Durand, Michigan, part 1. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from