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Or. And today our simplicity engineering company is rather known throughout the world having And today marketing their products in 35 states. And has been unusually. Successful. And is the leading industrial city. I would say 30 to 35 percent of the gainfully employed people in Duran today are connected with simplicity and the rest the balance would be in the main would still be the railroad. With the possible exception of. Some 10 years ago. The Duran metal products move to this town plus the fact that. But the victory tool and machine tool of the newer son 15 year plying the 40 to 45 people.
It's a typical progression from a few gathered primes of a hundred years ago that we became a booming railroad town and now depend on industry both local and plant. But the most evident local change is the smell of beer and the change from the city covered smoke to the burning diesel fuel to us all rolled in and it was a sickening smell we didn't. Very few of us who appreciated the change from coal to oil or to the saloon you know. We were steaming you are liars we just didn't appreciate that. I guess probably we were born 30 years. I don't think that we do appreciate to be selling
you the labor union movement had a stormy career on the railroad before becoming firmly established. So it was natural the Durandal become involved in some of the disputes. At least twice in this in the town's history the state militia were called in to maintain order. One was during a summer long strike of the shopman in one thousand twenty two. And there was an incident about 12 years earlier the state militia was called. There are striking nine hundred and ten men conductors reckoned and which went on strike and they went to bed of any consequence. We were meeting in a city hall in the morning in the afternoon and again and evening nap the record kept of every man on strike
so I would be able to show the whereabout to the individual. Man My name is George Speight was just better. I think than track. And if you're going to be a productive business manager and. Try to shut off our credit. Being paid once a month. We had to have credit and I paid my source. And I'm one penny will go down one side to straighten them out and get on the other side of the street and standing in the next month we reverse it. So Mr. Gillespie went up and down. Second I was straight businessman in an attempt to shut off our credit. Man we're going to tell him to go to hell. And
we got what we were trying to do and some of the men called me and John keep it out of my business. They didn't make it. Difficult for him. Without anybody knowing what it all about the neighborhood of 600 sure. And what I lived on West Main Street at that damn when I woke up one morning I heard a beautiful sounding and I went on strike. And I looked down the street and we had a story. But there were no ok for him being right here and I left very shortly without any for a long time afterward Oh what a great kind of verse about Shasta County paying the expenses of being here and I don't know what the outcome. The railroad said none thing passengers as well as paying passengers and the ones that rode the rods were called tramps by the townspeople and we always felt that
they marked our houses so they knew where they would get the best hold handouts. But the railroad men called them hobos. We had a lot of hope. We had some of them made the road quite regular and they were just good clean respectable although I don't say they were really close but they were they had a trait of the hobos make no bones about it and they acted like gentlemen. We used to get things into action. That's one of the friends of the steam engine. I remember the drover's dogs driving hundreds of sheep through the streets of green. It was kind of fun to hear them. The drill of years ago when the dogs would bark. Oh many and many a trainload and they are in the early days this was one of the big
sheep feeding countries feeding areas may I say of the state or the farmers or some of these large sheep feeders name way only dogs very castrated Frank we can mammals big sheep would go out in the West and buy these lambs and and bring them in and flatten them and then resell them to the market that was a tremendous business of 40 years ago. Jamie King was a signature that was written without lifting the pencil. I've heard it said that he was a hobo then had a lifelong ambition to write J.B. King on everything. This J.B. King was a saying that. Was written on boxcars you very seldom saw it written on anything else but usually on
boxcars and this sign said this name of J.B. King he writes he's name on everything. It was very similar to the slogan that they had during the war. One being like every where the soldier would go if there was a slogan written here and there the Kilroy was here and I can remember being down in the yard. And I can't think who the car checker was you know. And asking him who is this. Dave became. ME MY see written on the side of all the cars and him he didn't know any more about it than I did apparently he said oh that's the car checker down in Battle Creek. But since then I've read about the signature and train crows sign it in the middle of the night when the call boy couldn't see what signature they did put on his call book and
get back to wherever he was checking him. Call Paul and he'd find it James became constituted for members of a five man crew where some. I was born on her. That's on Turkey. I never did her fish where the name came from the only thing and I assumed that it must have been room for the western end of the. Division because that was very near on your in your own rear end on some of the curves up there you go around just like this here and he goes about half the time look like you were coming back to do it and that's by the way it
was they have done away with that endeavor. That's true Green speak and they get away with that quite a while ago. But it was pretty crooked up there who were very very good at you it was really was a turkey trailer calling. In the older days the switchman railroad man almost and direly wore overalls. Some blue and some lighter colored with stripes. And. The red handkerchief tied around her neck. He bought the sender's and snow and so forth. And the bottom of the trousers were tied. To keep the sender's from going down in here shoes. We don't have anymore we're meant to be.
We were usually they were a class of riddled man that. Not all of them had something against their record. Quite a few were worked under assumed names going from one place to another and they. Usually were safe and at least 30 days before their record caught up with them when they start writing you know when the referee Tuesday. Then the but they would get 30 days work in the meantime in a new dish. Down from the other room we were. Switching doctors going when there were. 21 railroad to another the railroads used to fire conductors used to her in years. They don't do that anymore and haven't done it for years. Rail of man really enjoyed the sound of the steam engine and
only when we thought when we spoke of a steam engine being set up square we mounted the valves on the engine and were set so each exhaust was exactly the same and. Train going by with a vow set up perfectly. It was music to railroad man's ears to hear that engine going by and we sang it would hurt the ones we turned again to answers were the ones that were at work in repairing the tracks and they would go from. One place to another of her tracks usually quite big occurs. We didn't as a rule. Try to use that term on any of our local section and they were all sections. We always assumed that the local section men didn't like the word that was more or less
polite. On the other side of the depot. There were the willows and there was a house in the Willows that as smart as a young teenager this was a forbidden place. It was risky for a girl presumably to go to the deep ball because you didn't know what might happen because this was a rather body House. The Willow seemed to be a quite a profitable business establishment. Same here sighed course the girls from the willows always seem to have a great deal of money to spend. The local stores. Perhaps if it was not then. Call it society very much just ignore really is what it
was with the attitude that it was just completely ignoring iron rain fog in the winter time was catching Babs and all. And the horses and I can remember just as well on Main Street you could. The mud was right up to the hubs pretty nearly. But there there was a drinking fountain right at the where the thing hardest to stand for horses and this man the next Doris had this gravely kids who go down there to school and catch Babs and he just love to get us all that bad and then turn off horses for Hall and swing us around that street and then I can remember runaways we used to hammer on away from my that was a celebration when we see horses coming down the street running away you know. And at night we played lay low. Love Carter a sag and Methodist Congregational
churches and all of us kids played Lilo tell our mothers would make us come in that night. There are several churches and a ring and you can go wherever you like that kind of worship. We have always been blessed to observe several churches. Several did nominations from this town for a town of its size that. We had about as many different denominations as we did so with that goal we see. That I am the only. Living. Person in our church of the original families my father and mother were charter members and organize this Congregational Church and Doraemon the Congregational church was built for the month church. The mud church has been used for many things. It has not only been a church it was used as a school for the fire in 1990. It had been a newspaper and printing office and it also was the most Hong.
It was part of something that looked like mud of course and people when they wanted to speak derisively of it called it the mother church. They want to recall the. Celebrations in the early days. I also recall a. Turning of the century. Bashing making ninety nine to nineteen hundred. We had one night watchman. And. We blazed. Away then. Well 13 14 you're no. Doubt celebrated. By the. Passing of the old century and the coming in the new. And we got into considerable before than I did over.
Nothing of a damaging character but good tonight. And we. Did have. PH I'd be happy. To watch. The. Kids. And no damage been done. But we did have a. Real honest to goodness celebration. I didn't very often you have that opportunity here. That's not your century and I know one of the early stories which I recall as a kid and was that just before the turn of the century a local farmer named Leighton Leach was murdered about three months later a masked mob from Durham and commandeered a freight train and went around the county seat where the accused a man named Sullivan is awaiting trial. They
lynched him and I understand that this was the last lynching in Michigan history. This is one of the unsavory incidents which you don't read about and school history books. I attended school here questioned gauge my school. Well there were 12 graduating class and 12 and I looked this morning 50 percent. Them going on to higher education which is a quite a percentage compared to today. You know I was in a class in the sixth grade when a classmate discovered that the school was on fire. That was a cold windy day in December. The horse drawn fire way to get it on the ice and tipped over. Of course the building was destroyed in a new way and had to be built. The walls were painted battleship gray. I don't know how the children ever learned it was such a dreary place but there were to my mind two teachers
that stood out. Now it was Sylvia Baird and Fred ham. They were remarkable people interested in the students and. Good teachers when I came here from Ohio I expected to come up here and state one year and go back to Ohio. It's I got interested in the place and got a point and. I found it a very nice place to work. The administration was good to work with the community was friendly. And. There have been other jobs that have looked good but each time that we have considered going someplace else we came right down to the final decision. It's the friendliness of the people the good administration that we've had to work with the school the good school board and the good spirit of the children that we work with. It's cost me to stay here so long Joy I'm starting my three six years here in this school.
From that one. Simple little microscope that we had when I came here we have 35 company microscopes now we have reached a dream where we can have at least one marker school for every student. As the school developed his. Fans became larger. And more emphasis was put on. Instrumental music. And now. They have grown to the size of the band we have today and we have. A band that we're very proud of. Along with their field sports of course we have a pretty good. Group of cheerleaders.
Which seem to build up the pep in the student body. You know. One of the. Thrills that goes along with the PEP meetings and with the games is of course is crucial whenever the graduates come back for sure they get but. What a thrill period that. School saw. It. Yes. The choral music did span. A program that has been expanding and. Is. Growing has been growing. And some band has been going to have been. Growing up together. And. The.
New dungeon. Very nice work. You put on the performances especially at Christmas time. Especially. Music in the Christmas program. Here. Especially at Easter. Put on. Your. Program. Fish was. Like every other community in. The lore half of Michigan. Naturally we've had to increase our school's facilites five years ago on her course to school. In the northeast corner of town called the Robert curse school. And two years ago. On the west side of town we built the burthen the old school and at the present time and under construction for probable years. During the era of nineteen sixty five we hope it will be ready as a new
million $800000 school which will be. Our third one in five years. Those coolers Melissa really are serious. Of course used to be. An outstanding railroad. Time. And. Of course the school people there are groups that represent the schools are known as the rivers. The last steam engines of kings who ran with quite a big event. The last one that I. Recall. A train was made up and came in from Detroit and people rode it crashing in this was to be the last operation of the last steam engine. People were off carriers and it was quite good.
For celebration time. I don't know as we call it a room. And the. Spirit with regard to industry but perhaps that term might fit it as well as anything else. The steam engine Motors was associated with progressively associated with the. Expanding. Country. And it was associated with transportation across the country and consequently the building of the nation and I think we just attach a lot of. Interest to that steam engine of course as the steam engine is gone and the diesel engine is taking its place. There's there's something there's a time there's a period of time it's going to and in we're in a new era of transportation. You talk a good frosty night.
When you hear the steamy interior switcheroo we had and we were a car jacking where you know you take a good cross to you right here as well to sort of focus on the moon or the goose so let you write like you know you had a good share of record here and there. It was quite a thing to get a good engineer for the artwork and the way you cross through the night. You do when you're working with and getting your thank you. I don't recall not so long ago when they knew that the steam engines were going on. And that. Hobbyists in the mind of photographer you would know that had some friends who were engineers or train would
set it up and they'd have their cameras set up in a certain area where the steam engines would come in and certain places the tutor was filling in. More smoke to roll out of the engine you see and they were photographing this at the same time recording or recording the song on tape. And those folks have a we have records now. That nobody can get anymore. But. That's history. I think in the wintertime in the in the fall it carried there was a more of a hollow so. The World A. Little more weird in the way we're going and of course in the summer it. Just. Carried further something. There's a few good sleep that was occurring. Question Tell us the gist of the sites. Here the couple of times. You've done away. With one of the things that I miss is onyx for winter night and the shriek of the
forcefulness. Of the steam engines coming into town. You don't hear that anymore and the children growing up now. Just don't. Know but not know what Damien's they were living in new ways they hear the rumble in the air and attitude of the whistles of the diesel engines. But that period of your steam engine that was just going with it a period of history. I am. I am. Thanking. Myself portrayed of the RAF drawn entirely from interviews recorded with people who have lived in that Michigan city of Homs
thanks to them and our special thanks to Mary and Clifford lamb and the Cleveland Wiley for their additional help. This program was edited and produced after the University of Michigan by Ralph Johnson at Burroughs speaking this is the national educational radio network.
The American town: A self-portrait
Durand, Michigan, part 2
Producing Organization
University of Michigan
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, the second of two parts, focuses on Durand, Michigan: Its story and success in changing to other industries in the face of declining railroad activity.
Series Description
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: 00:28:20
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Chicago: “The American town: A self-portrait; Durand, Michigan, part 2,” 1967-01-17, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 16, 2024,
MLA: “The American town: A self-portrait; Durand, Michigan, part 2.” 1967-01-17. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 16, 2024. <>.
APA: The American town: A self-portrait; Durand, Michigan, part 2. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from