It's hard to imagine a time when roads were made of timbers and there was a toll-booth at Quimby Village. A time when you could catch Musky out of the Saint Mary's River and the only form of long distance travel was on the rivers or cross-country on horseback. We have grown up in Waynedale, or other parts of the city, where we are generations away from those days.
I was preparing Ed Noble's history article for this issue of The Waynedale News and I was trying to imagine what it would have been like to live back then, back when there were still Indians in this area.
I noticed that there was sewer work being done at Broadway and Bluffton Roads. A big Cat 330L has been in there digging all week, so I put on my work boots, drove over to Roger's Formal Wear, and parked in their lot.
The Cat had made a nice cut in the riverbank. It had sliced through the blacktop and cleared a path all the way to the river. You could see about four inches of blacktop, six inches of concrete and then below the concrete was a lot of red brick, the kind you still see on the roads in the older parts of town. On the opposite side of the trench were some old timbers protruding out below the level of the old road bricks.
Were these timbers part of the old plank road Ed had talked about in his article?
I took some pictures, picked up an old brick and a piece of splintered timber, put them in my car, and then walked into Tubby's. Of course, it didn't used to be Tubby's, it used to be The Old Mill Tavern. Les Franken, who owns Tubby's, was working, providing meals to hungry patrons.
I wondered if this might have been the old grist mill Ed Nobel had talked about in one of his articles. I wished I had some of the tools that are available to the CSI crime team. I could do a scientific analysis on the brick and the timbers, and determine their age. But of course this isn't Hollywood, this is Waynedale, so I took my treasures and went back home.
The wood had been blackened with time and the red road brick had no identification on it. It was just a five-pound brick. I hosed them both off and brought them in to the newspaper office.
So here I sit writing, looking at my tokens of a by-gone era. A time before automobiles, TV's and airplanes, a time when you could catch Musky out of the Saint Mary's River, and maybe a time when you could sit down with an old Indian, smoke a pipe, and talk about the good old days before plank roads and canals.