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Location: Stony Island, MI

Stony Island was on the CASO/ Michigan Central Bridge Division between Amherstberg Ontario and Slocum Junction, near Trenton crossing Grosse Isle. The railroad crossed a bridge mid-island which spanned the Detroit River channel between Grosse Isle and Stony Island. From here, the railroad used a car ferry operation to Ontario.

The island was leased from the railroad as a home for some 600 persons working on the construction of the Livingston Channel.


Time Line

1873. Bridge from Grosse Isle to Stony Island is built. [HMC] The railroad began operating car ferries between the dock here and Gordon, Ontario, near Amherstburg. [HMC]

1879. C. L. Dunbar, engineer on the Canada Southern, had just backed his locomotive upon the wharf at Stoney Island in readiness to attach it to the train due from the East at 8:20 p.m. when he was startled by the appearance of a vivid flash of fire upon Fox Island. It blazed up and burned, and at first thought regarded it as an immense bonfire, kindled by fishermen. The island is from one to two miles distance from the Canada Southern railroad crossing at Grosse Ile. In a few seconds came the shock of the explosion which shook the stout railroad wharf until everything quivered.

Mr. Fitzgibbons, operator in the Canada Southern telegraph office at the ferry landing on Stoney Island, was alarmed for the safety of his cabin which partly projected over the water. It swayed and creaked, the timbers yielded and parted, and the wires were tightened to such an extent that he expected to see the whole structure go by the board. The report of the explosion, loud and terrific, followed almost instantly, and for the time being it was supposed to be the result of an earthquake. The train dispatcher's office of the Canada Southern at Slocum's Junction, was also shook up to an alarming degree by the force of the explosion. [DFP-1879-1213]

1880. The Canada Southern railway had an operator at Stoney Island. [DFP-1880-1110]

1883. Ferry service to Canada is discontinued. It is moved to Detroit and Windsor. It was operated only 10 years. [HMC]

1905. The two westerly bridge spans were removed on the order of the Department of War. [HMC]

1913. The remaining four bridge spans are removed. [HMC]