A little bit of history

Information about Lydick is ridiculously difficult to find. It's fairly easy to find history from Walkerton, North Liberty, and New Carlisle, but they are all considerably bigger than Lydick. Plus they happen to still be towns, whereas Lydick dropped off the map some time ago.

Lydick's former claim to existence was based on the South Shore Railroad (formerly Chicago Lake Shore & South Bend Railroad), which still runs through here. Supposedly, the South Shore used to stop here as well, though I've not yet found any documentation to support it. I figured that by researching the history of the South Shore RR, I might come up with something relevant to Lydick.

What I found is that there used to be another railroad running through Lydick as well as the South Shore and Norfolk Southern lines that are still in operation. The Northern Indiana Railroad was an electric commuter line that connected South Bend with cities in northern Indiana and southern Michigan. There is an old depot/electrical substation still standing in Lydick. The depot is visible from Edison Road, but is set back much farther than the homes along that street. I had noticed it a few months ago, but assumed it was an old warehouse. The photos below are courtesy of the NIRR page at www.monon.monon.org and show the depot in 1934 and as it is today.

I also found another bit of information about the Northern Indiana Railroad that is extremely pertinent to my house. The tracks used to run through my backyard. Seriously. I read on another website that the former right-of-way of the NIRR through Lydick is easy to find because it follows a certain set of utility lines. Those lines are less than 100 feet north of my house in a little strip of woods. We always thought that this so-called utility easement was a bit strange... All of the homes here were built in the early part of the 20th century, and none are as far apart as ours from our neighbors to the north. We assumed that the utility lines weren't here when the homes were built, and we couldn't figure out why there was such a large gap. Now we know.

I'm even more surprised now that our home is in as good of shape as it is. Even though the NIRR was shut down in 1934, that's at least 10 years of extremely close proximity to train vibrations. The South Shore and Norfolk Southern freight lines are about 500 yards to the south, and have been there since before the house was built. Thos tracks allow about 100 trains per day to barrel through Lydick, and our house shakes from almost every single one. I can't imagine what it must have felt like to have trains running through here:

In the picture, I'm standing at the side door. The woods are where the tracks used to be, and it's about 60 feet from our garage to the woods. Pretty amazing.


ben said...

The inter-urban used to run down the middle of the street in front of our house, a mere 20 some feet away. There are tales of farmer's herding the cows down our side street to load them up for sale in Indy. I figure the rumbling couldn't have been worse than the semi trucks that roar past now.

The Violet Lemon said...

The picture you have posted here of the Lydick Substation was my Great Grandparents home. They bought the building in the 1930's and all the property around it.Their names were William and Patience Hullinger Where the tracks ran, a tree shaded lane led to my Grandparents home at the end, which was a basement home. Their names were Donald and Victoria Hullinger. They all worked hard for years to gut the building of all the machinery and turn it into a home for the whole family. My Great Grandmother lived there for years after Great Grandpa died and she was a hard worker, even used to shovel coal and trek it up and down the basement stairs to light the furnace. She worked the land too. Sadly, when my Great Grandmother passed away in 1992, a family quarrel led to the sale of the home to a family in Lydick, who as far as I know still lives there today. Many happy memories of my young life, and generations of our family were raised in that house. It is my dream to reclaim this home back to the family. So much love and so many cherished moments there. Thank you for posting these pictures.