Archive for Thursday, February 7, 2008

Streets owe due to Henry Dohrn

February 7, 2008

Many times people ask me about old timers that influenced Lansing's history. When we moved into our house on Lois Street in 1951, it was before the town had incorporated. The roads were maintained by Delaware Township. There were only two other houses on our street then. Everything else was either orchards or cornfields.

Our street was nothing more than a dirt road, and after a good rain was nothing but mud and many times we had to park along the highway and walk home. This makes me think about Henry Dohrn who worked for the township grading roads and town streets.

We wanted our road improved, and those of us who lived here contributed about $25 each for rock. I remember talking to Henry Dohrn about that, and he told me, "A road is no better than its ditches, and every road should have a crown."

He got the job of fixing our street and with his road grader he worked about three days from the highway to Second Street. He built a high crown and deep ditches then covered the road with rock. It was a great improvement. Our street has changed over the years due to resurfacing, but the water still runs away from the center to the ditches.

Henry Dohrn was a big man who would tackle big jobs. Besides working on roads he hauled rock in his big dump truck and also moved houses and buildings from one place to another. If my memory is right, he moved the building from Fairmount to Lansing to replace the Baptist Church that had been destroyed by fire.

I loved talking to him. He lived in the corner house on what is now First and Kay streets, and I spent much time on his back porch asking questions about our property. He knew all about that as he had helped his son build the foundation.

When you travel a country road and come to a wet spot, check out the ditches and the crown. More than likely there will be none.

Just remember what Henry said: "A road is no better then its crown and ditches."

- For past columns by Gene Young, visit


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