Dryden, Michigan History
In 1834, the pioneers first settled at the corner of what is now Hollow Corners and Mill roads. A few years later, in about 1839, they began to build at its present location. Just as the location changed so did its name, first know as Amboy, then Lomond and finally in 1839, Dryden, after the English poet, John Dryden.
The first town meeting in Lomond was held on April 3, 1837, where 37 citizens cast their votes to elect officers, justices of the peace, constables and other necessary administrators. One of their first official acts was to order a bounty of two dollars for each wolf that was killed in the township.
A variety of businesses were built in the early years, including two blacksmith shops, a broom and ink factory, soap factory, millinery, tailor, wagon shop, and a tin shop that made pails and pans. In 1854, the Dryden Exchange hotel was built on the northeast corner of Main and Mill Streets. Later, in 1874, the Twin Elms House was built on the northwest corner. The first flour mill was built on the southwest corner of Mill and North Streets.
On of the most notable business was an apple dryer and cider mill located south of the Parker Block on Mill Street. Apples, purchased by the bushel from local farmers, were peeled, cored, dried and packed into boxes to be shipped. The dried cores and peels were sold as hog feed. In 1881, after only five years in business, the dryer burned down. Undaunted, the owner, Joseph Darwood, rebuilt the very same year.
In 1883, the P O & N railroad, which ran from Pontiac to Caseville, came through the village. This opened up more markets to the farmers in the area as well as offered transportation to the citizens.
The railroad through Dryden was built by the Pontiac, Oxford and Port Austin Railroad. Their line was completed in October 1883 between Pontiac and Caseville, to serve the thumb area's lumber industry. Its citizens, spurred by the Local Ladies Library Association, contributed $11,000 to help defer construction costs in order to bring the railroad to Dryden. On October 3, 1883 the Pontiac, Oxford, and Port Austin Railroad passenger train rolled into town. Over 500 spectators, the Thornville cornet band and a cannon were on hand to salute the train. In 1889 the railroad was reorganized as the Pontiac, Oxford and Northern. In 1910 the Grand Trunk took control. Regular passenger service lasted only until 1932. A mixed train ran until 1955. The line was abandoned in the 1970's.
The Dryden depot was used by the railroad until October 9, 1973. It was moved to its current location in Dryden in 1979, and two years later, opened as a museum. This depot is very similar to another PO&N-build depot in Kingston.