Shay Locomotive Coming to Michigan

Moving operations began in early October 2021 for the 36 ton Shay Locomotive C/N 2005 located outside the Forestry Building of Stephen F. Austin State University. Following its transport to northern Michigan, the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society will conduct much-needed renovations and eventually display the locomotive where it will introduce visitors to another one of the contributions of Ephraim Shay, inventor and Harbor Springs resident.

Built in 1907 by the Lima Locomotive and Machine Works of Lima, Ohio, C/N 2005 is a two-truck Shay which ferried countless loads of timber from East Texas forests to sawmills until the early 1920s. Originally owned by W. T. Carter and Brother Lumber Company, the locomotive was donated to the university in 1970.

Dr. Hans Williams, dean of SFA’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, said that the locomotive needs extensive repairs and renovation, but that the college is limited by the large cost of such operations. The Historical Society contacted the university in April to inquire about the possibility of transferring ownership of the artifact to the care of the society.

Since its founding in 1990, the historical society has focused on the acquisition and restoration of Ephraim Shay’s many artifacts, including the steel-clad Shay Hexagon House constructed in 1892, and the all-steel vessel, the Aha, built by Shay in 1894.

The historical society has began fundraising efforts and has enlisted the expertise of licensed engineers and historians to assist in the transportation and renovation of the locomotive. These efforts are estimated to take several years. Contributions to bring this piece of history to life are greatly appreciated.