From Prairie Sod to Campus Cornerstones

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The Dinkey, 1891-1907
The "Dinkey," 1891-1907

Ames and College Railway

Built: 1891


The Dinkey was a small steam engine that ran between downtown Ames and Iowa State College campus beginning July 4, 1891. Built by the A&C Railway as an alternative to the mud road previously used, the Dinkey delivered mail to the post office located inside the Hub, carried building materials used in constructing Marston Engineering Hall, the Campanile, and other campus buildings, and brought loads of boxes and scrap wood for the victory bonfires held after sporting events.

The fare was five cents each way and ran about every two hours beginning around 6 a.m. and ending about 9 p.m. The track began at the east end of downtown Ames, continued across Squaw Creek through the wooded lowland, and chugged up the hill to campus. The first stop was behind the Farm House, and the last stop was where the track ended in front of the Hub. The Dinkey ran until 1907 when it was replaced by an electric streetcar.

Additional images of the Dinkey

click for larger view

The Dinkey 01 The Dinkey The Dinkey
The Dinkey, no date. View of the Dinkey from Old Botany (now Catt Hall), no date. The Dinkey, no date.

History of Campus Buildings at Iowa State University

Comments: University Archives
Created by: Andrea Reis, Research/Technical Assistant & Jill Osweiler Schaefer, Special Collections Librarian

Updated by: Michele Christian, University Records Analyst