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GRAFTON - The City of Grafton unveiled a replica of the Dinky rail bus to a large, enthusiastic crowd at the Grafton Visitor’s Center and Museum on Saturday, June 4, 2022.

Mayor Mike Morrow, who presided over the ceremony, called upon Alton’s Honorable Mayor Reverend David Goins for the Invocation. Mayor Morrow led the group in singing the National Anthem. He then gave a brief history of how the Dinky replica came to rest in Grafton.

From 1939 until 1953, the Dinky traveled its rails beside the Mississippi between Alton and Grafton, connecting all stops along the way in less than half an hour. Reversed by a man-powered turntable near the Loading Dock, it would head back to Alton.

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“We are happy to see such a great turnout today,” Alderman Jim Spencer, a member of the Dinky Restoration Committee, said. “Many people have moved this project forward over the last ten years to its dedication today.”

“Isn’t it true that all good stories start with Ben Allen?” asked Morrow. He then explained how ten years ago, Mr. Allen found the Dinky parts in Butte, Montana and an empty bus shell in California. All were shipped to Grafton and the fledgling project was born, with many Grafton residents and talented artisans working together to complete the project.

City Hospitality Director, Rod Jackson, shared short historical vignettes that were corroborated by several attendees who rode the Dinky as youngsters in its heyday. Mrs. Louise Lenkman, Project Manager for the Museum, and Mrs. Bobbie Amburg, former City mayor and Grafton Historical Society President, were on hand to guide visitors through museum exhibits. Committee members wearing red railroad scarves were present to assist guests.

The Dinky is on permanent display and visitors are welcome.

(Photos provided by Dave Sanford, City Photographer).

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