The Dinkey: Early Precursor to CyRide


The Dinkey traveling through campus with the Campanile in the background.

Visitors to Parks Library may have noticed the model of the Dinkey now on display on the first floor. The model is on loan from the Ames Historical Society through the end of this semester. If you are in Parks Library, you should stop by the model and discover more about an early method of transportation between Ames and Iowa State! The display is a short stop from the entrance, on your way to the Fireplace Reading Room or Bookends Cafe.

What was the Dinkey, you may ask?  The Dinkey was a small steam engine that took passengers between downtown Ames and Iowa State College. The engine ran from July 4, 1891 until 1907 when it was replaced by an electric streetcar. In 1891, the Dinkey was a welcome alternative to the  mud road which had previously been the primary route from downtown Ames to campus.

In conjunction with the display, this Monday, March 11 Ames native and Iowa State alum Douglas Biggs (associate professor of history at the University of Nebraska-Kearney) will be giving a talk about the Dinkey and Ames in the 1890s: “Iowa State College in the 1890s: A Visual History”. For more information, please visit the event details.


The Dinkey arriving at the Hub, which was then commonly called the “Dinkey Station.”

Interested in learning more about the Dinkey after attending the presentation or seeing the display on the first floor of Parks Library?  The Special Collections Department has a small exhibit on the Dinkey outside of our Reading Room, and we have a small file on the Dinkey in RS 4/8/4. More information on the Dinkey can also be found online here and the Hub here. Images of the Dinkey are also available online through Digital Collections.

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