D. C. Jesse Burkhardt first encountered the Ann Arbor Railroad when he visited Frankfort, Michigan, in 1969. The community, the railroad, and the car ferries it served sparked a strong connection. Burkhardt, born in Jackson, Michigan, graduated from Jackson Community College in his hometown and later from the University of Oregon. He served as an editor with four community newspapers in the Pacific Northwest over twenty-three years. Burkhardt “semi-retired” in 2017, and currently works for a private contractor transporting train crews for BNSF in Washington. He has published several books on railroad history, including The Ann Arbor Railroad for Arcadia Publishing in 2005.