Sunday, September 7, 2014

Dave's Depots -- Al's Annex or Was This the MILW in Wisconsin (almost)?

Al writes....

After another visit by Murphy to the house addition project (brand new Bosh dishwasher quit working) on the Tuesday before Labor Day the wife and I just needed to get away for a bit. We had a graduation/going away party to attend in a small town in Wisconsin on Sat. so we decided to just head north and wander for a couple of days.  Although this was not a station hunting trip, it presented the opportunity to spot a few depots.

We left late in the afternoon so our first stop was in New Glarus. The depot here was on MILW branch from Broadhead. It now serves as the head house for the Sugar River bike trail on that ROW and as the New Glarus Chamber of Commerce office. It was built in 1887 and its wood construction presents a typical station profile,

The station's interior has been nicely restored and the station is on the national register of historic places.

The Swiss references in the interior relates to New Glarus' reputation as Little Switzerland.

Nearby is Mineral Point, said to be the birthplace of Wisconsin as the first Governor was sworn in here. This place has had a bit of fascination to me as in the 50's Model Railroader ran a series on building a model railroad theamed around the turn of the last century. The name of the Railroad was the Mineral Point & Northern.  Once again the town was on the end of a Milwaukee Road branch line.  However the station is very different from New Glarus.It was built in 1856 by the Mineral Point railroad.  Being built before the use of train orders for train control it does not have the usual station outline with a bay window for the operator. Pre Civil War depots are somewhat rare in the Midwest.

 The interior has been refurbished and is home to the Mineral Point Railway Historical Society ($5 admission, no cameras allowed). Unfortunately it was closed on Wednesday.

Next we encounter the La Crosse.The depot was built in 1927 by the Milwaukee. Due to mergers and acquisitions it passed to the Soo and then the CP. The depot is active for Amtrak as well as the local crew transport service. The Empire Builder stops here twice daily.

The interior was renovated in 1997 and is very attractive.

 Also of interest in La Crosse is Copeland Park.

Several artifacts are stuffed and mounted here.  Largest is Big Alice or CB&Q 4000.  As I recall this is the only Q Hudson that was built by the Q in West Burlington.  

In spite of the missing headlight and Mars light and the primer on the cab she appears to be in fairly good shape.

Also in the park are this caboose of unknown (to me at least) heritage and the Grand Crossing tower that once protected the CB&Q/MILW crossing.


Our next stop was Red Wing, Minnesota not Wisconsin. We were treated two stations here.  The first like La Crosse was a former Milw/Soo now CP Amtrak stop.

The station, built in 1905 also serves as a visitor center for the City of Red Wing and is in very good shape.

The second station in town is a former CGW building serving the abandoned branch that ended here in Red Wing. Built in 1906, the building now serves as a Caribou Coffee restaurant. The operator's bay window now serves as the drive through window.

Our final entry is the Former Milwaukee Road depot in Horicon Wi. It currently serves the Wisconsin and Southern.  It was raining cats and dogs when I was here so there is only this single photo.

But the surprise here was this string of sad looking former C&NW gallery cars.

1 comment:

Patrick Cunningham, CISM, CDPSE, FAI said...

The gallery cars are probably being refurbed by Wisconsin & Southern for other commuter lines. Been there for a while.