Reminders of the Milwaukee & Northern Main Line - Green Bay to the Menominee River

The Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) reached Green Bay, Wis., in 1873, where their first train arrived on 19 June. In 1874, they constructed a bridge to cross the Fox River in order to extend their tracks from Green Bay into Fort Howard, Wis. In 1881, they laid 24.4 miles of track from Fort Howard to a point 1 mile south of Stiles, Wis. They constructed 15.1 miles of their main line from a point 1 mile south of Stiles, Wis., to Coleman, Wis., in 1882. In 1883, their line was extended from Coleman to Wausaukee, Wis., a distance of 22.2 miles. In 1884, 9.8 miles of track were laid from Wausaukee to Pike, Wis. (now Amberg, Wis.). The line was extended 20.12 miles from Pike to Station 4852, on the Menominee River (the border of Wisconsin and Michigan), in 1886. This portion of the former M&N main line is operated by the Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS or ELS).

ELS 502 works the former M&N yard at Crivitz, Wis., on 9 January 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS) ELS 502 passes the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) depot as it sorts cars in the yard at Crivitz (originally Ellis Junction), Wis., on 9 January 2021. I am nearly certain that this is the depot built by the M&N when the line was laid in 1883. That is, I haven’t found any indication that the original depot was replaced.

Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS) ELS 502 passes Crivitz Community Veteran’s Park, including an M-60A3, as it sorts cars at the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) yard at Crivitz (originally Ellis Junction), Wis., on 9 January 2021.

ELS 502 works the former M&N yard at Crivitz, Wis., on 9 January 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

ELS 502 works the former M&N yard at Crivitz, Wis., on 9 January 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS) ELS 502 momentarily fouls Henriette Ave./Hwy. W as it sorts cars at the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) yard at Crivitz (originally Ellis Junction), Wis., on 9 January 2021.

Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS) ELS 502 approaches Henriette Ave. as it sorts cars at the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) yard at Crivitz (originally Ellis Junction), Wis., on 9 January 2021. The forlorn Derail sign to the right stands as a reminder that four tracks used to cross Henriette Ave. at this spot, these two tracks parallel to the west side of the main line as well as another one running parallel along the east side.

ELS 502 works the former M&N yard at Crivitz, Wis., on 9 January 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

ELS 402 and ELS 502 work the former M&N yard at Crivitz, Wis., on 9 January 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS) ELS 402 and ELS 502 pass the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) depot as they work the yard at Crivitz (originally Ellis Junction), Wis., on 9 January 2021. I am nearly certain that this is the depot built by the M&N when the line was laid in 1883. That is, I haven’t found any indication that the original depot was replaced.

Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS) ELS 402 and ELS 502 cross Henriette Ave./Hwy. W as they shove a cut of loaded pulpwood cars at the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) yard at Crivitz (originally Ellis Junction), Wis., 9 January 2021.

ELS 402 and ELS 502 work the former M&N yard at Crivitz, Wis., on 9 January 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train heads north via the former M&N main line at Middle Inlet, Wis., on 9 January 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS) train, led by ELS 402 and ELS 502, crosses Hwy. X as it heads north with 26 cars via the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) main line at Middle Inlet, Wis., on 9 January 2021.

An Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS) train, led by ELS 402 and ELS 502, passes the Wausaukee Ranger Station and crosses Division St. as it heads northwest with 26 cars via former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) main line at Wausaukee, Wis., on 9 January 2021.

An E&LS train heads northwest via the former M&N main line at Wausaukee, Wis., on 9 January 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train heads northeast via the former M&N main line at Pembine, Wis., on 9 January 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS) train, led by ELS 402 and ELS 502, crosses Hwy. 8 as it heads northeast with 26 cars via the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) main line at Pembine, Wis., on 9 January 2021. Seeing as the sun made an unexpected, albeit brief, late afternoon appearance, I wanted to carefully choose a spot to shoot this train. Unfortunately, this E&LS crew reached Pembine before I could make up my mind. My only option was this spray-and-pray shot from the parking lot of the BP station, where I made a pit stop to purchase the (hopefully) winning ticket for the Powerball drawing that night. Needless to say, that was also a failure.

An Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS) train, led by ELS 402, rests on the south leg of the wye at the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) yard at Crivitz (originally Ellis Junction), Wis., on 1 January 2021. This is the southwestern corner of the large wye formed by the junction of the main line, running north-south in front of the depot, and the Menominee Branch running southeastward to Menominee, Mich., behind the depot. The locomotive was idling and the headlights were on (dimmed), so I thought it was ready to go somewhere. Sadly, it was not to be. In the background to the right, ELS 503 rests in the yard. The former M&N depot stands at the far right. I am nearly certain that this is the depot built by the M&N when the line was laid in 1883. That is, I haven’t found any indication that the original depot was replaced.

An E&LS train rests at the former M&N yard at Crivitz, Wis., on 1 January 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train rests near the former M&N depot at Crivitz, Wis., on 1 January 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

The west and south walls of the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) depot at Crivitz (originally Ellis Junction), Wis, on 1 January 2021. I am nearly certain that this is the depot built by the M&N when the line was laid in 1883. That is, I haven’t found any indication that the original depot was replaced. It is currently used by the Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS or ELS). This is the southwestern corner of the large wye formed by the junction of the main line, running north-south in front of the depot, and the Menominee Branch running southeastward to Menominee, Mich., behind the depot. To the right, an E&LS train, led by ELS 402, rests on the south leg of the wye. The locomotive was idling and the headlights were on (dimmed), so I thought it was ready to go somewhere. Sadly, it was not to be. I like this scene because it almost looks like the train could be moving and approaching the depot.

The Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS or ELS), former Milwaukee Road (MILW), bridge over the Pike River at Dave’s Falls County Park, Town of Amberg, Marinette County, Wis., on 1 January 2021. These rails were originally laid by the Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) in 1884. This deck plate girder bridge was built by the Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. in 1902 for the MILW.

The former M&N main line crosses the Pike River at the Town of Amberg, Marinette Co., Wis., as seen on 1 January 2021.  Photograph by Tom Bruss.

The former M&N main line crosses the Pike River at the Town of Amberg, Marinette Co., Wis., as seen on 1 January 2021.  Photograph by Tom Bruss.

The Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS or ELS), former Milwaukee Road (MILW), bridge over the Pike River at Dave’s Falls County Park, Town of Amberg, Marinette County, Wis., on 1 January 2021. These rails were originally laid by the Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) in 1884. This deck plate girder bridge was built by the Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. in 1902 for the MILW.

The Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS or ELS), former Milwaukee Road (MILW), bridge over the Little Peshtigo River at Coleman, Wis., on 1 January 2021. These rails were originally laid by the Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) in 1883. This masonry/concrete arch bridge was built in 1902 for the MILW. A small community sprouted up near this bridge site in 1880, around the Waldron Dickinson Co. (later Marshall Holmes Co., later E. E. Bolles Co.) sawmill. The community was referred to as Little River, but is now part of Coleman. The railroad construction camp was also located near this site. The Marshall Spur connected the sawmill to the M&N main line. The sawmill closed in 1911 after the local timber supply was exhausted.

The former M&N main line crosses the Little Peshtigo River at Coleman, Wis., as seen on 1 January 2021.  Photograph by Tom Bruss.

The former M&N main line crosses the Little Peshtigo River at Coleman, Wis., as seen on 1 January 2021.  Photograph by Tom Bruss.

The Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS or ELS), former Milwaukee Road (MILW), bridge over the Little Peshtigo River at Coleman, Wis., on 1 January 2021. These rails were originally laid by the Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) in 1883. This masonry/concrete arch bridge was built in 1902 for the MILW. A small community sprouted up near this bridge site in 1880, around the Waldron Dickinson Co. (later Marshall Holmes Co., later E. E. Bolles Co.) sawmill. The community was referred to as Little River, but is now part of Coleman. The railroad construction camp was also located near this site. The Marshall Spur connected the sawmill to the M&N main line. The sawmill closed in 1911 after the local timber supply was exhausted.

The west and south walls of the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) depot at Crivitz (originally Ellis Junction), Wis, on 27 November 2020. I am nearly certain that this is the depot built by the M&N when the line was laid in 1883. That is, I haven’t found any indication that the original depot was replaced. It is currently used by the Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS or ELS). This is the southwestern corner of the large wye formed by the junction of the main line, running north-south in front of the depot, and the Menominee Branch running southeastward to Menominee, Mich., behind the depot.

The former M&N depot at Crivitz, Wis., on 27 November 2020. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

The former M&N depot at Crivitz, Wis., on 27 November 2020. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

The south and east walls of the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) depot at Crivitz (originally Ellis Junction), Wis, on 27 November 2020. I am nearly certain that this is the depot built by the M&N when the line was laid in 1883. That is, I haven’t found any indication that the original depot was replaced. It is currently used by the Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS or ELS). This is the southwestern corner of the large wye formed by the junction of the main line, running north-south in front of the depot, and the Menominee Branch running southeastward to Menominee, Mich., behind the depot.

The east and north walls of the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) depot at Crivitz (originally Ellis Junction), Wis, on 27 November 2020. I am nearly certain that this is the depot built by the M&N when the line was laid in 1883. That is, I haven’t found any indication that the original depot was replaced. It is currently used by the Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS or ELS). This is the southwestern corner of the large wye formed by the junction of the main line, running north-south in front of the depot, and the Menominee Branch running southeastward to Menominee, Mich., behind the depot.

The former M&N depot at Crivitz, Wis., on 27 November 2020. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train heads southeast via the former M&N main line at Amberg, Wis., on 27 November 2020. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS or ELS) train crosses Amberg Rd. as it pulls 32 cars southeast via the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) main line at Amberg (originally Pike), Wis., on 27 November 2020. The train is led by ELS 501, built in July of 1973 as Milwaukee Road MILW 22. It is a treat to encounter a former MILW locomotive plying former MILW rails. The depot stood east (right) of the tracks near Coleman Rd. It has been moved to Amberg Museum Complex, about 2-1/2 blocks to the southwest. Part of the Mathis Hardware & Lumber, Inc., facility stands to the right. The business dates to December of 1946, when James D. Mathis established a hardware and feed store here. The company is currently owned and managed by his son and grandson. The facility used to receive rail service, but it doesn’t look like it has for quite a while. When I was here in 2014, there was still a spur hidden in the grass next to the facility. I forgot to look to see if it was still there today.

An Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS or ELS) train approaches Coleman Rd. as it pulls 32 cars southeast via the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) main line at Amberg (originally Pike), Wis., on 27 November 2020. The train is led by ELS 501, built in July of 1973 as Milwaukee Road MILW 22. It is a treat to encounter a former MILW locomotive plying former MILW rails. The depot stood east (right) of the tracks near Coleman Rd. It has been moved to Amberg Museum Complex, about 2-1/2 blocks to the southwest.

An E&LS train heads southeast via the former M&N main line at Amberg, Wis., on 27 November 2020. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train heads south via the former M&N main line at Wausaukee, Wis., on 27 November 2020. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS or ELS) train parallels Main St. (originally E. Railroad St.)/Hwy. 141 and crosses Monroe St. as it pulls 32 cars south via the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) main line at Wausaukee, Wis., on 27 November 2020. The train is led by ELS 501, built in July of 1973 as Milwaukee Road MILW 22. It is a treat to encounter a former MILW locomotive plying former MILW rails. The interesting, old, white building partially visible beyond the second bulkhead flatcar and adjoining pulpwood car is the historic Hotel Wausaukee. Erected in 1889, many M&N, and later MILW, passengers undoubtedly stayed there. Extensively altered over the years, it is currently home to Graphic Impressions Photography. Some interesting information regarding the structure’s history can be found at: http://www.hotelwausaukee.com/. An ice house once stood between the train and Main St./Hwy. 141. If the depot still stood, it would probably be partially visible at the right edge of the scene. It stood west of the rails south of Monroe St. At least one internet reference states the depot still exists, in private ownership. Either their information is not current or the depot has been moved. An awesome view of this scene from 44 years ago can be found at: http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=5431528.

Looking north along the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) main line from Hall Ave. toward an approaching Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS or ELS) train at Crivitz (originally Ellis Junction), WI, on 27 November 2020. I am nearly certain that this is the depot built by the M&N when the line was laid in 1883. That is, I haven’t found any indication that the original depot was replaced. It is currently used by the E&LS. This is the southwestern corner of the large wye formed by the junction of the main line, running north-south in front of the depot, and the Menominee Branch running southeastward to Menominee, Mich., behind the depot.

An E&LS train approaches the former M&N depot at Crivitz, Wis., on 27 November 2020. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train passes the former M&N depot at Crivitz, Wis., on 27 November 2020. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS) train passes the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) depot at Crivitz (originally Ellis Junction), Wis., on 27 November 2020. The train is led by ELS 501, built in July of 1973 as Milwaukee Road MILW 22. It is a treat to encounter a former MILW locomotive plying former MILW rails. I am nearly certain that this is the depot built by the M&N when the line was laid in 1883. That is, I haven’t found any indication that the original depot was replaced. This is the southwestern corner of the large wye formed by the junction of the main line, running north-south in front of the depot, and the Menominee Branch running southeastward to Menominee, Mich., behind the depot.

An Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS) train crosses Hall Ave. as it heads south via the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) main line at Crivitz (originally Ellis Junction), Wis., on 27 November 2020. The train is led by ELS 501, built in July of 1973 as Milwaukee Road MILW 22. It is a treat to encounter a former MILW locomotive plying former MILW rails.

An E&LS train crosses Hall Ave. via the former M&N main line at Crivitz, Wis., on 27 November 2020. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train passes the former M&N depot at Crivitz, Wis., on 27 November 2020. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS) train shoves a cut of cars past the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) depot at Crivitz (originally Ellis Junction), Wis., on 27 November 2020. The train is led by ELS 501, built in July of 1973 as Milwaukee Road MILW 22. It is a treat to encounter a former MILW locomotive plying former MILW rails. I am nearly certain that this is the depot built by the M&N when the line was laid in 1883. That is, I haven’t found any indication that the original depot was replaced. This is the southwestern corner of the large wye formed by the junction of the main line, running north-south in front of the depot, and the Menominee Branch running southeastward to Menominee, Mich., behind the depot.

An Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS) train shoves a cut of cars past Spur St. at the former Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) yard at Crivitz (originally Ellis Junction), Wis., on 27 November 2020. The train is led by ELS 501, built in July of 1973 as Milwaukee Road MILW 22. It is a treat to encounter a former MILW locomotive plying former MILW rails. This is the southwestern corner of the large wye formed by the junction of the main line, running north-south in front of the depot, and the Menominee Branch running southeastward to Menominee, Mich., behind the depot.

An E&LS train crosses Spur St. via former M&N rails at Crivitz, Wis., on 27 November 2020. Photograph by Tom Bruss.