The Milwaukee & Northern Main Line – Fort Howard to the Menominee River

The Milwaukee & Northern (M&N) reached Fort Howard, Wisconsin, in 1874.

In 1881, the M&N laid 24.4 miles of track from Fort Howard to a point 1 mile south of Stiles, Wisconsin.

The M&N constructed 15.1 miles of their main line from a point 1 mile south of Stiles to Coleman, Wisconsin, in 1882.

In 1883, the M&N’s main line was extended from Coleman to Wausaukee, Wisconsin, a distance of 22.2 miles.

In 1884, 9.8 miles of track were laid from Wausaukee to Station 3790 (later Pike, Wis., now Amberg, Wis.).

The line was extended 20.12 miles from Station 3790 (later Pike, Wis., now Amberg, Wis.) to Station 4852, on the Menominee River (the border of Wisconsin and Michigan), in 1886.

In 1892, the M&N constructed the Wausaukee Branch, running 17.7 miles northwestward from Wausaukee, Wis., to Girard Junction, Wis.

The M&N became the Superior Division of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul (CM&StP), or Milwaukee Road (MILW), on 1 July 1893. It reorganized as the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific (CMStP&P) in 1928.

Almost all of this portion of the former M&N main line is still active, operated by the Escanaba & Lake Superior (E&LS or ELS). The first three miles of this section, running from the Fox River to Bond St. in Fort Howard (now Green Bay), have been removed.

Fort Howard, Wis., was Milepost 114 on the M&N.

The station sign says Green Bay, but when the M&N built their depot here in 1874, this was Fort Howard. Fort Howard became part of Green Bay ca. 1895. I’m not sure if this was the original M&N depot, or a later depot built by the MILW. If it was the M&N depot, it was expanded at some point. This view is looking east, with the Ashland Ave./Hwy. 32 overpass in the background. Photograph by Larry Easton, co-founder of the MNRHS.

Cormier (Cormier Station), Wis., was Milepost 119 on the M&N.

Looking north along the former M&N main line from Glendale Ave. at Cormier (Cormier Station), Wis., on 28 October 2022. Cormier is now part of Howard, Wis. A couple of old maps depict the depot on the east side (right) of the main line, just north (beyond) the turnout for the passing siding. The M&N built a freight house here, to the left of the tracks, in 1889. It was razed circa September of 2013. Life Bridge Christian Church stands to the left. It was built on the former site of the Wheels n Motion roller skating rink. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

Looking south along the former M&N main line from Glendale Ave. at Cormier (Cormier Station), Wis., on 28 October 2022. Cormier is now part of Howard, Wis. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

Stiles Junction, Wis., was Milepost 141 on the M&N.

The station was listed as Grand Trunk Junction on an 1885 time table, because the intersecting line was laid by the St. Paul Eastern Grand Trunk Railway (StPEGT), operated by the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western (MLS&W), in 1882-3. The nearby community was originally known as Leightown, but was renamed Stiles Junction ca. 1882.

The circa 1882 former M&N/ Chicago & North Western (C&NW) union depot at Stiles Junction, Wis., circa the 1960s. This view is looking southward. Truth be told, I have not found definitive information to specify which railroad erected this union depot. The M&N and C&NW both reached Stiles Junction in 1882. The depot could have been built by either one of them, or both of them jointly. Photograph from the collection of Larry Easton, co-founder of the MNRHS.

The pathetic remnants of the circa 1882 former M&N/ Chicago & North Western (C&NW) union depot at Stiles Junction, Wis., on 18 June 2013. By April of 2015 this depot was gone. This view is looking southward. Truth be told, I have not found definitive information to specify which railroad erected this union depot. The M&N and C&NW both reached Stiles Junction in 1882. The depot could have been built by either one of them, or both of them jointly. Photograph by Richard Hopfensperger.

Lena, Wis., was Milepost 146 on the M&N, it was listed as Milepost 145 on later timetables.

The former M&N depot at Lena, Wis., ca. 1903. The J. N. Bassett elevator, toward the right, was completed in 1903. This view is looking southwest. Postcard from the MNRHS Archives.

Wausaukee, Wis., was Milepost 176 on the M&N, it was listed as Milepost 175 on later timetables.

The circa 1883 former M&N depot at Wausaukee, Wis., circa the 1960s, when it was owned by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific (CMStP&P), or Milwaukee Road (MILW). This view is looking southwest from the intersection of Main St./Hwy. 141 and Monroe Ave. Photograph from the collection of Larry Easton, co-founder of the MNRHS.

An E&LS train parallels Main St. (originally E. Railroad St.)/Hwy. 141 and crosses Monroe Ave. as it pulls 32 cars south via the former 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. 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 Ave. 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 1976 can be found at: http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=5431528. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

Cedarville, Wis., would have been circa Milepost 182 on the M&N.

The former MILW Cedarville, Wis., depot, now preserved at the Amberg Museum Complex, Amberg, Wis., on 1 October 2014. The depot was built by the MILW in 1915. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

The former MILW depot at Cedarville, Wis., in 1976. The depot was built by the MILW in 1915. This view is looking north. Slide of an unknown photographer from the MNRHS Archives.

Amberg (originally Pike), Wis., was Milepost 185 on the M&N.

Pembine Junction, Wis., was Milepost 193 (194 on some time tables) on the M&N.

After a brief pause and a horn blast, a Canadian National (CN) train, led by CN 5646, passes the union depot and crosses the junction with the E&LS, originally M&N, main line as it heads southwest via former Soo Line (SOO) rails at Pembine, Wis., on 30 September 2014. The current depot was built ca. 1887, when the SOO laid their tracks across the M&N main line. Some references state it was built in 1896, after the original depot was destroyed when a MILW train collided with a SOO train which was fouling the junction on 29 Jan. 1896. Other references state the damage to the original depot was repaired. One reference claims the depot was built in 1914. This union depot was wantonly destroyed by arson perpetrated by juvenile miscreants on 17 June 2019. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

The northwest side of the Pembine union depot at the junction of E&LS, originally M&N, and Canadian National (CN), former Soo Line (SOO), rails at Pembine, Wis., on 30 September 2014. The current depot was built ca. 1887, when the SOO laid their tracks across the M&N main line. Some references state it was built in 1896, after the original depot was destroyed when a MILW train collided with a SOO train which was fouling the junction on 29 Jan. 1896. Other references state the damage to the original depot was repaired. One reference claims the depot was built in 1914. This ca. 1887 union depot was wantonly destroyed by arson perpetrated by juvenile miscreants on 17 June 2019. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train crosses the junction with the CN, former SOO, rails as it heads northeast with 16 cars via the former M&N main line at Pembine, Wis., on 23 July 2021. The train was led by ELS 501, originally MILW 22. It is awesome to encounter a former MILW locomotive plying former MILW rails. The ca. 1887 union depot would have partially obscured this view of the train, until it was wantonly destroyed by arson perpetrated by juvenile miscreants on 17 June 2019. Photograph by Tom Bruss.