Reminders of the Milwaukee & Northern Main Line - Fort Howard to the Menominee River

The 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).

Howard, Wis., was not a station on the M&N. The portion of Howard where these photographs were captured would have been circa Milepost 121.

An E&LS train, led by ELS 502, crosses Velp Ave./Hwy. HS at Howard, Wis., on 23 April 2021. These rails were laid sometime after 1982 and connect the former M&N main line (just out-of-frame to the right) to the Canadian National (CN), former Chicago & North Western (C&NW), rails on the opposite (east) side of Howard Industrial Park. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train, led by ELS 502, parallels Velp Ave./Hwy. HS as it heads north at Howard, Wis., on 23 April 2021. The locomotive is approaching the turnout to return to the former M&N main line. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train, led by ELS 502, parallels Velp Ave./Hwy. HS and crosses Lineville Rd./Hwy. M as it heads north via the former M&N main line at Howard, Wis., on 23 April 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

Tremble, Wis., was Milepost 124 on the M&N.

An E&LS train, led by ELS 502, crosses Hwy. B and begins to parallel Lark Rd. as it heads north with 21 cars via the former M&N main line at Tremble, Wis., on 23 April 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

Sobieski, Wis., would have been circa Milepost 130 on the M&N.

Sobieski was not a station on the M&N. The station was established by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul (CM&StP), or Milwaukee Road (MILW), in 1894.

An E&LS train, led by ELS 502, crosses Hwy. S as it heads north with 21 cars via the former M&N main line at Sobieski, Wis., on 23 April 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

Abrams, Wis., was Milepost 134 on the M&N.

An E&LS train, led by ELS 502, crosses Main St., passes Abrams Feed & Grain, and crosses Cedar St. as it heads north with 21 cars via the former M&N main line at Abrams, Wis., on 23 April 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

Stiles, Wis., was Milepost 139 on the M&N.

An E&LS train, led by ELS 502, parallels Hwy. 141 and approaches Chicken Shack Rd. as it heads north with 21 cars via the former M&N main line at Stiles, Wis., on 23 April 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train, led by ELS 502, parallels Hwy. 141 and crosses Chicken Shack Rd. as it heads north with 21 cars via the former M&N main line at Stiles, Wis., on 23 April 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

Lena (originally Maple Valley), Wis., was Milepost 146 on the M&N.

An E&LS train, led by ELS 502, crosses W. Main St./Hwy. A as it heads north with 21 cars via the former M&N main line at Lena, Wis., on 23 April 2021. A 1912 map depicts the depot near the right edge of the scene, north of W. Main St./Hwy. A, west of the main line. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train, led by ELS 502, approaches W. Pelkey St. as it heads north with 21 cars via the former M&N main line at Lena, Wis., on 23 April 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

Coleman, Wis., was Milepost 153 on the M&N.

An E&LS train, led by ELS 502, passes the station sign, parallels S. Railway Ave. and S. Franklin Ave., and approaches W. Main St./Hwy. B as it heads north with 21 cars via the former M&N main line at Coleman, Wis., on 23 April 2021. A 1912 map depicts the depot right about where the station sign is. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train, led by ELS 502, crosses W. Main St./Hwy. B as it heads north with 21 cars via the former M&N main line at Coleman, Wis., on 23 April 2021. The depot would probably have been partially visible to the right. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train, led by ELS 502, passes Veterans Park and crosses the Little Peshtigo River via a 1902 masonry/concrete arch bridge as it heads north with 18 cars via the former M&N main line at Coleman, Wis., on 23 April 2021. It had just set out a couple of cars at United Co-op. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

The E&LS, former Milwaukee Road (MILW), bridge over the Little Peshtigo River at Coleman, Wis., on 1 January 2021. The 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 (which stood behind me on the opposite side of Bus. 141). The community was referred to as Little River, but is now part of Coleman. The railroad construction camp was 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 locals have affixed a plaque claiming it to be the “Joseph Brault Memorial Bridge 1824-1887.” Joseph Urgel Brault is considered, by some, to be the founder of the Village of Coleman, Wis., in 1870, but doesn’t appear to have had anything to do with this bridge specifically or the railroad in general. Some references claim that the village was originally named Braultville and later changed to Coleman. Others claim that it has always been Coleman, named for a man who owned a lot of the land. Another reference asserts that Coleman and the neighboring village of Pound were named for US Representative Thaddeus Coleman Pound. He served on a committee which considered railroad land grants. One reference claims August Beaudry “to be the real founder of [Coleman].” He built a boarding house/store/saloon near the railroad right-of-way ca. 1881 as the railroad approached what is now Coleman. The original Brault settlement was about 2 miles east of Coleman, where Hwy. B crosses the Little Peshtigo River. Referred to as Braultville (some references claim officially, others unofficially), it has also been referred to as East Coleman. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

Pound, Wis., was Milepost 156 on the M&N.

An E&LS train, led by ELS 502, crosses Main St./Hwy. Q as it heads north with 18 cars via the former M&N main line at Pound, Wis., on 23 April 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

Beaver, Wis., was Milepost 159 on the M&N.

An E&LS train, led by ELS 502, approaches Hwy. P as it heads north with 18 cars via the former M&N main line at Beaver, Wis., on 23 April 2021. The old foundation might be the remains of one of two potato warehouses built in the early 1900s. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

Crivitz, Wis., was Milepost 165 on the M&N.

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

ELS 402 and ELS 502 pass the former 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. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

ELS 502 approaches Henriette Ave. as it sorts cars at the former 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 momentarily fouls Henriette Ave./Hwy. W as it sorts cars at the former M&N yard at Crivitz (originally Ellis Junction), Wis., on 9 January 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

ELS 502 passes Crivitz Community Veteran’s Park, including an M-60A3, as it sorts cars at the former M&N yard at Crivitz (originally Ellis Junction), Wis., on 9 January 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

ELS 502 passes the former 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. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

The west and south walls of the former 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 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. 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. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train, led by ELS 402, rests on the south leg of the wye near the former M&N depot 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. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

The west and south walls of the former 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. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

The south and east walls of the former 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. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

The east and north walls of the former 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. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

Looking north along the former M&N main line from Hall Ave. toward an approaching E&LS 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. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train passes the former 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. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train crosses Hall Ave. as it heads south via the former 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. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train shoves a cut of cars past the former 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. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train shoves a cut of cars past Spur St. at the former 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. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

Middle Inlet, Wis., was Milepost 169 on the M&N.

An E&LS train, led by ELS 402 and ELS 502, crosses Hwy. X as it heads north with 26 cars via the former M&N main line at Middle Inlet, Wis., on 9 January 2021. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

Wausaukee, Wis., was Milepost 176 on the M&N.

An 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 M&N main line at Wausaukee, Wis., on 9 January 2021.

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.

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

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

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

An E&LS train approaches Coleman Rd. as it pulls 32 cars southeast via the former 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 main line on the north side of Coleman Ave. It has been moved to Amberg Museum Complex, about 2-1/2 blocks to the southwest. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

An E&LS train crosses Amberg Rd. as it pulls 32 cars southeast via the former 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 main line on the north side of Coleman Ave. 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. Photograph by Tom Bruss.

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

An E&LS train, led by ELS 402 and ELS 502, crosses Hwy. 8 as it heads northeast with 26 cars via the former 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. Photograph by Tom Bruss.