In the 1870s-1880s, Minneapolis was a rapidly expanding milling center. The industry expanded around St. Anthony Falls, which primarily made flour from wheat grown in the northern prairies. To market the product to the eastern markets, railroad shipments had to be made through Chicago.
Mill owners like the Pillsburys, Washburns, and others were at the mercy of the railroads through Chicago for shipping rates. Profits and expansion would only be possible by finding a way around the exorbitant rates. The solution would be to construct a railroad from Minneapolis to Sault St. Marie, Michigan and to Montreal and the eastern markets. This railroad would be called the Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie and Atlantic and quickly became known as "The Soo."
Construction started in Cameron, WI in 1884, extending west to Turtle Lake and east to Bruce. Our Barron County Historical Society Museum is located only one mile west of the beginning point of the Soo Line Railroad!
The Museum now houses a small Soo Line depot brought in from Cylon, WI. Many railroad artifacts are located inside the depot like lanterns, railroad tools, and a telegraph. Outside there is a railroad semaphore from Almena, a railroad crossing light, a switchstand, a motorcar (speeder), and baggage carts.
A Soo Line caboose will be a great addition to this collection!