Thunder Butte

March 18, 2014

Building the Railroad Near Dupree

Building the Railroad Near Dupree, December 16, 1910

Here is an interesting photo showing work in progress on the Milwaukee Road railroad line as it neared Dupree, South Dakota, on December 16, 1910. If you click on the photo to see a larger version and inspect it carefully, you can actually see that the rail cars on the tracks adjacent to the work site are stacked with metal rails and wooden ties to be laid underneath the tracks. If this is the same branch line that led to the first train entering Faith on January 6, 1911 -- and I believe that it is -- then the work must have been relatively non-stop. The men laying down the tracks would have had to cover over 22 miles in less than three weeks time. Was covering this distance with new rail tracks possible in that amount of time? Across relatively flat terrain, yes. When the first transcontinental railway was constructed in the 1860's, a couple of records were set when eight miles of track were laid in a single day and later, in 1869, when ten miles of track were laid in one day.

--Mike Crowley
Mike Crowley Tuesday, March 18, 2014 | (0) comments |

March 16, 2014

First Train to Faith

First Train to Stop at Faith, January, 6, 1911

Here's an interesting photo of the first train to stop at Faith, South Dakota, after the establishment of the new end of the line. In its heyday, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, which was usually referred to as the Milwaukee Road, stretched from Chicago and the Great Lakes to Washington State. Various branch lines, including the one that ran to Faith, were important conduits of immigrants anxious to take up ranching and farming in the Dakotas. These lines also replaced cattle drives as an inexpensive way to ship cattle off to market back east.

The new town of Faith reportedly got its name because "Faith" was one of the daughters of an important Milwaukee Road investor. Construction of the branch line took place in 1910, and then the first train pictured in the photo above arrived on January 6, 1911. It's not clear whether the people pictured in the photo are the first group of immigrants to arrive in Faith via train. However, subsequent trains brought many more people who helped to settle the town and nearby homesteads.

--Mike Crowley

(Editor's Note--Apologies for my absence of over a year. I offer none but the typical excuses: career, family, a move, etc.)
Mike Crowley Sunday, March 16, 2014 | (0) comments |