Gifts to Mid-Continent

The vision of Mid-Continentís founders to restore a single steam locomotive and a few coaches in which to give train rides was pretty modest by todayís standards. Their image of a small operating museum has grown over the years into the experience we all now enjoy at our North Freedom location, where the era of vintage train travel remains an exciting adventure. Ticket and gift shop sales have never been enough to keep these trains rolling. It takes the charitable support of members and friends to cover the huge costs of being one of the most respected museums for the preservation of our railroad heritage.

Please join us by making your own contribution to one of the museum programs listed below. Every donation is acknowledged with a formal receipt affirming your financial support as fully tax deductible. Donations can be made by clicking the Donate Now button, mailing in a printable donation form, or calling the museum office. Instructions are provided below the list of donation options.

Mid-Continent is a not-for-profit, educational entity, incorporated in the state of Wisconsin and accredited by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) organization.

SORRY! The online donation system is not currently available. In the meantime, please use our printable donation form. Scroll down for more details. Thank you!


C&NW No. 1385 Steam Locomotive

Gifts to this fund will benefit the restoration of the former Chicago & North Western No. 1385 to full working order. When complete you will be able to enjoy a train ride powered by this 1907 built ten-wheeler, famous for its goodwill tours of the 1980s.

C&NW 1385 being worked on

Volunteers at work on C&NW No. 1385.

Steam Fund

Gifts to this fund benefit Mid-Continent's steam engine restoration program without limiting the gift to a particular locomotive. This allows museum management the discretion to use the funds as needed on projects such as restoring to operation Chicago & North Western No. 1385, Saginaw Timber Company No. 2, and Western Coal & Coke No. 1.

Please Note: To make a gift to a specific locomotive other than C&NW 1385, please use the Steam Fund donation option and then be sure to type the locomotive's name and number in the comment box to let us know which locomotive you wish to support.

Saginaw Timber Company No. 2 undergoing restoration work.

Wood Car Restoration

A tour through the Coach Shed is the best way to experience the stunning success achieved in restoring Mid-Continent’s wooden car collection. There are many more pieces on our property in need of this same type of treatment and gifts to this fund help us to revitalize the marvelous craftsmanship hidden beneath the age and deterioration of these once marvelous relics.

C-74 receiving repairs in Car Shop

Car Shop volunteers prepare a caboose built in 1924 for repainting.


Mid-Continent’s charitable status is based on its role in sharing information about the railroad history of the upper Midwest during the Golden Age of Railroads, 1880 – 1916. We do this through the publication of our quarterly magazine, the Mid-Continent Railway Gazette, our annual calendar, this website, and in various exhibits using items from our archival collection. Gifts to this fund help to insure that these products continue to reveal the wonders of our past at the highest quality possible.

Members installing displays in depot

Display cases being installed in the depot waiting room.

Dining Services

Guests can travel in style on board a diner/lounge or private business car as part of the museum’s First Class and Dinner services provided during a few of our special events. Care of these railroad cars, plus the enhancement of their furniture and fixtures, incur costs that exceed the revenues generated through ticket sales, even though we charge a premium fare. Gifts help us to further enhance the beauty and elegance of these cars for a more historic and a more pleasurable experience.

C&NW #440 observation room

The lounge area of Chicago & North Western #440, a former business car built in 1929 now used by Dining Services.


The least glamorous aspect of our work is the maintenance of a significant infrastructure consisting of track, bridges, buildings, highway crossings, signals, lighting, sewer and water lines. But these are the things that make our operation safe and comfortable for the benefit of museum guests and volunteers. Even a virtual Tour of the Grounds will impart a fair idea how extensive this capital investment has become. Gifts made to this fund will help us maintain the things we often take for granted but serve to create the image of an early 20th Century rail yard.

Balast spreading machine

New ballast being spread on Mid-Continent's track.

General Fund

Sometimes the most powerful gift is the one that is made without restriction. The General Fund was established to allow museum management the discretion to use its unrestricted gifts where they are most needed. Your gifts to this fund will help us meet the most pressing need.

Wheelchair lift being repaired

Repairs being made to Mid-Continent's wheelchair lift.


If you have a different project that you would like to support that is not listed here and is not available via our online donation system, please either contact our office or use the printable donation form and write in the project of your choosing.

Mid-Continent Logo

Donate by Check

If you prefer to donate by check, please fill out the printable donation form for the desired purpose(s) and mail it along with your check to:

Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society
PO Box 358
North Freedom, WI 53951

Please feel free to call our office using our toll free number, 800-930-1385, if you have any questions about the best way to support the museum. Your charitable gift will be used entirely as you direct or, if left unrestricted, where we have the greatest need.