A Mid-Continent Timeline
Compiled by Jim Neubauer from past issues of Railway Gazette, Mid-Continent's official newsmagazine.

April 29, 1959: Richard Hinebaugh, John Ford, Chet Kass, and Harold Olsen attempt to lease White Pass & Yukon 2-6-2 and track. Incorporate Railroad Historical Society of Milwaukee on April 29th as a not-for-profit organization.
November 1959: Consumers Company's donation of their locomotive #701 launches Mid-Continent Railway Museum. Search for home begins.
1960: Membership now at 18.
May 1960: Milwaukee & Suburban Transport Co. streetcar #978 donated.
1960: Badger #2 (donated by W.H. Knapp Co., railroad contractors) becomes first piece of passenger equipment. Membership jumps to 65. "Buy-a-Tie" program is launched.
1960: Thirty-ton Lima 2-6-0 located in Louisiana; scrap purchase bid made, engine is purchased.
January 1961: Twenty-nine members lend Mid-Continent $100 each to purchase #1385 from C&NW for scrap value. Mid-Continent moves Louisiana Cypress Lumber Company #2, called "Swamp Rabbit."
September 1961: East Jordan & Southern baggage/coach combination car #2 is purchased. Car later found to have been contemporary with Abraham Lincoln.
October 28, 1961: Agreement is signed with shortline Hillsboro & North Eastern, between Hillsboro and Union Center, Wisconsin. Equipment moves to Hillsboro.
March 24, 1962: Milwaukee Road waycar #01524 delivered to Mid-Continent in Madison. First restoration completed 56 days later. Calumet & Hecla caboose secured.
May 26, 1962: Mid-Continent Railway Museum finds temporary home on H&NE, operates first train with H&NE's Plymouth gas engine. Service opens with Milwaukee Road caboose #01524, EJ&S #2, Badger #2.
June 1962: Trains Magazine "Running Extra" column carries first ad: "May 27-Sept. 9: Mid-Continent Railway Museum will operate on tracks of H&NE Rwy. 35 miles from Baraboo and 40 miles from Wisconsin Dells, Wis. Ex-Milwaukee Road observation car 104 and cupola caboose No. 01524 will be used behind 1914 Alco 0-4-0 No. 701 each weekend from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (DST) until June 17, then daily as business warrants until Sept. 9 and weekends thereafter as long as weather permits. Copper Range combine 26 (sic) will be on property. For further information contact MCRM...."
February 10, 1963: Members approve corporate name change from Railway Historical Society of Milwaukee to Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society, Inc.
May 15, 1963: Mid-Continent Railway Museum buys Rattlesnake Spur from C&NW at North Freedom, with $25,000 worth of debenture bonds, moves from H&NE, starts operating season with #1385, EJ&S #2, MILW #01525, Badger #2 (numbered 104).
November 10, 1963: Dardanelle & Russellville #9 delivered on own wheels by C&NW and steamed November 15th. First depot fabricated in Madison and transported to Walnut Street site. It served until 1966.
1963: Wisconsin Central coach #63 purchased.
February 24, 1964: Members purchase Western Coal & Coal 4-6-0 #1. Donated #6 (Vulcan 0-4-0), and Porter tank engine #5, arrives.
May 1965: Montana Western gas-electric motor car #31 arrives North Freedom Memorial Day weekend.
1965: AT&N #401, 2-10-0, arrives.
August 22, 1965: The Ouachita Valley Lady, W&OV #1, arrives at North Freedom.
October 30, 1965: WC&C #1 arrives at North Freedom on two flat cars.
December 1965: Rock Springs depot, donated by C&NW, is moved to North Freedom.
1966: Rock Springs depot remodeled and restored for use. New enginehouse constructed.
Summer 1967: Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society formed, spins off from Mid-Continent Railway Historical Society, and moves equipment (Milwaukee Streetcar, horse-drawn car, CNS&M coach) to East Troy. MCRM members who wish will have until March 1, 1968, to transfer membership.
October 1967: Missouri Pacific wrecking crane X-124 arrives at North Freedom.
December 1967: Concrete poured for engine house service pit. Members meeting glues 6"x9" postal cars to calendar backing. Fred L. Tonne, the "Old Inkslinger," retires as editor of primeval, mimeographed Railway Gazette, receives award.
February 1968: New magazine, The Railway Gazette, Vol. 1, No. 1, issued. Annual Banquet scheduled for February 11, 1968, at Herbie's Supper Club, McFarland.
April 1968: Member Stan Mailer proposes building a platform at Rattlesnake's Den, letting people off train to view displays on Iron Mining and Quartzite Industries. "A shelter could be erected," he says.
June 1968: Mid-Continent equipment leased to Mirisch Productions for movie, "Gaily, Gaily," to be filmed in Chicago.
June 8, 1968: Dave Wantz marries. Extra train with Spike tin cans tied under observation platform clatters to LaRue for reception and wedding dance.
June 22, 1968: Mid-Continent wins State Historical Society of Wisconsin Award of Merit.
August 28, 1968: Rock Island #95065 arrives at North Freedom, restored to RI #1094. The "Celestial Gardens" is later designated official bunk car.
June 8, 1969: 40 et 8 Day. Dedication of 40 and 8 Car donated to North Freedom by Wisconsin Voiture of the American Legion veterans' organization.
August 2, 1969: Donation of Great Northern Railway drovers' coach X791 was accepted.
August 9-10, 1969: First Antique Transportation Meet features aeroplanes, automobiles, steam engines.
September 2, 1969: Filming of "The Immigrants," a story of Swedish immigration to America, starring Liv Ullman and Max von Sydow, begins on Mid-Continent tracks.
September 10, 1969: Armed robbery at LaRue's Klingenmeyer's Tavern kills Wanda Klingenmeyer, seriously wounds husband Larry. Assailant captured same day.
October 1969: LS&I XB-15, last available passenger car, arrives at North Freedom on two flats, awaits restoration.
November 1969: DSS&A #213 unloaded Thanksgiving Weekend. Jackson & Sharp car faces eight-year restoration program by Ray Buhrmaster and Bill Buhrmaster.
April 4, 1970: North Freedom depot burns in freight room, and attic above fire while work goes on to get it ready for opening day.
1970: Calumet & Hecla caboose ownership cleared up with C&H Mining. Waycar originally was St. Louis-Southwestern Railway, and restored by Carol and Jerry Mennenga after purchase from Museum.
Spring 1970: MLS&W 63 rescued from Wood St. Yard, Chicago, and arrives North Freedom.
May 1970: Chicago & North Western 25-foot narrow gauge box car body donated by Chester H. Graham of Fennimore, Wisconsin.
July 1970: Vince Vondran, Bob Droster, and Ron Jones end their tour of duty as Gazette editors. Stan Mailer and Jim Neubauer and Bob Ristow become joint Editorial Staff.
August 15-16, 1970: Second Antique Transportation Meet at LaRue. UTLX #8820 tank car arrives at North Freedom. Five locomotives under steam at ATM weekend!
October 4, 1970: "Railfan Steam-In" sponsored by The Railroad Club of Chicago, Inc., brings 185 fans to view freight and passenger operations at Mid-Continent.
October 11, 1970: #1385 Steams again; first time since 1964 following major repairs.
November 1970: CB&Q #4960, fan-tripper 2-8-2 used on Circus Train, donated by State Historical Society with approval of Burlington Northern Railroad.
July 13, 1971: Train breaks in two at top of hill; safety program enacted, air tests now required on each train departure.
August 1971: Passing Track (Run-Around) completed at Walnut Street, ending years of shoving-back from the Pit, formerly called Rattlesnake Den, about to be renamed Quartzite Lake. First run-around operation during ATM weekend.
September 1971: Narrow gauge car body moved into north display area. Montana Western #31 motor removed for repair. First $100,000 budget. John Jenswold elected President.
October 7, 1971: 20 acres of Hahn property purchased.
October 12, 1971: Vinegar car purchased.
December 12, 1971: Ron Jones named first Curator; 1971 patronage hits 43,000 following article in Standard Oil Adventure Road magazine.
January 1972: Great Northern drovers' coach X-791 inspected; restoration begins with paint stripping which uncovers rare and beautiful marquetry: fine inlay work. Soo #957 also up for completion.
1972: Parts from narrow-gauge snowplow used on C&NW narrow gauge boxcar. These include trucks, coupler, K-type brakes and small fittings. Erie Stillwell coaches, used at ATM, and returned to owner. Sperry donates electric motor for Montana Western 31. Umbrella roof shelter proposed for Quartzite Lake.
February 1972: CIPS 0-4-0 #6 restoration started. Mid-Continent participates February 18-20 in Chicago formation of Tourist Railway Association, Inc.
March 17, 1972: GE 44-tonner #4 arrives.
March 1972: Lackawanna coaches #563, #557, and #595 purchased by Chuck Wiesner, who also buys DL&W Baggage-Coach combine #425.
April 1972: Board authorized production of 24-minute 16mm color film, "Whistle on the Wind." Interior of DSS&A #213 is a jewel lurking under 26 coats of paint.
April 2, 1972: Steel Work for Water Tank erected.
March 1972: Great Northern Private Car #A22 donation from Burlington Northern accepted. Louis Hill's car once featured a garage! Recommendation for car shop structure submitted by Acquisition Committee. Ground Storage of Coal ends with new under-car conveyor.
April 29, 1972: First trip of Montana Western #31.
May 1972: A.C. Kalmbach, publisher, and C.P. Smith, state treasurer, cut ribbon, open new season at North Freedom.
June 1972: Vol. 5, No. 5, issue of Railway Gazette features eight-page rotogravure section of historic North Freedom photographs.
June 1972: First Lackawanna coach, #563, enters service first weekend of June. Two serviceable hopper cars, WEPCO #143 (ex-C&O) and an ex-NYC/ex-KGB&W car arrive at North Freedom. Western Coal and Coke #1, the "Lethbridge Engine," a.k.a. the "Montreal," in service, suffers from slipped eccentric, hot journal. Second "Lack" coach enters service June 24th.
June 24-25, 1972: "Freedom Days" celebration held. Bicycle vs. Train race (League of American Wheelmen vs. Wovie) won by Bob Fenn. Water fight between Volunteer Fire Fighters of Rock Springs and North Freedom had a new challenger team: Firemen of Mid-Continent won heat against North Freedom, and went on to win against team of Rock Springs.
September 7-9, 1972: Montana Western #31 travels to LaGrange/McCook, Illinois for 50th Anniversary celebration of EMD.
October 1972: C&NW downtown North Freedom depot dismantled.
November 1972: Jim Neubauer convention manager as TRAIN holds first annual convention in Milwaukee. Dr. Philip R. Hastings elected Mid-Continent Vice-President.
:December 16, 1972 Mid-Continent boasts 149 Life, 20 Honorary Life, 89 Regular, 121 Associate, and 15 Family members.
July 21-22, 1973: Fourth Annual Antique Transportation Meet features horses and carriages, antique aeroplanes, horseless carriages, and steam trains, as well as gas-electric motor car.
November 1973: Soo Line Diner/Lounge #2017 has authority of Board of Directors to come to North Freedom.
November 4, 1973: Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western coach #63 placed temporarily on CB&Q wood trucks and moved to caboose track.
December 1973: Museum's library is better than 80 per cent cataloged.
May 1974: New train fare $2.50 (up from $2.) starts season. New camp car track put to use.
June 1974: Seabees (Naval Construction Battalion) pitch in to help. The Madison Navy Reserve unit worked May 18th on the water tank with Mid-Continent's B&B crew.
July 24, 1974: Famed triple-header of three 4-6-0's operated for photographer Mike Eagleson of Railroad Magazine.
October 1974: Freight House erected.
April 1975: Soo Line #920, narrow-vestibule coach from 1890's-era, arrives at North Freedom.
May 1975: Season Opening Day Ceremonies included ribbon-cutting speech by David P. Morgan, editor of Trains Magazine who later pulls out throttle on 4-6-0 W&OV #1 with Jim Neubauer firing, and Phil Hastings overseeing.
June 1975: 14 Single-Bedroom Pullman sleeper Night Trail sold to raise funds for construction of Coach Shed. Debate rages on original "Statement of Purpose" of Mid-Continent Museum.
September 1975: "Statement of Purpose" adopted and published.
November 1975: Water tank roof finally installed. Grading for site of new Coach Shed completed.
December 1975: Mid-Continent Railway Museum awarded Certificate of Commendation by American Association of State and Local History.
December 29, 1975: Mid-Continent benefactor Elliott Donnelley dies in Florida.
January 17, 1976: First winter operation postponed from mild and pleasantly cold weekend to February 21-22.
February 20, 1976: Snow starts falling at 9:00 pm, doesn't let up until late the next day after 18 inches has fallen. Snow Train prayer committee is commended.
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