The Wisconsin and Northern Comes to Town

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

I found an article in a Forest Republican from December 10, 1915 that I think captures one of the most exciting events in early Forest County history and allowed for many more opportunities. The column covers the grand opening of the Wisconsin and Northern railroad in Crandon which would connect to Shawano. This caused an increase in logging, allowed tourists to enjoy the natural beauty of the northwoods, and gave Forest County residents quick access to a larger city and all its amenities. I found the description and flowery language of the article amusing so I am including the entire column in this blog.

Big Crandon Turn Out

Twelve hundred people headed by a brass band met the first regular passenger train on the Wisconsin and Northern Railroad from Shawano Monday morning, December 6, 1915. The train arrived on time to a minute and when it rolled into the station a roar of voices greeted it. As it appeared along the shore of Lake Metonga, Mayor Himley grasped a spike maul and drove the last spike in an artistic manner. The crowd boarded the train of new coaches and had a look see all expressing satisfaction over the appearance of the long expected second link with our neighbors to the southward.

Some of the officials of the new road were expected to arrive on this train but failed to show up. Some railroad men are said to be very modest and perhaps this was the cause. Crandon had an orator loaded and primed for this auspicious occasion but he had to reserve his ammunition.

The train crew of this first train consisted of Harry Collins, conductor, Ed Swamer, engineer, Len Gunther, fireman, and Emil Frank, brakeman. Mr Guenther who formerly resided in Crandon was hauled out of the cab to shake hands with old friends.The turnout was spontaneous exhibition of friendliness toward the new road, its owners, officers,and employees.

In the afternoon of the same day Traffic Manager Trathen of the Wisconsin and Northern invited nineteen business men of Crandon to accompany him to Shawano on the return of the first passenger train. The train left here at 3 o’clock and made a quick run to Shawano. The party expressed surprise at the smooth running of the train which made fast time all along. The new line traverses nearly all the way a heavy body of timber scarcely a stick being cut until Neopit is reached. Many beautiful trout streams are crossed and we imagine there will be a fishing ground that will attract hundreds of fisherman next summer. The soil through the territory we crossed is excellent and when Lily was reached several fine farms could  be seen from the coach windows. This is going to be a beautiful county when it is cleared up and will support great population of farmers for the timber will pay many times for the clearing of the land.

The party had supper at the Murdock House and then went out on a hand shaking tour about the little city which of late years has greatly improved in appearance. Although the people of Shawano knew nothing of our coming it was easy to find many acquaintances and the time passed swiftly until bedtime. Everyone received a cordial greeting and also a little joshing regarding our fear of catching something although the Shawano folks said we did the right in postponing the proposed excursion. The Shawano people are as much pleased over the building of the road as are Crandon people, Shawano expecting a substantial benefit from the line that will open this great territory to them.

The Crandon men who made the trip feel under obligations to Traffic Manager Trathen for his courteous treatment in taking them to Shawano.

wisconsin and northern


Hotel Murdock early 1900s
Hotel Murdock early 1900s

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