This page is presented FREE because of the efforts of myself and other dedicated volunteers.
This article was taken from the page of Tim Sasse, (email@example.com) with his permission. For articles about Wisconsin railroads, by county, go to Tim's page: http://members.tripod.com/~sassmaster/
(c) Timothy Sasse
1.) Rib Lake Lumber Company. This company had extensive operations in the western third of the county. (See Taylor County page for details.)
2.) Bissell Lumber Co. In 1899 sawmill operations were begun in the village of Tripoli by the H.H. Stolle Lbr Co. Some years later Stolle began a railroad operation that ran south from Tripoli. The line split with half going to the area south east of town, and half going to the southwest and into Price Co. Stolle's operations ended in about 1918. In 1918 the Bissell Lumber Co purchased the mill from Stolle and constructed a new railroad extending north from the mill. Those running north from the mill were located in Oneida Co. (see Oneida County page) Bissell's operations here lasted until 1928.
3.) C.J. Kinzel Lumber Company. In 1914 the Milwaukee Road constructed a line northwest from Merrill to a point, in section 29 of town 33 north range 5 east, called New Wood. This line served as a conduit for logs being hauled to mills located in Merrill. C. J. Kinzel began operations in 1915 on a line that extended north from New Wood. Kinzel Lumber Company was owned by the same lumber interests as the A. H. Stange Lumber Company also of Merrill. Kinzel was Stange's son in law. The Kinzel mill remained in operation until 1930. Rail operations seem to have ended in the fall of 1926 when the northerly 3.37 miles of the New Wood line were abandoned. Operations of this line were tied in very closely with that of the Stange Lumber Co lines. It seems that equipment floated freely between the two operations.
4.) A. H. Stange Lumber Company. Stange's railroad seems to have begun operation in late 1926. It connected with the end of the Milwaukee New Wood Line in section 32 of town 33 north range 4 east (the northmost 3.37 miles of the Milwaukee line were abandoned in 1926.) Stange's line ran east for about one mile and then turned north for another 3 or so miles. Operations ended in about 1936. The New Wood branch of the Milwaukee remained until 1943 (from 1937 until Sept 1, 1942 the Yawkey-Alexander Lbr Co based in Wausau logged along the New Wodd Line but had no logging railroad as such.) when the price of scrap was high enough for the line to be worth more as junk than as a branch line.
5.) Marinette Tomahawk & Western Railroad. The history of this railroad is quite complex, and I will deal only with that pertaining to logging railroad operation. It was tied closely to the logging and other buisiness ventures of one Wm Bradley of Tomahawk. In 1891 a railroad called the Wisconsin & Chippewa was incorporated. It built a line from Bradley south to Tomahawk in 1892. In 1896 the W&C built a line west from Tomahawk to Spirit Falls. In 1894 the Marinette Tomahawk & Western was incorporated and built a line east from Tomahawk to Harrison the following year, where it joined a C&NW branchline. The W&C was absorbed by the MT&W on July 1, 1898. 1 mile of track was added west from Spirit Falls in 1900, and another 1.5 miles in 1902. This line connected with a line of the Rib Lake Lumber Co that came up from Rib Lake. It was the topic of much debate before the Wisconsin Railroad Commission as to whether it was a common carrier line or not (see Rib Lake Lbr Co. entry for Taylor Co for more) Part of the reason for the contreversy is that the MT&W operated the line to Spirit Falls only in summer months and the residents wanted year round service. Logging in the Spirit Falls area was completed about 1903, as all MT&W trackage west of there was abandoned at this time. The last major line constructed was begun in 1900 southward from a point called Antigo Jct. about 8 miles east of Tomahawk. The line extended southeast to a place called Mc.Inness in the southwest corner of Langlade County. (14 miles of track from Antigo Jct to Gleason was laid in 1900. There was a 3 mile extension in 1901, and another 12 mile extension in 1902.) The MT&W was aiming at Antigo. In 1903 Bradley died suddenly, and his buisiness affairs were a mess. To raise money his heirs sold the line from Grundy (section 2 town 33 north range 7 east)to Mc Inness to the Milwaukee Road. The remaining trackage east of Tomahawk was leased to the Tomahawk & Eastern Railroad. In 1919 the line west from Tomahawk to Spirit Falls was leased to the Tomahawk Land Company, (MT&W had discontinued common carrier service in 1918) as was the line from Antigo Jct to Grundy. Tomahawk Land contracted with the Frank Theiler to operate the Tomahawk to Spirit Falls line. This lasted from Nov 11, 1919 until May 20, 1920 when the Wisconsin Railroad Commission forced MT&W to resume operation of common carrier service to Spirit Falls. The Antigo Jct to Grundy line remained in Tomahawk Land Company's hands until 1924 when operation by the MT&W again resumed. The Tomahawk & Eastern was reabsorbed in 1920. There were several spurs off of the lines east of Tomahawk, and the Spirit Falls line to log off lands owned by Tomahawk Land, Frank Theiler, and the Bradley Company. The first section of line to go was the Antigo Jct to Grundy line in 1925 followed by the Spirit Falls line in 1932. Following this time the MT&W remained in operation as a common carrier, but not in the same sense as a logging railroad.
6.) Milwaukee Road. The reason I include the Milwaukee is because they operated several logging lines in the county. In 1904 they bought the line from Grundy to Mc Inness from the MT&W. In the next couple of years the Milwaukee extended this line twice (1.55 mi in 1905, 6.33 mi in 1906) until it reached Kalinke in northeastern Marathon County (see Marathon Co page for details). In 1901 the Milwaukee built a line from Otis (about 5.5 miles north of Merrill) east to a town called Heineman. This is now a ghost town. It was located in section 6 of town 32 north range 8 east. At that time there was a large sawmill owned by the S. Heineman Lumber Company located there. There were a few spurs off of this line to serve Heineman's logging operations and also those of the Union Tanning Co. whose logs went to the H. W. Wright Lumber Co. mill in Merrill. Union Tanning owned a 4 mile spur that ran northwest from Heineman. It was constructed in November of 1907. The Milwaukee operated log trains from this spur to Wright's mill. (Wright took care of the local switching on the spur. Union Tanning also owned a couple of spurs in the Kalinke area. These were constructed in June of 1906. In 1904 Milwaukee extended its line northeast from Heineman to Gleason to connect with the Grundy to Mc Inness Line.(see MT&W) In 1908 the Milwaukee built a branch line from a point called Alta Junction (about 3 miles northwest of Gleason) to a point called Paulson Jct and then to Elm City in section 36 of town 34 north range 8 east. This line ran through some very hilly territory and was home to one ofthe Milwaukee's two Lima Shay locomotives. The line was constructed mainly to serve land owned by S. Heineman. In fact the shay and logging equipment was leased to Heineman Lbr, which operated its own log trains. Heineman's operations were based out of Heineman until 1910 when the mill burned down. A new mill was constructed in Merrill, and operations were then based out of that locale. Also in the Kalinke area were spurs serving the Barker & Stewart Lbr Co. (see Marathon Co.) The Alta Jct to Paulson Jct line came out in 1931 (Heineman Lbr quit running log trains in 1927.), followed by the Kalinke to Doering line in 1935. In the following year the line from Gleason to Grundy Jct was abandoned, leaving only the line from Otis to Doering which was abandoned in the early 40's.
Return to Lincoln County home page
Return to Stories of Lincoln County page