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2003 GN Finding Trip

Part 4

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Day 11, Sunday July 27: Grand Forks to Grand Forks

 

Click for larger imageYesterday I covered mostly mainlines in North Dakota. Today, I'm back to discovering branch lines; the lines located in northeast North Dakota to be precise. I will be returning to the same hotel tonight, so I'm enjoying the luxury of leaving my suitcase behind for a change. After getting gas and removing a million dead bugs from my windshield, I get onto I-29 and after only a short hop I turn off at the town of Manvel. The depot here has been moved and is now in use as a home. I take my pictures of the somewhat plain depot while being scrutinized from a distance by curious neighbors. During the planning of my trip, I had also noticed a bridge north of town and decide to check it out. It's a plain deck girder bridge but still worth a picture. Click for larger image Since I won't be able to cover everything in this part of the GN system, but want to cover as much as possible, I'm going to make a short detour through northwestern Minnesota to cover some of the depots on the mainline to Winnipeg. First stop: Argyle, MN. The depot has been moved and is now in use by the local historical society as a museum. It being a Sunday morning it's closed, but the outside looks well maintained. Paralleling the tracks, I get to Stephen where the depot is reported to still be standing. I find a building, but it looks like a BN built prefab steel structure, so it must have been replaced at one time. I also visit the bridge over the Tamarac River on the south edge of town. Notice the bridge is still resting on cut stone piers. At Donaldson (no depot) I turn west to return to the Click for larger image Peace Garden State. I cross the Red River, which forms the border, near Drayton. The local golf range at Drayton is where the St. Thomas depot was moved to. The depot is fairly easy to find and is now in use as the clubhouse, heavily sided and remodeled. I head due west to join up with the Neche branch and follow it north. Through St. Thomas (no need to look for the depot here!) I get to Glasston where the depot is reported to have been moved to a nearby farm. Oh no, not one of those again! I decide to just keep my eyes open going through town and then move on. Just past town, about to give up, I spot the Glasston depot, right in somebody's backyard and it's a two-story depot to boot. Wow, you don't see many of these, especially not in the nice shape this one is in! I take my pictures and somewhat excited continue on to Hamilton. The depot here was moved to the south edge of town. I follow the most southern road and although oneClick for larger image building remotely looks like it could be it, I decide to look around town a bit more. When I spot the only people out in this very tranquil town, two gentlemen on quads, I decide to stop and ask about the depot. They say it's still there where I looked first, but that it's sided now. When I tell them that I didn't recognize it but saw one building that looked suspicious they offer to take me there, and off we go, in convoy. They stop right at the building I spotted before and tell me that's the one I was looking for. I thank them and they're off again. Hardly wanting to believe that this steel sided windowless building is it, I take some pictures when the owners walk out the house next door. Since it helped before I decide to ask again, and they confirm it is the Hamilton depot. They use it as a garage and shop and say it's still largely untouched on the inside. Before I know it they invite me in, to look around. All the interior walls are indeed still there and even calendars, posters, memos and notes from the Burlington Northern era are still hanging on the walls, partly covered by tools and other things the owners are keeping there now. We chat a while Click for larger image about the depot and why I'm so interested in their depot and then say goodbye. Nice people. It's time to get going again. Next stop the Pembina County Historical Society near Akra. Located across the road from Icelandic Park the society owns a piece of land where they keep a growing collection of historical buildings and artifacts. They even own a nice newly built museum building. One of the historic buildings is the reason I'm here; the Bathgate depot. Newly sided it's sitting pretty, and even the inside has some nice railroad memorabilia like a pad of original Form 19's and some old registers. They are really trying to create a nice museum. The lady caretaker is happy to show me around, and tells me that they want to lay some track one day and get a railroad car to display at the depot. A nice idea if they are not going to put the track at the back of the building as she was pointing out. Being asked about what I'm doing on my trip, I tell her that my next stop will be Leroy for the Neche depot that was moved there at one time. She tells me that she had recently gone through Leroy and that there isn't much left of the town and definitely no depot there. Hardheaded as I am sometimes, I go there anyway (hey, it's somewhat on the way to Walhalla, my next stop, anyway). The town is indeed small and save a few houses, all that looks to be left is a bar and a church. She might be right after all. Click for larger image Not deterred I decide to look around and when I drive around the back of the church, I find the depot, in use as a garage for a house behind the church. I need to check out the far end of the building (waiting room) to really make sure, but it is indeed a depot. It must be the Neche depot. Another one found! I take some shots and leave town westbound for Walhalla. Just before entering Walhalla the road catches up with the old GN line which then crosses the Pembina River over another one of those combination bridges I saw before. This one is in clear view and nice light so I just have to take a picture of it. The bridge is basically all I found in Walhalla. The depot had been moved to a farm west of town (I couldn't find it) and the old engine house is gone also. Walhalla is the closest point to the Canadian border (within 5 miles) I will get to today, so from here on it's back south(west) again; to Click for larger imageLangdon for the depot there. The depot is still near the tracks, although moved and turned around to form the local library. Even if Langdon is the biggest town in the area, I'm still amazed at the size of this depot! I'm sure they have a lot of room for books in there. Just west of town I find the (gravel) road to Dresden, called...Dresden Road (go figure!). The further I make it up this road the more gravel I encounter. They must have just 'repaved' it. It sure makes for some interesting and intense driving with a car that's trying to go every which way except straight. The small town of Dresden appears empty and initially I fail to locate the Cavalier County Historical Society Pioneer Village. It must be in town somewhere Click for larger image so I turn around at the tracks and head back into town and try some side streets. That's where I find her, GN caboose X308, the object I was after. She's still dressed in BN attire, and looks to be in fairly good condition. It's back down the same gravel-slide again and through Langdon to Milton, where a quick check doesn't yield the depot reported to still be standing. On to Edinburg then, to try my luck there. The Edinburg depot is still here, although moved and turned to face the main road and now in use by a local agricultural supply business. The Hoople depot should be here also, reportedly moved to someone's property south of town. Nothing to be found though, so I just continue south towards Park River. Then after 5 miles I Click for larger imagesee it; the Hoople depot. Well, I guess 5 miles is south of town also. Now in use as a private garage it's equipped with a large roll-up door in the baggage end, and sits partially buried in the ground. She's kept nicely painted though. A few frames later I'm on my way again. Park River is only a short drive from here and its depot is supposed to be relocated to the west end of town at the local Good Samaritan center. I find the center and not at, but slightly south of it, I find the Park River depot. Another fairly large depot, this one with a distinct Bavarian feel to it. Now in use on theClick for larger image Northeast ND Pioneer Machinery grounds it's sitting on a basement complete with drive-in access! There is even a caboose sitting out front, painted BN, how neat. But...hey...those are GN features I see. I didn't know there was a GN caboose here. I will need to check it out when I get home. (It is indeed GN X59). With enough pictures taken of the depot and caboose, I continue into town to the tracks, which I intend to follow a bit north for (yet another) bridge; this one over the Park River. Crossing the tracks I instinctively look north and in a flash I see...a wooden water tower. Wow, another one! I hurry overClick for larger image and find it in very good condition if I may say so. Even the spout attachment point is still there! I had seen pictures of it in one of the GNRHS Reference Sheets but never realized that she might still be around. So Des Lacs is not the only one left. Click for larger image Good! I get pictures from all sides. Although the paint is somewhat worn, it looks like someone is taking care of it. A good thing, since at least one of these classic wooden GN water towers should be saved for posterity. After this great find, getting a picture of the Park River bridge almost seems unimportant, but I still take one, as well as of a small section house sitting close to it. Before leaving town I search a bit for the Vance depot, also reported to have been moved there, but fail to locate it. Ok, time to head south to Orr, a very small town with a big junk yard, in the middle of which I find the Orr depot. The baggage-end has been completely opened up and replace by big barn doors to serve as an entry for a truck, it seems. Even the roof was cut back to make room for the doors. I get some pictures, and am on my way again to Johnstown for the Inkster depot. A search in town doesn't reveal anything but just as I want to give up I spot a familiar looking building behind a house just on Click for larger image the southern edge of town. A closer look reveals another depot-turned-garage; the Inkster depot, neatly painted and mostly covered in steel siding, it's still sitting straight and looking good. Well, on to the last stop; Ardoch for the depot, reported to be moved off line. Moved far enough for me not to find it, that is. All I find is a town filled with Mexicans (here? yes, here!) looking curiously at this guy in this brand new car driving slowly through town. I can only guess what they were thinking! Ardoch finished the trip for today and with some daylight to spare (I don't know how that happened either, with all the things I did today)Click for larger image I arrive in Grand Forks where I start looking for a nice place for dinner, passing the downtown yard on my way. Then I spot the three BN snowplows I saw there before. Oh yeah, that's right, I still need to get pictures of them. It being a Sunday evening, the neighboring construction site is empty, and I'm sure they won't mind me zipping in and out to grab some shots. I get my pictures and two of the three turn out to be ex GN; X7301 and X1665, with the latter still displaying its original GN number in the headlight! Well, enough for today. I'm ready to have my dinner now, and I'm looking forward to a nice sleep. This day was great!

 

Day 12, Monday July 28: Grand Forks to Grand Rapids

 

After a last drive around downtown Grand Forks for more photos of the roundhouse and turntable and a short chase of a GP39M powered train (sadly no ex GN units), I head to Sherlock Park in East Grand Forks to look for caboose X259, which is supposed to have been moved there from Farmington, MN. I look all over the park but no luck. Later I learn that this caboose is undergoing restoration by the Northern Lights Model Railroad Association & Museum at a different location. Oh well, another good excuse to visit the area again some day.Click for larger image I continue on to Crookston and after a roadwork induced scenic detour, I arrive in Crookston. According to the information I have I'm expecting to find a GN caboose, the depot, roundhouse and a bridge. But time has erased many of the structures. Only the bridge is left. The caboose then; located at the Polk County Historical Society it has to be there. I find a caboose, painted in a BN look-alike scheme, but definitely not Great Northern (ex Frisco #1717). Well maybe it's located in one of the buildings, I think, trying to keep my hopes up. But the museum is still closed at this time in the morning. Luckily some people are already present tending to some chores. Click for larger imageThe older gentleman I ask, explains that they were supposed to get GN X69, but got the SLSF one instead 'from Texas' he adds with a tone of disappointment in his voice. I share the feeling and after thanking him leave for Euclid where the Angus depot should be located. The town is not very big and I drive around looking for it but don't find it. On the main road in town I notice the post office and decide to ask about it there, as I did before in Loring, MT. Hey, I might get lucky again. When I walk in I notice two quads parked in front. Inside are two elderly gentleman shooting the breeze with the lady behind the counter. After a quick glance at me - what's this stranger doing here? - they ask what they can do for me. I explain the reason I'm here and the gentlemen know right away where the depot is. But they say it has been converted into a garage and is hard to recognize. They briefly try to explain where it's located, but then decide that they will take me there instead. And off we go again - yes in convoy - this time behind two quads. Hmmm, if this pattern keeps repeating I might need a police escort by the time my trip is over. Anyway, they take me there and tell me the garage I'm looking at is it. But I don't recognize it as such. Luckily the owner just walks out of the house and explains that this is a replacement for the depot that stood there. It burned down about ten years ago. Too bad, another one gone.Click for larger image I thank everybody for their help and get back on the road for the next stop; Thief River Falls. Here the depot has been reported as being moved to the Peder Engelstad Pioneer Village. After driving around the fairgrounds and the Peder Engelstad stadium looking at buildings that remotely look like a depot, I finally find the depot at the Pioneer Village located several blocks south. The Peder Engelstad Pioneer Village is actually a large historical museum combined with a pioneer village. I arrive just when the museum opens and the lady caretaker that welcomes me takes me straight to the depot to open it up. I get a small tour of the depot and although it is being used for several non-railroad displays, the original Ticket and Conductors windows are still there. Located next to it is the Viking, MN Soo depot. The Viking depot is a two story type and the second floor is where the living quarters were located. These are now largely restored to show how people lived there back then. A nice display. Outside I find two cabooses, Click for larger imageNP 1773 and an unidentified Soo caboose. The NP caboose has a great paintjob, but she's in Burlington Northern colors. The lady explains; it was donated by BN, so the only correct thing to do was to paint it BN. I'm sure a lot of NP fans will probably disagree with her! Taking pictures of the large depot proved to be a little tough, but a higher vantage point did give me an unique shot of the entire depot. After a short talk about the historical photo archive the Pennington County Historical Society has available on the internet, I say goodbye and head out to get lunch. I'm a bit behind schedule and decide to not waste my time searching for the two depots at St. Hilaire and Red Lake Falls since their locations are uncertain. So, on toClick for larger image Erskine where the depot is still standing. It's easily found beside the highway through town. The next stop is Lengby, where the depot is reported to be moved to a location one and a half mile west of town. Shouldn't be too hard to find. I saw many roads and checked them all up to two miles west of town but did not find a depot (saw nice scenery though!). Just when I want to give up I spot one more road and try my luck again and now luck is with me. I find the depot (one half mile west of town), in use as a residence with the owners in the process of repainting it. Click for larger image The depot has been altered in several ways, some doors closed in, others added and a roofed porch added to the baggage room, but the main shape of the depot is still clearly visible. Happy that I found another depot, I leave for Bagley for the next one. The status of the Bagley depot is not sure and indeed I don't find it. What I do find though is unexpected; aClick for larger image steel water tower! It's still sitting next to the tracks and looks ready to water thirsty GN steamers passing by. On the tank there is still a faint ghost visible of the Great Northern logo. After a cloud moves away, I get some pictures in nice sunlight. I love these unexpected finds! Seven miles down the road I look for the depot in the town of Shevlin, but don't find it. Asking at the post office doesn't help much this time. Leaving the parking lot I notice a small white building at the local pioneer village. Hmmm, looks familiar. Could it be another portable depot? Since I'm facing the back of the building and it's sitting behind a fence I decide to drive around and find a view of the front. At quite a distance I finally get a view of it and notice a sign. Unable to read it at that distance, Click for larger image I get my telephoto lens and zoom in on it. It says it's the Great Northern Ebro depot. Hey, I thought this depot was reported as gone. Not able to ask anyone - the museum is closed - I'm guessing the depot must have been used for something else somewhere else for a while before it ended up here at the Shevlin History Village. Cool, another one! I continue on my way, but not before visiting an antique store (railroad cross bucks sitting outside lured me in), checking out the antiques and things they call antiques, but no GN items. Bemidji is next and the depot there will be a sure hit. It's now used as the Beltrami County History Center and is in great condition. They really have done a nice job, restoring this large brick depot. Click for larger image The Cass Lake depot was razed in 1988, but the Soo Line depot is still there and now used as a museum and logging exhibit. I only find a baggage cart, marked GNRy. Well, it's time to get gas and some munchies to hold me over until dinner while I venture out looking for two cabooses. The highlight of today will be GN caboose X27 at the Nisswa depot. Quite a ways out of the way, in NP country, the eighty mile drive due south will be well worth it. This will be the first streamlined caboose I will see, my favorite type of GN caboose.  Weaving through heavy vacation traffic I get to Nisswa where the evening light is now so low that it casts some undesirable shadows on X27. Of course I still take pictures. I'm happy to have finally seen one. Click for larger image X27 is now painted in a BN reminiscent green and yellow decorated with a logo celebrating the town's centennial. I really have to move on. The sun will be setting ever too soon, and I still need to get to Aitkin for the caboose there. On my way there, I pass through Brainerd, one of the better known NP towns. Since I'm paralleling the tracks I decide to take a small break and watch some train action. Waiting for a train to pass I check out some freight cars and find a GN flatcar! GN 60225 still sees use in maintenance-of-way. It has rail welded to its deck and is part of what appears to be a track laying train. But hey, it still survives. I tell myself to Click for larger image get moving again, but here's another distraction! The Brainerd NP shops complex. A NP caboose body is used as a sentry at the entrance to the complex, which is now being turned into a business center. In the back of the complex I notice another caboose, painted BN. I take a picture, but checking it out later it's not GN. Before I leave I catch some action at the railroad crossing with one freight train flying through town and a local slowly laboring back and forth across the crossing. I'm starting too doubt if I will ever make it to Aitkin in time. Soon, but not soon enough, we can cross again and I make a dash for Aitkin, or better said Palisade a 'town' 12 miles north of Aitkin. On my way out of town I manage to note the number of a snowplow sitting on the edge of the complex; Click for larger image BN 972532 which, after checking at home, turns out to be ex GN X-1629. Now I which I had taken a picture of her. Well, at least I know she's still around. To help find Old River Antiques, where the caboose is located, I had printed out a Mapquest map for the area but even with it in hand I manage to fly by it. A quick U-turn at the next intersection takes me back and, even with the sign saying they are closed, I pull into the driveway determined to find this caboose. I park right next to it and while getting out of the car thinking that I should walk over to the house and explain me barging in, I'm greeted by the owner who repeats what the sign said out front. When I explain what I'm here for, he's all willing to show me the caboose. I discuss the mystery status ofClick for larger image this caboose and he tells me that he had already been looking for a number for someone in the GNRHS, but couldn't find it. I ask if I can look around and take some pictures. He invites me to do so. Shortly after he returns with the information of the gentleman he once bought it from. Maybe it can help. The caboose is only a body now; the frame is gone and it's being used for storage. I get some pictures in the fading light using my trusty digital camera. On the inside I get some pictures of the areas above the doors, which the owner has scraped clean trying to find a number. Playing around with all kinds of settings in my photo editing software I can barely make out X-584, but I can't get a definite on it. After getting fed up of being bitten by a massive amount of mosquitoes (I guess that Old River must be close) I decide to flee the area. An hour later I'm in Grand Rapids where I have a nice dinner and turn in for the night (still itching). Another interesting day behind me.

 

Day 13, Tuesday July 29: Grand Rapids to Duluth/Superior

 

Click for larger imageToday will be the shortest distance on my trip. It will allow me enough time in the Duluth/Superior area to visit the Lake Superior Museum of Transportation and the other sights of the area. After a quick complementary continental breakfast at the hotel I head downtown to find the Grand Rapids depot. It still stands in its original location and is now use by the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce. It has been altered by adding several large windows but is still largely original, including the original train order board sticking through the roof. Getting pictures is a bit hard since the street side has some large trees in front of it, while the Click for lager image trackside is unobstructed but in the shade. I do manage to get some pictures including one of a passing short CP Rail freight train. I follow the tracks through town a bit to see if there's anything else GN but I don't find anything. Time to leave town then and head northeast along the Virginia line to Bovey for the depot there. The depot is listed as being moved to Rt. 169 and in use by Braxton Industries but while I do find the industry I don't find the depot; I guess it must have been removed. On to Calumet then, home to the Hill Annex Mine State Park. On my way there, just east of Taconite,Click for larger image my eyes get drawn to a rust colored (primer or ore dust?) steel trestle of which I take a picture against a nice backdrop of green scenery and blue sky. In Calumet the road into town dips under the tracks. At the end of the road is the entrance to the Hill Annex Mine. The State Park is now home to the Calumet depot and some GN rolling stock. It's early and the Park still seems closed. I get my pictures of the depot first, and then go to the Ranger's Station to ask about visiting the park. A friendly lady there tells me that due to cut-backs in state funding the park is no longer open every day and today is one of those days it's closed. Shoot! I tell her why I'm here Click for larger image and that I really would like to get a chance to visit the GN caboose. She decides to ask the Park Ranger and asks me to wait for him. The short wait gave me an opportunity to check out a small exhibit on the park that contains some nice historic GN photos. Then the Park Ranger comes in and explains why they're closed, but he's willing to let me in on my own but eventually decides to just take me there in his truck. Very nice of him! On the way there we talk about the caboose and the restoration plans they have for it, but currently those are on hold waiting for funds to come in. Click for lager image When we get to the caboose I also discover that there is a wood GN snowplow located right next to it! I recognize it from a picture I saw on the internet and finally know now where that was taken. Against a backdrop of low brush and piles of tailings and against the sun I get my pictures of GN caboose X529 and GN X1696 wood snow-dozer. After being taken back to my car by the Ranger and thanking him for his time, I'm on my way again, on to Nashwauk. I can't find the depot lacking any more information than just that it had been moved off line ca. 1980. The Keewatin depot was moved to a lake. What lake? So, I move on to Hibbing and also skip Click for larger image searching for the Mahoning depot because its status is unknown. The large Hibbing depot is at least still there, on site and looking in fairly good condition. It's boarded up and looks to have been used as a business until recently. I get my photos and continue on to Chisholm for the Museum of Mining. GN caboose X601 is located here and kept company by DM&IR 3347 a 2-8-0. The caboose is kept under a shelter which makes taking good photographs difficult. After paying the entrance fee and taking a look at the rest of the displays I get back into the car and head into town to look for the Chisholm depot of which the status was unclear. Click for larger image I found the location and the apartment buildings that now stand in its place so I guess it's safe to say that it's gone. On to Virginia then; the old GN depot is supposed to be still standing while its 1967 replacement is gone. Without the necessary preparation (maps!) for this part of the trip it's impossible to find it, so after checking out some buildings that 'could be it' I decide to call it quits and head south to try my luck on the Twin Ports to Grand Rapids line. Here I have more luck. I find the Brookston depot in the middle of town and in use as storage. It still looks almost completely original but lacks a good paintjob. It does sport a Click for larger image new roof though, so the owner is taking care of it. Further west in Floodwood I find the small depot moved one block to Rt. 2 and in use as a information center and rest-stop (as I've said before: the uses people find for these depots!). The information desk is closed and deserted and a small pamphlet explains why; state funding is in danger of being cut and the local citizens are now trying to raise enough money to keep the rest-stop open. I hope they will. Just east of town the tracks cross the East Savanna River on a picturesque short plate girder bridge in front of which the remnants of pilings of an old wood trestle are still visible. On my way to Duluth I stopClick for larger image to find the joint GN/NP depot in Cloquet which is supposed to be still standing. My lack of research also prevents me here of finding it (it might well be gone) but I do find a nice Duluth & Northeastern RR steam locomotive and caboose on display (you never know what you'll run into!). It has gotten well into the afternoon and I really need to get to the Lake Superior Transportation Museum now. A quick drive along the interstate gets me there and before I know it I'm between several historical GN pieces. But, they must not have heard that I was coming (or they did!) because almost all the GN pieces are hidden behind other pieces of rolling stock and hard to access, let alone Click for larger image photograph! Grmbl! Anyway, I try my best and at least I got to see a lot of them up close. I get decent photos of beautifully restored GN caboose X452 and the William Crooks, the engine that made it all happen! Photos of GN NW5 #192, GN diner 1250 'Lake of the Isles' and GN boxcar 5124 are almost impossible to get. Express boxcar 2526 is in storage at Rice Point and freshly repainted GN coach 1115 and BN Coach A-14 (GN 1116) are on the excursion train, and when they return they are parked just outside behind the fence (Grmbl #2). I take many photos of the William Crooks and its two cars; St. Paul & Pacific combine #1 and coach #3 hoping that some will turn out ok. I also check out the rest of the collection and get photos of the other interesting displays.Click for larger image That DM&IR Yellowstone is awesome! Close to closing time I decide to visit the gift shop to get a copy of the Twin Ports Railfan Guide but they close earlier than the museum itself does (Huh?!). Oh well, too bad. When I leave the building I notice that GN 1115 and BN A-14 are parked next to the employee parking lot and while its marked 'For employee parking only' I'm sure they wouldn't mind me driving in and out to get pictures of these fine cars (hey, I needed an excuse!), and so I did. Nice broadside views, just too bad they're in the shade. With these trophy's on film I leave and circle the area (one-way streets!) until I get a good parking spot in front of the Click for larger imageDuluth Union Depot (where the museum is housed) and get some shots of the distinctive building. Time now to head over to Superior and visit the docks. I had seen these giant structures when I flew into Minneapolis and now I want to see them up close. But first I will pass the area of the Superior Depot, so I head there to get the obligatory photos. The grand sandstone depot looks almost exactly as it used to, when it still was in use on the GN, including the GN and NP signs on the face of the building. The tracks are gone now and the building is in use as an antiques and art shop. Next is a visit to GN caboose X340 located next to UP's Itasca yard. It's an easy find and Click for larger image it's off its trucks and attached to an old palace car. Together they serve as the Choo Choo Bar and Grill. With all that out of the way it's time to explore the docks. I try several side streets to find good photo-angles on the structures but invariably there are trees or structures blocking (part of) the view. Not happy with the angles I'm getting I decide to try my luck at the entrance gate to the complex. The gate is open and nobody is around. I peek my head (and camera) around the corner and snap some shots of the Taconite loading facility, but don't dare to go in any further. Contemplating where to go next, a BNSF pickup truck pulls up. The gentleman asks what he can do Click for larger image for me. I explain the purpose of my trip and my desire to get some photos of the docks. He's understanding but says he cannot allow me in, and the only (very slim) chance I will have doing so is asking the Superintendent at the yard office who will be back in in the morning. Mentioning the future situation of the facility getting Click for larger image Coast Guard security, he eventually decides to grant me a quick peak inside, on my own and at own risk. I do and I'm able to get some quick grab shots of the immense structures in the setting sun. I'm surprised to see the structures in decent shape, but also realize that this location isn't the best either for full-length shots of docks 1 & 2. Dock 4 is a nice shot from this position though. Feeling anxious about staying too long, I decide to drive around the inlet to Wisconsin Point which is almost straight across from the docks. My hunch is right and the angle is good for some decent telephoto-shots of the complex. I decide to come back in the morning. Driving back I go over to the NP ore dock which is also still standing. Nowadays a public boat landing is located right next to it. I get some nice shots from Click for larger image the old structure and the part of the tall wood trestle approach that's still standing. The old NP roadbed that parallels the shoreline has been turned into a trail and it offers a decent view of Dock #1. Toting my cameras around, I scare a group of kids. They are afraid that I'm a cop or reporter trying to uncover their mischief of secretly diving of a bridge. They are too curious to run away though, and noticing that they have nothing to fear from me they eventually offer to jump of the bridge for me to get some photos! On my way to the hotel in Duluth I check around the area of the old USS steel plant for a GN motor car hulk that was once sitting there along the tracks. In the last fading light I pick up a reflection that looks like it could be it. I decide to check it out the next morning. One never knows...

 

Continue to Part 5 of my 2003 GN Finding Trip.