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Local History Index

    The Chicago & North Western

    Bugline (Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad)

Compiled and Edited by Michael R. Reilly

Last Revised 09/18/2007

            Railroad workers living in the 1910 Sussex - Lisbon Area (unfortunately the railway they worked for isn't listed, except for some of the Chicago & North Western employees working to build the new railroad).  Source 1910 Federal Census

Residence - Township of Lisbon

Cleary, Frank, 49, b. Mass., railroad foreman.

Noble, Otho, 43, laborer

Evanson, Elmer, 21, depot agent

Miller, Rheinhart (?), 50, foreman

Miller, Jacob, 49, laborer

Askew, Frank, railroad agent, bds. with John R. Small family

Pettmann, Albert, 32, laborer

Miller, Louis, 30, laborer

Dempsey, Thomas, 42, laborer.

Weaver, S (?), teamster for NWRR (age 48, born abt 1862, wife Sarina ?, age 47, son Harry, age 22, married to Gertrude, age 24, and son Clarence, age 10 - Source 1910 Federal Census, Wisconsin, Waukesha County, Lisbon Township. Related to Sussex Weavers ?)

Note the following NWRR employees boarded at a Sussex hotel run/operated by Fuller Hurdinger (?):

Seus (?), Arny or Army, 23, Superintendent NWRR

Irving, Thomas, 30, Civil engineer NWRR

Whitehouse, Myson, 29, Civil engineer NWRR

Ralely (?), Harry J., 26,  Civil engineer NWRR

Davis, Fredrick E. (?), 22,  Civil engineer NWRR

            Railroad workers living in the 1930 Sussex - Lisbon Area (unfortunately the railway they worked for isn't listed.).  Source 1930 Federal Census

Residence - Town of Lisbon

Well, Emory C, 25, telegraph operator

Held, Adam, 54, railroad caretaker

Beier, Fred, 22, section hand

Brochner, Ralph, 18, section hand (nephew to Frank Pentalli)

Schmidt, William R., 29, section hand

Stone, John W., 51, section hand

Soto, Panfilo, 23, Mexican, section hand

Sanchesz, Elenterio, 33, Mexican, section hand

Residence - Village of Sussex

Morgan, Raymond J., 33, telegraph operator

Gasman, Charles C., 51, foreman

Weber, Joseph C., 28, foreman

Miller, Reinhard, 67, foreman

Meyer (Mesye?), Arthur T., 38,  station agent

Kayser, Peter, 59, section hand

McEntee, John E., 46, watchman

Johnson, Edwin, 62, 

Chambers, Paul, 51, 

Wileden, Charles A., 56, 

Woodchick, Henry C., 62, station agent

Cleary, John T., 33, car inspector

Mudlitz, John, 46, 

Stroick, Matthew F., 33, foreman

Pautzke, Alfred, 32, foreman

Muth, John, 22,

Brochner, John, 22, bds. with Muth

McCann, Elra, 21,

Petihehowski, Martin, 49,

Sussex depot linked Milwaukee, Minneapolis
by Fred Keller, Sussex Sun Correspondent September 05, 2007
This railroad line enters Waukesha County at Butler, then runs westward somewhat north of Silver Spring Drive, skirting the south of Menomonee Falls and Lannon before entering Sussex. From there it runs to Merton and North Lake and on to Mapleton, where it enters Dodge County.

The Sussex Depot, built in 1911, was abandoned in 1977 and moved to downtown Sussex in June 1978. In 2003, it became the Sussex-Lisbon Historical Museum.

The Northwestern Railroad merged with the Union Pacific in April 1995, a dozen years ago.

Before World War II, railroad passenger trains were a big deal. The Northwestern joined the competition with a special train from Chicago to Milwaukee and Minneapolis called "The 400" because that was how many miles it traveled and because they promised to make it in 400 minutes.

In 1909, the railroads tried to buy up the right-of-way without condemnation, but they eventually had to resort to condemnation for recalcitrant landowners.

Some people were reluctant to let the railroad go through their land. Others were not satisfied with the compensation they were offered. Usually, the railroad wanted 100-foot-wide swaths of land, for which it paid about $1,000 per acre.
A roadway followed Sussex-Templeton Main Street to the east of Templeton. It was online with Mill Road, "Whiskey Corners."

When this roadway was closed down for a while, the railroad used the down time to bend the eastern end of Main Street south to intersect with Town Line Road. A double bridge was eventually built over that street.

One section remains and has been known to each graduating class at Hamilton High School since 1962 as "graffiti bridge."

In 1911, the Northwestern Railroad began mining Observatory Hill, a glacial hill east of Sussex, for gravel to fill their many miles of right-of-way.

Traveling on raised wood trestles through the Towns of Menomonee (Menomonee Falls) and Lisbon, railroad engines would leave that gravel pit every 24 hours, pulling 150 gondolas with 22 yards of gravel each.

The Sussex depot, constructed in September 1911, was about 20 feet wide and 72 feet long. At the same time, a house was built on the other side of the tracks for the section foreman. (It still stands today next to Sussex Creek.)

The late Sussex resident Roy Stier used to tell a story about some temporary work his father, Fred, did for the Northwestern Railroad.

It seems Guy Peterson of Madison was drilling for the company's depot, but lost the bit at 500 feet. Fred, an accomplished blacksmith and troubleshooter, was hired to retrieve the lost bit, but failed.

The well driller eventually gave up on the plugged well and drilled an 800-footer next to it. Collectively, that meant about 1,300 feet of drilling. Roy said that working on the problem consumed almost a year's time.

A pump house and water tower were built to take in the well's water, but it was so "hard" (filled with calcium) that it ruined the engine's boilers.

The solution, Roy said, was to dam the nearby Sussex Creek, put in a pump and use creek water.

The water tower and pump houses were torn down about 1930. John Hutchinson worked many years keeping the water tank filled for passing trains needing water.

Meanwhile, the older Soo Line Railroad (now Wisconsin Central) had lost most of its workers to the Northwestern, which paid better wages. Frank Clarey was a section foreman in the early days, with Albert Dettmann taking care of the line east of Lisbon and Sussex.

The first operating trains drove through in October 1911, though work on the line was not completed until the next year.

A train accident Dec. 5, 1912, at the Herman Abel crossing (today Highway 164) marred that year's operations. A train stopped, going east, and the train behind it crashed into the caboose, causing a lot of train and property damage. The caboose stove set the wreckage on fire, burning three cars: a wood slab car, a general merchandise car and the caboose itself.
İSussex Sun 2007




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