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Depot history 1909 - 1919 , 1920 - 1975, 1976 - 2001, 2001 - Present, Miscellaneous Photos

Depot History

by Mike Reilly,  4/28/03, updated 02/20/2014

       The Depot history continues with various photos taken over the years:

Gondola dumping - a long line of side-dumping railroad cars put dirt and gravel along the wood pole trestle of the newly built Northwestern Railroad tracks, making a hill stretching for two (three?) miles, from Waukesha Ave. to Lannon Rd. The roadway in the immediate foreground is the future Hwy 74, just east (west?) of Town Line Rd. The vacant land behind is the present day site of the Willow Spring Mobile Home Court. Fred H. Keller, Sussex Sun, Apr. 25, 1995, p. 20.

Massive amounts of concrete were used for the bridge abutments and the culverts. This Mclaughlin photo shows culvert construction just east of the intersection of Hwy 74 and Town Line Rd. The culvert was to drain the headwaters of the Fox River, coming from William Lannon's farm. Today this set of springs is called Willow Springs. Source: same as to left.


These 1910 photos were found c. 1995 by Ed and Dorothy McLaughlin, Sussex's Main St. and Hwy 74 are on the exact mile section of Mile Rd., the location of Lunowa's (1995) Whiskey Corners tavern. If you drew a straight line east from Sussex's Main Street, it would go under the existing Northwestern railroad line. Today (1995), however, the road east of Sussex Plaza bends south, breaking the former connection with Mill Rd. The Two photos above show how the high hill railroad embankment was made. The raised track goes from west of Waukesha Ave. to well beyond Lannon rd., a distance of over three miles. To get this embankment in place, the original railroad track was built on a high trestle of wood poles. The railroad gondolas were drawn over the trestle dumping dirt and gravel in place. Slowly, millions of cubic yards of soil was accululated to fill in between the wood braces to form the hill that bears the tracks today. Fred H. Keller, Sussex Sun, Apr. 25, 1995, p. 20.

Two friends(? - see note below) out for a walk;  Retta Stone (left) and Marjorie Kimble at the Northwestern depot c. 1919. Photo taken by Lela Vaughn, a Sussex school teacher. Photo printed Sussex Sun Oct. 10, 1978, Fred Keller collection and the following notes." Miss Stone became Mrs. Ralph Larson of Pewaukee, and Miss Kimble, Mrs. Orville Booth of Pine River, Wis.  Miss Vaughn married a Sussex butcher, Claude Kaderabek. After her husband's death in 1948, she returned to teaching in Sussex schools; she died in 1970."

[Author's note: there is some discrepancy here about Retta's heritage here; it's believed that the Retta pictured above was actually Retta E. Small. The woman pictured next to her is more likely her mother, Ida J. Small, at the time of this picture about 57 yrs old.  Marjorie E. Kimball was abt 22 yrs old at the time of this picture (b. Oct 24, 1897). Lela (sometimes printed Leila) Vaughn boarded with Ida and Retta according to the 1920 Federal Census; Retta was then 17 yrs old. Confusion comes in because there was a Retta Stone as well, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Will (William) Stone.  Miss Stone married Ben White on Dec 19, 1931 (Source: Waukesha Freeman Dec 24, 1931). Retta Small did indeed marry Ralph Larson. Marjorie Kimble was spelled Kimball.]

Lingelbach's Hill is behind water tower looking east from depot; today which is present day Mapleway Park and Sussex Heights subdivision.

After the depot was moved in 1978, all that was left of the old water tower and pumping station were cracked concrete  foundations; today, even those are gone.


Both photos by Roy Stier in the late 1920's of a CNW train wreck behind the Mexican Village. Mickey Clarey said, " I went up to look at it. There were 27 to 30 cars off the track, all loaded with grain and flour. Everything was spilled all over."

Note: the Mexican Village was about 1/4 mile east of the intersection of Soo Line and Northwestern RR on south side of track. It was where the Mammoth Spring Canning Co. lodged their transient help.


   Another 1920 photo of wreck


Excalibur in Sussex

by Fred H. Keller

Posted Living Sussex Sun: Feb. 18, 2014

In October of 1980, a great going company in Milwaukee was the Excalibur Automobile Corporation of Milwaukee with a production of 250 per year of this Excalibur Series IV model.

The basic cost was $44,000, and the entire 1981 production was already sold out when this October 1980 promotion photo was taken. They were even expanding, as there would be a second model in 1981, a roadster two-seater takeoff on the 1936 Mercedes 540K.

Now the Sussex connection in 1980 was the picturesque September 1910-built Chicago and North Western RR depot that now graced a back lot in downtown Sussex. Today, this is the Sussex Lisbon Area Historical Society Museum.

Back in 1980, it was the emerging remodeled Depot's Peppermint Junction Ice Cream Parlor and the adjacent Marie DeViller's Baggage Room.

In 1971, Lucille and James Henry came to Sussex as they bought from the local Redeemer United Church of Christ their abandoned in 1967-68 church.

What the Henrys got from the United Church of Christ was a parsonage and the church, and their idea was to convert the church into an arts and crafts gift shop with a smattering of antiques.

They had consolidated their business when they saw an opportunity to expand. Lisbon/Sussex had three railroads going through these communities, the Wisconsin Central, the Bug Line and the Chicago North Western RR which came in 1910-12. These three railroads produced five depots, two on the Wisconsin Central (Templeton and Colgate), two on the Bug Line (Templeton and Sussex) and a North Western depot west of Maple Avenue. In 1977 only one of these depots stood, the former North Western, and it was abandoned.

It is reported that the North Western was up for a proposition that someone with a good idea could get it. The Henrys saw the opportunity and paid $300 to the North Western to move it off their property on Maple Avenue to Main Street.

However, it was cheap to get this far, but now they had to get the blessing of the Village of Sussex to move it into downtown Sussex. The Village fathers were not against it, but they had the Henrys go through several legal steps, and eventually they got the numerous permits.

One of the more difficult was to have a deeded telephone pole moved from the backyard of the church parsonage property with the telephone company demanding $3,000. It was worked out and in the last days of June 1978, a big move occurred from 2 to 4 a.m. Half of Sussex was up to see the big happening, as a 75-foot trailer mounted with a 72 by 24 foot building turned onto Maple Avenue and came to the intersection of Maple and Main and made a left turn to go down Main to the former parsonage where a right turn had to be negotiated between the church and parsonage. Some say there was three inches clearance on both sides. The movers were successful and set the church up on a waiting 11 course basement.

Now Excalibur asked for a possibility to use the site in October 1980 for pictures to promote their products. They got the rights and models, actors and cameras were on the scene to take this photo for Nancy Von Grossmann from Excalibur.

A year later she sent a large framed print to the Henrys. In time, after the Henrys sold the place, and the new owner Sandy Mach got a big package from the Henrys they gave her the framed photo of the October 1980 Excalibur promo.

In turn, Sandy Mach donated it to emerging museum, where today it hangs proudly for the public to see.


Depot history 1909 - 1919 , 1920 - 1975, 1976 - 2001, 2001 - Present, Miscellaneous Photos

SLAHS Grand-Opening Dedication



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Copyright Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc., , 2002 - 2016, Except as noted: All documents placed on the website remain the property of the contributors, who retain publication rights in accordance with US Copyright Laws and Regulations. In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, these documents may be used by anyone for their personal research. They may be used by non-commercial entities, when written permission is obtained from the contributor, so long as all notices and submitter information are included. These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit. Any other use, including copying files to other sites, requires permission from the contributors PRIOR to uploading to the other sites. The submitter has given permission to the website to store the file(s) for free access. Such permission may be revoked upon written notice to the website webmaster. Website's design, hosting, and maintenance are donated by Website Editor & Webmaster: Michael R. Reilly (Mike)