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Book Recommendations: Chicago and North Western Railway

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JPD
  • Member since
    July 2008
  • From: Berkley, MI
  • 110 posts
Book Recommendations: Chicago and North Western Railway
Posted by JPD on Sunday, November 17, 2019 4:01 PM
I grew up with stories about my Irish-American grandfather who died in a railroad accident working on the Mineral Range line in Ripley, Michigan. I knew that he was employed by the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railway which owned the Mineral Range. Over the years I have read a lot about the DSS&A and the MR. However, I recently learned that just about all of my Irish-American relatives worked for the Chicago and North Western Railway, mostly in Escanaba, Michigan.
 
Would any of you with knowledge about the CNW please recommend books or articles about this railroad. I am more interested in this topic more from the perspective of a genealogist than a model railroader (I model the Milwaukee Road). So, anything that concentrates on the social and historical aspects of the CNW rather than the technical would be appreciated. Information about the CNW operations in Escanaba would be of particular interest. Most of my relatives worked at the roundhouse and lived near it.
 
Thanks in advance for any recommendations.
  • Member since
    April 2011
  • From: About 20 minutes from IRM
  • 427 posts
Posted by CGW121 on Sunday, November 17, 2019 5:51 PM

H. Rodger Grant wrote about the CNW that more than likely would fit your needs. He also wrote on the CGW and the Milwaukee Road.

 

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
  • 11,272 posts
Posted by wjstix on Monday, November 18, 2019 8:09 AM

As always, when interested in a particular railroad, that railroad's historical society is a great place to start for information and leads. Besides the information they have themselves, they may be able to help you find members in that area that would have first-hand knowledge of what archives and records are available locally.

https://www.cnwhs.org/archives.htm

 

Stix
  • Member since
    March 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 10,123 posts
Posted by dknelson on Monday, November 18, 2019 10:05 AM

In addition to seeling back issues of the magazine "North Western Lines, the Chicago & North Western Historical Society's "Company store" sells some books that you might find interesting and worthwhile.

 

Two books on iron ore industry and mines in the context of the C&NW are published by the Society - this is pure "information" rather than text with photos but it might be helpful in documenting where relatives worked

For a more human interest type book, they sell "Life on a Locomotive" the story of one engineer, Buddy Williams, as told by his son but it names many names of colleagues and tells many stories.  A somewhat similar book (with stories more than technical data about the C&NW) is "Life on the Shiny Iron" by Charles Bass.  It is not available from the C&NWHS that I know of.

The C&NWHS published two excellent books with photos and information about facilities on the entire railroad -- turntables, roundhouses, coal tipples, that sort of thing - and of course Escanaba is in there but not solely Escanaba.

Patrick Dorin's old book on iron ore railroads is certainly worth seeking out.

The H Roger Grant history of the C&NW has much to say about Escanaba.

Although key scenes were filmed in Ishpeming rather than Escanaba, the wonderful movie "Anatomy of a Murder" gives a good flavor for C&NW railroading in that part of the Upper Peninsula of MI.  And there are many other reasons to watch that film.

Dave Nelson

 

 

JPD
  • Member since
    July 2008
  • From: Berkley, MI
  • 110 posts
Posted by JPD on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 3:43 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. I ordered the Grant C&NW book and will consult the C&NW historical society web page and the other sources.

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