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Mitchell Yard (C&NW) and Menomonee Belt (Milwaukee, WI)

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  • Member since
    November 2019
  • 319 posts
Posted by The Milwaukee Road Warrior on Saturday, July 17, 2021 5:53 PM

That's a cool area to try to model.  I have several pictures in my constantly-cycling desktop background from Mitchell Yard.  Most of them looking northwards towards downtown.  

Andy

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Milwaukee native modeling the Milwaukee Road in 1950's Milwaukee.

  • Member since
    March 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 10,936 posts
Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 10:18 AM

MenomoneeBelt

Greetings! My wife and I finally received an accepted offer on a house, which means my dream of building a model railroad is in the very near future. In anticipation, I have been actively searching the internet for the desired focal point of my layout: C&NW's Mitchell Yard and the Menomonee Belt in Milwaukee, WI. I have scoured Rail Pictures and Flickr for limited pictures, consulted with the MILW and C&NW historical society for relatively fruitless information, and hit a dead end when reviewing Sanborn fire insurance maps. Fellow experts and enthusiasts, I am yearning for ANY information (maps, operations, factoids) surrounding Mitchell Yard or the MILW/C&NW joint operation called the Menomonee Belt. I thoroughly appreciate any assistance in advance!

Well first of all you HAVE to acquire, if you do not already have it, the May 1973 issue of Model Railroader because it has Gordon Odegard's classic article "Down By Mitchell Yard" with photos, maps, and information.  That would give you a huge jump start on your quest.

Send me a private message.  I have photos, maps (including a drawing showing all the industries that were located along the Menonomee Belt including those that had spurs that crossed the street, not the least of which was GE's HotPoint appliance factory on the south end and Harnishfeger crane and shovel to the north end,  but there were dozens and dozens of others, many related in some way to the brewing and/or food industries.  In its prime this was an industrial concentration of surprising size, scope and variety.  The Milwaukee and the C&NW traded off who would switch the Belt, and I have photos of both railroad's locomotives in action.  There was a yard office which I believe they also shared.  I only wish I'd taken more, but access was not always easy to the most interesting parts.  The big Krause Milling, now long gone, was interesting because even into the 1980s it was still getting grain in 40' boxcars, many with six foot doors.  Covered hoppers had taken over the grain business but the C&NW and other granger roads also had grain branches with rail too light to handle anything other than 40' boxcars, so they lived on.  The ground was littered with smashed signode grain doors.  And at night, as a switcher would move towards the grain elevator areas, a sea of rats would be parted, like the parting of the Red Sea.  I understand crewmen were afraid to leave the safety of the locomotive's steps!

Mitchell Yard was not all that far from the CNWs's Butler Yard (nor was it all that far from the CNW's Chase Ave yard for that matter) but each of those yards had its own purposes, and Mitchell at least at one time originated Madison Division trains that went west to Belton Junction and then took the wye that went to Madison WI.  

There have been some articles in the C&NW Historical Society's magazine North Western Lines that have had at least a little useful content about Mitchell Yard, the Madison Division, and that side of town.  Jim Yanke's article on being a CNW brakeman switchman in the 1960s has some Mitchell Yard info -- published in NW Lines 2019 #1 issue.  Greg Mross's article on St Francis (east of Mitchell Yd) in NW Lines 2019 #2 has a few things that might be helpful.  A photo of Mitchell Yard area appeared in NW Lines Spring 1988 issue (Vol 15 #2) page 18. 

Private Message me for contact info and we can discuss how I can get stuff to you.   

Dave Nelson

 

  • Member since
    December 2008
  • From: Heart of Georgia
  • 4,602 posts
Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 10:15 AM

I'm assuming OP did a simple Google search, which produced these results:

 Milwaukee, WI Menomonee Belt Line - Trains Magazine - Trains News Wire, Railroad News, Railroad Industry News, Web Cams, and Forms

(link not activated)

 

Milwaukee Switching District.pdf (milwaukeeroadarchives.com)

Provides some info, but not maps, if that's what OP is looking for.

 

- Douglas

  • Member since
    February 2018
  • From: Flyover Country
  • 3,507 posts
Posted by York1 on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 9:35 AM

Welcome to the forums!  This is a great place to get answers from some very knowledgeable people.

Your first posts are moderated, so there may be a delay when you post, but that will clear up quickly.

I can't answer your question, but I hope someone else with the answer sees this.  Have fun!  Let us know how things go.

York1 John       

Moderator
  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Waukesha, WI
  • 1,622 posts
Posted by Steven Otte on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 8:52 AM

Welcome to the Forums! I'm moving this to the Model Railroader forum. You'll get more answers there.

--
Steven Otte, Model Railroader associate editor
sotte@kalmbach.com

  • Member since
    July 2021
  • 1 posts
Mitchell Yard (C&NW) and Menomonee Belt (Milwaukee, WI)
Posted by MenomoneeBelt on Monday, July 12, 2021 7:48 PM

Greetings! My wife and I finally received an accepted offer on a house, which means my dream of building a model railroad is in the very near future. In anticipation, I have been actively searching the internet for the desired focal point of my layout: C&NW's Mitchell Yard and the Menomonee Belt in Milwaukee, WI. I have scoured Rail Pictures and Flickr for limited pictures, consulted with the MILW and C&NW historical society for relatively fruitless information, and hit a dead end when reviewing Sanborn fire insurance maps. Fellow experts and enthusiasts, I am yearning for ANY information (maps, operations, factoids) surrounding Mitchell Yard or the MILW/C&NW joint operation called the Menomonee Belt. I thoroughly appreciate any assistance in advance!

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