Matt finds the trains in TRAINS’ backyard: The Kalmbach office you might not know about

Posted by Matt Van Hattem
on Friday, August 5, 2011

Canadian Pacific's lone ES44AC (No 8751), leaning into the curve with train 182, the Minneapolis-Chicago intermodal, a modern-day successor to Milwaukee Road’s “Sprint” piggyback train.

Throughout the month of August, I want to share photographs of the trains in TRAINS Magazine's backyard. How many different pictures can be made in a circle extending 10.27 miles from Waukesha, Wis.?

Three days into the project, and I'm about to break my own rule.

Today we're venturing 16 rail miles east of Waukesha to the town of Wauwatosa, Wis.

Here's why: Although trains do not literally run through Kalmbach Publishing Co.'s backyard today, at one time they actually did! Our Waukesha office is the fifth building to house the company. Many readers are familiar with the Milwaukee headquarters at 1027 North Seventh, the fourth location and the address Kalmbach occupied the longest.

But the second office headquarters was located on 7611 West State Street, part of the group of structures you see rising up at the right of this of this photograph. The building now houses a Chancery restaurant on its ground floor. But from 1936 to January 1940, it was Kalmbach's second office building and sat right next to the Milwaukee Road main line.

TRAINS Magazine was just a glimmer in Al Kalmbach's eye at that point. Yet 11 months after the company moved out (relocating to 1568 Pierce Street in Milwaukee) the first issue of TRAINS appeared, in November 1940. So it's safe to assume Al Kalmbach must have had thoughts of TRAINS magazine in mind as he watched Milwaukee Road freights charge through the Menominee River valley and past this building.

If you dine at the Chancery restaurant, ask for a table in the back, where windows will give you a front row seat to the Canadian Pacific trains that keep the former Milwaukee Road main line humming today. (Amtrak's Empire Builder also appears twice a day on its trek from Chicago to the Pacific Northwest.)

What I like: The lone ES44AC (No 8751), leaning into the curve with train 182, the Minneapolis-Chicago intermodal, a modern-day successor to Milwaukee Road's "Sprint" piggyback train. My coworker Andy Cummings was with me when I took this photograph on July 30.

What I don't like: The building is not as prominent as I would have liked. I found it a bit of a challenge to take a good shot of the building with a train going by it, since the structure has some un-photogenic elements on its trackside exterior, including large ventilation ducts for the kitchen.

Flickr: Matt finds the trains in TRAINS' backyard album
Facebook: Trains Magazine Facebook Page

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