Minot and Soo Tower: Then and Now

HemiAdda2d Feb 21, 2020

  1. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    A great view of the west side of Soo Tower appears in this 1972 view. The semaphores, interlocking control rod plant, west end of the siding on the north main (MT2 today), and the iconic I. Keating building in the far right background are seen. Photographer Keith Enget, 1972, Railroad Museum of Minot collection, used with permission.

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  2. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    More great pics!!

    Thank you!!(y)
     
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  3. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    Let's continue with more historical photos. The links take you to the page where you can zoom way into the photo for great detailed view.
    In this Otto Perry view from 1938, GN 1241 rests at the depot platform, then still wood. Based on the iron fence behind the engine, this engine seems to be westward facing and the photographer facing NE.

    https://digital.denverlibrary.org/digital/collection/p15330coll22/id/54668

    In this 1956 view, Otto Perry catches an eastbound streamliner resting at the depot, and its motive power being fueled/serviced. The steel hatch doors opened in this view are for fuel hoses and apparatus for locomotive fueling. These no longer exist at the Minot Amtrak station, as locomotive fueling is done today by truck. The tracks in the left foreground exist in part, east of Broadway Bridge, in what is now 1st St NE. (I don't have a photo of this just yet, as it's iced over and will have to wait for May!)

    Fueling then: Otto Perry, 1956:

    https://digital.denverlibrary.org/digital/collection/p15330coll22/id/54811

    Fueling now:

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  4. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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  5. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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  6. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    One more for the day. The GN station was originally built with a fancy peaked roof. The way I remembered it from 1999-2003 when I first saw it was flat roofed. Above a bunch of photos of the original configuration; the revised roof was apparently done in the mid-1970s. The roof was apparently leaky too! Photographer unknown, Railroad Museum of Minot collection, used with permission.

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    Today, the depot has been restored to a more original appearance with a modern replica of the original roof, and the stucco removed:

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  7. gmorider

    gmorider TrainBoard Member

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    I pulled up the pics and I am like "Oohh, looka dat' !" thanks for the pics. :)
     
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  8. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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  9. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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  10. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    Moving east of Broadway, we will explore the once-sprawling locomotive shops and the old yard.
    The track plan map earlier cuts off at the viaduct now called Broadway, so we'll have to imagine some stuff to fill in the gaps.
    The tallest building is part of the locomotive shop. The roundhouse is evident and the long, skinny gray building is the old Storehouse. These two views predate the footbridge that was right next to the Roundhouse.
    Photographer & date unknown, Railroad Museum of Minot collection, used with permission.

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    In this 1909-1910 photo, the roundhouse is seen in clear detail. Photographer unknown, Railroad Museum of Minot collection, used with permission.

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    In this image, a series of photos detailing the demolition of the shop complex is seen. The whole complex was razed between 1981 and 82. Photographer unknown, Railroad Museum of Minot collection, used with permission.

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  11. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    Today, almost nothing of the old shops complex exists. A look at Google Earth will show a portion of the shop building foundation, the old GN footbridge and the freight house. The rest is sadly gone. As the last photo sequence noted, the roundhouse had fallen into utter disrepair, so as a safety precaution, it was razed. Even if preservation was possible, it would have taken a lot of resources to restore it.

    https://goo.gl/maps/M7HAXXaVMBFkVMVB6

    The roundhouse once stood about where the current BNSF crew change facility sits today.

    This view shows the current BNSF structure, and the GN footbridge:

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    The footbridge, a bit closer:

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    From the BNSF access road, the place where I'm standing was likely close to the foundation for the Storehouse:

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    The west-facing view is nothing but a flat landscape for a parking lot.

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    Perhaps no shot I have captures this spot better than this one, looking west at a 13-hour late eastbound Empire Builder taken from 3rd St NE. A GN-era warehouse from the 1920s is prominent just east of the footbridge, and the ghosts of the car shop foundation can just be made out on the right background.

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    Last edited: May 19, 2020
  12. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    From just east of 3rd St NE, the Souris River flows thru town and the current BNSF crosses the river here.
    I have no GN-era photos of this spot.

    This westbound ethanol train at last light stretches across the river:

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    Looking south on an eastbound:

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    Another GN-era footbridge, this one east of 3rd St, lookign east on two west-facing V-trains:

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    From the shop footbridge looking east on a westbound #7, the river crossing and west yard throat:

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    From the east footbridge looking west, one can see the west old yard throat. The businesses along the railroad, including the warehouse at left and the metal sheathed grain elevator at right are gone today.

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  13. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    The old yard then is a storage and staging yard today on BNSF.
    Back in 1960, it was a busy place, although its importance had waned following the opening of the state-of-the-art Gavin Yard with a modern hump a few miles east of here. What looks to be a disused icehouse rests in the left background as a CWR train heads west, long hood forward, as was GN's trademark in the west.
    Photographer unknown, 1960, Railroad Museum of Minot collection, used with permission.

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    Today, the icehouse is gone, the yard trimmed in track count, and many businesses gone. A modern grain elevator towers in the background today, near 27th St NW. Viewing action here is a treat, and available with safe parking, and a public footbridge:

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  14. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    Darn good shots and history there Hemi, thanks so much for all this!!(y)

    The roundhouse and all the buildings being razed reminds of the old NP shops and yard here in Auburn, Wa. Early 90's they did the same thing, only building standing was the old storehouse. Big empty field now.:cry:
     
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  15. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    Thanks, Kurt! I think knowing a bit of history brings more depth to my photos as I can portray what is and imagine what was.
     
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  16. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    Hours of searching Flickr has turned up some really neat photos of Soo Tower, the GN station and with Amtrak trains as well.
    Here's a sneak peek...

    Larry Zeutschel photo, reposted with permission. "Soo 803 east hits the diamonds crossing BN's main line at Soo Tower. Covered hoppers are strategically placed to screw up the shot but, I got the tower. 9-20-76"

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    For images I have received permission to repost here, I'll add them to the thread as an image. For the rest, you can view them here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/123416308@N03/galleries/72157713224472251/
     
  17. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    Edit:

    The Soo Line building turns out to be the (as of 1926) powerhouse.

    The "GN" building I thought was the freight house turns out to be just a warehouse. Not GN owned (at least not in 1926).
    These maps were incredibly helpful! https://www.loc.gov/resource/g4174mm.g065551926/?sp=3&r=-0.203,0.448,1.258,0.761,0

    The freight houses of both GN and Soo Line still exist in Minot.

    Soo Line (now a meat processor):

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    GN (now a furniture storage warehouse):

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    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
  18. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    Another gem from the internet... Soo Line yards and downtown infrastructure in 1941. M.P. Wolcott photo: https://www.shorpy.com/node/25098
    If you click the image in the link, it will expand considerably. Look for the distinctive fascia profile of the Soo Line freight house seen above in the left upper third of the image. Most of these facilities are long gone today--I'll have to try to find a comparative view from what is now Burdick Expressway.
     
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  19. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Amazing and also sad how thoroughly erased is the past. :eek::(
     
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  20. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    Yes, it is sad to know so much was lost to time, but it is fun to research what was.
     

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