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Chronology

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Measuring the Short Life of the South Shore

On this page I will try and place in chronological order the main events of the Duluth, South Shore, and Atlantic Railway (DSS&A) and its subsidiaries, the Mineral Range Railroad (MRRR) and the Hancock and Calumet Railroad (H&CRR). Although I cover DSS&A history in general, this is not a comprehensive chronology since I focus mostly on events relating to the Houghton Division especially between 1910-1925. I will be adding to this chronology over the next few months, this must be considered a page under construction for some time.

1875 tab.gif (828 bytes) The first bridge between Houghton and Hancock is built. It is of wooden frame construction and the middle span swings out to allow ships to pass.
22 Dec. 1886 The DSS&A is created as a consolidation of the Sault Ste. Marie and Marquette Railroad Company, the Mackinaw and Marquette Railroad Company, and the Wisconsin, Sault Ste. Marie and Mackinac Railway Company. It is incorporated under the Railway laws of Michigan and Wisconsin with the mandate to construct and operate a railroad from St. Ignace and Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, to Superior, Wisconsin, and Duluth, Minnesota.
1887 The line from the Sault Ste. Marie to Soo Junction, Michigan, is built.
15 Apr.1887 The DSS&A acquires a perpetual lease of the Marquette, Houghton, and Ontonagon Railroad, running from Marquette to Houghton, Michigan.
1888 The line from Nestoria, Michigan, to Iron River, Wisconsin is completed. Arrangements are made to obtain running rights on the Northern Pacific Railroad from Iron River, Wisconsin, to Duluth, Minnesota.
1890 The DSS&A purchases the Marquette, Houghton, and Ontonagon Railroad.
1892-1894 The DSS&A built its own line from Iron River to Superior, Wisconsin, thus avoiding the use of the Northern Pacific route.
1893 The DSS&A took over control of the MRRR and H&CRR in the Copper Country.
1895 The second bridge between Houghton and Hancock is built of steel. It is a truss-type bridge that swivels in the middle span to allow ships to pass. The bridge is double decked. The upper deck will carry regular traffic and street cars, the lower deck will be allocated to railroads.
Nov. 1900 Construction starts on the Houghton County Traction Company street car line between Houghton and Boston Location.
1901 Street car line is extended to Calumet, branches were eventually built to Lake Linden, Hubbell, and Wolverine.
15 Apr. 1905 The second bridge is toppled over when the Mutual Transit Company steamer, the Northern Wave rammed into it while on route to the Quincy Mining Company smelters in Ripley.
1906 The second bridge is rebuilt after the Northern Wave disaster. A pilot house is added to the center of the bridge.
1908 The street car line has now reached Mohawk, the full extent of its route.
1923 The MRRR loses its contract to haul copper rock for the Calumet and Hecla Consolidated Mining Company (C&H). This is a blow that it will never recover from. The C&H will now use its own railroad, the Hecla and Torch Lake Railroad, to haul the copper rock.
1935 The line between Marengo Junction and Superior, Wisconsin, is abandoned. The DSS&A will now makes its connection to Duluth with running rights over the Wisconsin Central and Northern Pacific lines.
21 May 1932 Houghton County Street Railway Company ceases operations, a victim of the automobile and busses.
Jan. 1937 The DSS&A filed with the US District Court, Minnesota, 4th Division, for bankruptcy. It was placed under Edward A. Whitman and James L. Homire, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, as trustees of the property during the reorganization period.
1959 The third bridge between Houghton and Hancock is completed. This is a steel bridge with the middle span lifting out of the way to allow ships to pass. Like the second bridge it has an upper deck for automobiles and a lower deck for trains. It is still in use and is a majestic thing to view.

Growth of the DSS&A Route

Here is my effort to document the growth of the DSS&A route. I list the destination points, the company that built the line, and the years it was built.

bullet.gif (978 bytes) Marquette to Ishpeming, Michigan, Iron Mountain Railroad Company, completed between 1855 and 1857.
bullet.gif (978 bytes) Marquette to just beyond Ishpeming, Michigan, Bay de Noquet and Marquette Railroad Company, completed around 1856.
bullet.gif (978 bytes) Houghton and L'Anse, Michigan, Houghton and L'Anse Railroad Company, completed between 1881 and 1883.
bullet.gif (978 bytes) Champion to L'Anse, Michigan, Marquette, Houghton, and Ontonagon Railroad Company, completed between September 1872 and 31 December 1872.
bullet.gif (978 bytes) Marquette to Ishpeming, Michigan, Marquette and Western Railroad Company, completed around 1883.
bullet.gif (978 bytes) Nestoria, Michigan, to Iron River, Wisconsin, DSS&A, completed in 1883.
bullet.gif (978 bytes) Iron River to Superior, Wisconsin, DSS&A, completed between 1892 and 1894.

Sources

I referred to the following books, articles, and manuscripts for this chronology: Barry (N.d. ca. 1937); Central Electric Rail fans' Association (1959); and Maki (1980).

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This page, and all contents, are Copyright 1997 by John P. DuLong, Berkley, MI. Created 23 January 1997. Last modified 19 October 1997.