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Perron Collection

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Upper Peninsula Railroads

Wesley E. Perron was an avid railroad enthusiast who collected information on a wide variety of topics concerning railroading in northern Michigan. He was born on 15 November 1907 in Minneapolis, the son of Edward and Henriette (Hurst) Perron. He lived in Marquette since 1952 after moving from Duluth. Perron worked as a traffic manager for the Soo Line railroad until his retirement in 1973. He died on 17 March 1995 (Obituary, Marquette Journal, 19 March 1995).

The Perron collection consists of original documents, neatly typed notes, photocopies, and photographs organized chronologically in binders by railroad lines. Perron covers all aspects of railroad history including personnel, buildings, locomotives, rolling stock, timetables, rules and regulations, etc. The extent of his collection is amazing. He covered not only the Duluth, South Shore, and Atlantic Railway (DSS&A), but also many other northern Michigan railroads. The care he put into his collection is reflected in how well organized it was. Unfortunately, at the time of his death, he had not finalized arrangements for the preservation of his collection. Consequently, the collection is now divided among three institutions. Thus making use of the collection more difficult than it should be. Although much of Perron's information can be found in other institutionsespecially at the Soo Line Historical and Technological Society archiveshis chronological and topical organization of the data certainly facilitates research.

The Perron Collection will now be found at the following institutions:

Peter White Public Library
217 N. Front St.
Marquette, MI 49855
Telephone: (906) 228-9510
Fax: (906) 228-7315

J. M. Longyear Research Library
Marquette County Historical Society
213 N. Front St.
Marquette, MI 49855
Telephone: (906) 226-3571

Copper Country Historical Collections
J. R. Van Pelt Library
Michigan Technological University
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931-1295
Telephone: (906) 487-3209
Fax: (906) 487-2357
Email: copper at mtu.edu or enordber at mtu.edu

Most of the collection is housed at the Peter White Public Library in less than ideal conditions. The J. M. Longyear Research Library holds some documents that Perron turned over to them near the time of his death. While the Copper Country Historical Collections has items only relating to the Copper Range and Mineral Range railroads. Enquires about portions of the Perron Collection should be directed to the appropriate institution.

Contents of the Collection

Peter White Public Library

There is no guide for the Perron collection at the Peter White Public Library. The materials are haphazardly stored in two lawyer's glass cabinets on the second floor of the library. The following information is from my notes taken on two visits to this collection in 1996.

Duluth, South Shore, and Atlantic (red binders):

1865-1887
1888
1889-1890
1891-1892
1893-1895
1896-1899
1900
1906
1907-1910
1911-1914
1915-1922
1923-1929 [1928 see Copper Country Historical Collection]
1930-1931
1932-1935
1936-1940
1941-1947
1948-1950
1951-1954
1955-1958
1959-1960
1961-
DSS&A Locomotive Pictures 2-311
DSS&A Locomotive Pictures 400-1000
DSS&A Freight Equipment
DSS&A Passenger Equipment

Annual DSS&A reports in a folder with reports for 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, and 1959.

Other Railroads binders:

DM&M 1884Detroit, Mackinac, & Marquette
DM&M 1879-1883
DM&M 1885
Manistique & Lake Superior RR
Ann Arbor RR
MH&O 1886Marquette, Houghton, and Ontonagon
M&O Marquette and Ontonagon
M&W Marquette and Western Munising Ry (RR)
RR Lines A-G
[RR Lines H-O, not found on my 1996 visit]
RR Lines P-Z
Lines Straits to Marquette to Duluth
Wisconsin Central Wisconsin Central Ltd. 1987-1988
Wisconsin & Michigan Ry.
Lake Michigan Car Ferry Transportation Co.

Railroad stations:

RR Stations A-B-C [found no binders for D-M]
RR Stations A-H Houghton Co. [found no binders for I-Z Houghton Co.]
RR Stations Alger County
RR Stations Baraga County
RR Stations Chippewa County
RR Stations Gogebic County
RR Stations Mackinaw & Menominee
RR Stations N-P-R-S-T-Y
RR Stations Nagaunee & Soo Line, Loose Materials
RR Stations Schoolcraft

Miscellaneous binders:

Place Names
Mines A-K
Mines [L-Z?]
Jackson / Fayette
Docks
Mackinaw Transportation Co. 1885-1899
Mackinaw Transportation Co. 1950-1989
Ferry Services, The Straits 1873-1900
Loco's General

Miscellaneous boxes and folders:

5 boxes, 48 issues, of The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin [latter known as Railroad History], 1921-1989, not a complete set, some other society info included among these issues
3 boxes, 1 large expanding folder, misc., there seems to be more materials from the Perron collection in the next lawyer's cabinet.
Box 1 contents: Blue soft binder: "Interstate Commerce Commission, Bureau of Valuation, Central District" Some typed notes and photographs, mostly concerning the DSS&A, but I am not sure what these are. Are these duplicates and things he meant to file and did not get to? One folder among them is labeled "filling."
Box 2 contents: Looks like more materials that Perron meant to check and file. One folder is labeled "to check." Includes some hand written notes:
Notes 1: Mortgage DSS&A 1 January 1949, some typed information, but mostly notes, concerning more than just a 1949 mortgage.
Notes 2: More handwritten notes, many if not all with a wiggly vertical line through them. Are they already typed and filed? Some photocopies and typed pages included.
Notes 3: This looks like his last working notebook, all handwritten notes. Again, some with wiggly vertical lines.
Folder [legal size brown tie up folder]: Photographs, some in color, negatives, notes, news clippings, and other miscellaneous items, no apparent order.
Box 3 contents: 4 spiral notebooks Many photographs, some in color, large and small. Again, were these meant to be filed? Are they duplicates? DSS&A, "Rules and Instructions Governing Free Travel and Passes," effective 1 January 1912, little booklet. DSS&A, "Catalogue of Forms and Miscellaneous Stationery," effective 1 January 1917, little booklet. Note: in this box are some color snapshots, they look recent, and seem to have been taken at a railroad museum. Among them are: A DSS&A coach, no. 213, showing all maroon body, with gold lettering, and a greyish black roof; a small railroad building painted flat maroon; box car 18052, a reddish brown; and an 8-wheel caboose, no. 570, painted a reddish orange. Later I learned that most of these color photographs came from Mid-Continent Railway Museum, North Freedom, Wisconsin.
Box 4 contents: A stand-up archival box This is a hodgepodge of partially completed binders, like one on the LS&I dock.
File Card Box, Place Names G-N, some pictures, 3 x 5 inch postcards Did not see any other such boxes for A-F and M-Z.

Lastly, there were several uncatalogued books and periodicals are found with the Perron Collection:

Gjevre, John A. 1973. Saga of the Soo: West from Shoreham. La Crosse, WI: N.p.

Soo Line, Annual Reports, 1960-1969, 1975-1976 [a folder containing these reports]

The Soo, The Soo Line Historical and Technical Society [a folder containing 4-83. 7-83 (cover only), 1-84, 7-84, 10-84, 4-85, and 7-85].

North Western Line & Membership Roster, North Western Newsliner, appears to be 39 issues, vols. 1-14, in a box. This is the newsletter for the C&NW Historical Society. Most seem to be from 1976-1987.

Howard, Neal D., ed. 1948. Railway Engineering & Maintenance Cyclopedia, (1948: Track, Bridges, Water Service, Buildings, Signals. [A book]). 7th ed. New York: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corp.

White, John H. 1982. A Short History of American Locomotive Builders in the Steam Era. Washington, DC: Bass, Inc.

Publication No. 2American Association for Railroad and Locomotive History, August 1931 [folder].

Fowler, George L. 1906. Locomotive Dictionary. New York: The Railroad Gazette.

Beck, James H., ed. 1978. Rail Talk: A Lexicon of Railroad Language. Gretna, NE: James Publications.

Forney, Matthias N. [1879] 1974. The Railroad Car Builder's Pictorial Dictionary. With an introduction by John F. Stover. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

Bulletin No. 54, The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society, January 1941, "History of the Wisconsin Central," by Roy L. Martin [photocopy in a folder].

There may have been more materials, but I did not find them on my visit in 1996.

J. M. Longyear Research Library

The following information comes from my notes taken during a visit in 1996 and information in the author-title card catalog.

Bay de Noquet and Marquette Railroad, clippings, etc., 1863-1889, 1990, 1 vol., accession #12868, 385, B34
Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, clippings, etc., 1876-, 1989, 11 vols., #12815, 385,C43c
Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, clippings, 1925-1985, 1990, 2 vols, #12851-3 v., 385,C43ch
Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railway, clippings, 18??-, 1990, 2 vols, 1901-1905, 1990, #13105, 385,D889
Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad, clippings, etc., 1898-, 1990, 4 vols., #12852, 385,Es1
Marquette and Ontonagon Railroad, clippings, etc., 1990, 1 vol. #12870, 385,M34c
Railroad StationsMarquette Co., 1991, 2 vols., #12985, 385.3 R13
There are also materials done around 1989-1991, loose-leaf, typed:
"First steam railroad in the Upper Peninsula"
Iron Mountain Railroad, 1853-1980, 1 vol.
Iron Mountain Railway, 1 vol.
Iron Range & Huron Bay Railroad, 1 vol.
Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad, 1893-; 4 vols.
Law of Michigan transportation, 1847-1891, 1 vol.
Marquette & Southeastern Railway, 1 vol.
Peninsula Railroad, 1863-1944, 3 vols.
Plan roads, railroads, affairs in the Upper Peninsula, 1 vol.

Copper Country Historical Collection

Perron, Wesley, Collection, account no. 447, received 5 March 1990. The following information is based on my notes taken during a visit to this collection in 1996 and from the guide for the collection. The Perron materials were removed from their original binders and placed in folders within boxes. Neither the guide, nor the folders within the boxes are in the chronological order I have indicated below.

Box 1 of 2:
DSS&A, 1928
M&R [sic, Mineral Range], 1884-1887
M&R, 1888-1889
M&R, 1888-1893
M&R, 1894-1900
M&R, 1901-1903
M&R, 1904-1912
M&R, 1913-1924
M&R, 1925-1933
M&R, no dates on folder but appears to cover 1934-1980's
M&R, Rolling Stock
M&R + LBMRRR [Mineral Range Railroad] 1865-1883
H&C [Hancock & Calumet], 1885-1892
H&C, 1893-1901
H&C, 1901-1980
H&C, Rolling Stock
The last folder in the box is labeled Calumet and Hecla, on the guide it says it should be in box 2!
Box 2 of 2, unless otherwise noted, the folders in this box concern the Copper Range railroad:
Prologue
Equipment
Locomotives
1899
1900
1901
1902
1903
1904
1905
1906
1907
1908
1909
1910
1911
1912
1913
1914
1915
1916
1917
1918
1919
1920
1921
1922
1923
1924
1925
1926
1927
1928
1929
1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940 [no 1941 mentioned in the guide]
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949
1950
1951
1952 [no 1953 mentioned in the guide]
1954
1956 [no 1957 mentioned in the guide]
1958
1959
1960
1961
1962
1963
1964
1965
1967 [no 1968 mentioned in the guide]
1969
1970 [no 1971 mentioned in the guide]
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979 [no 1980-1982 mentioned in the guide]
1983 [no 1984 mentioned in the guide]
1985
1986
1987
Copper Range 1889-1906
Clarence Monette's The Copper Range Railroad, book
Copper Range Railroad White Pine Mine
White Pine Mine 1914
Calumet and Hecla [found in Box 1 or 2]
Q&TL [Quincy & Torch Lake]
Keweenaw Country Railroads

Although I believe I have tracked down the majority of the Perron Collection, I am confident that I have missed some of the collection. For instance, the above list shows several gaps in the records that might still exist. Please notify me if you have any additions or corrections of this information.

Please contact me should you have any questions or comments.

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This page, and all contents, are Copyright 1996 by John P. DuLong, Berkley, MI. Created 15 May 1996. Last modified 31 December 1996.