A Timeline History of
The Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic
the Eldest Predecessor of
The Soo Line Railroad
- Iron ore discovered near Negaunee in the Marquette Range is deemed feasible to mine, but it had to be moved to Marquette (12 miles away) tor shipment across the Great Lakes. The Jackson Mining Company, looking to find a better way to transport the ore than the horse-drawn wagons used from 1846 to 1853, built a road of planks so that carts from the mines could be used.
- February 22, 1855
- The Iron Mountain Railroad is incorporated with the goal of connecting Negaunee with Marquette by steam-powered trains. Although incorporated first, it had not yet been built when the Railway was completed.
- March 14, 1855
- The Iron Mountain Railway is incorporated. Completed before the Railroad, it marked the first predecessor of the Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic but its motive power was provided by mules and horses.
- The Iron Mountain Railroad and The Iron Mountain Railway are consolidated and construction is completed from Marquette to Negaunee. The Upper Peninsula has its first steam railroad, with the ability to move over 1,000 tons of ore a day
- Land grants are offered by the State of Michigan to allow railroad construction along four proposed routes, essentially completing a triangle between Marquette, Ontonagon and Iron River, with a fourth run from Marquette to Escanaba. These offerings led to the development of the Bay de Noquet and Marquette Railroad, which purchased and operated the Iron Mountain Railroad. Its proposed track from Escanaba to Marquette was never built, but it was in vigorous competition with the Chicago & North Western, which company did build that link. Under the incorporated name of Marquette and Ontonagon Railroad, construction of the The Iron Mountain Railroad was pushed westward from Negaunee.
- Construction of the The Iron Mountain Railroad reached the Lake Michigamme area and was halted.
- 1870 - 1883
- Competing interests representing Ontonagon and the Keewenaw Peninsula area plan their own railroad under the name Houghton and Ontonagon Railroad, with the intention of connecting Ontonagon and L'Anse with Lake Michigamme, along with a route north of L'Anse to Houghton and entrance into the copper country.
To strengthen its position, the Bay de Noquet and Marquette Railroad and the Marquette and Ontonagon Railroad were merged. Soon after, the Houghton and Ontonagon Railroad also became a part of the merged system forming a larger and stronger company under the name Marquette, Houghton and Ontonagon Railroad Company. The merged company received a federal land grant and extended the lines north of L'Anse and west of Nestoria.
- The first rail construction east of Marquette is conducted by the Detroit, Mackinac and Marquette Railroad Company. Their intention is to construct a line into St. Ignace and eventually to Sault Ste. Marie
- The line from Marquette to St. Ignace is completed a year after construction has commenced from both ends.
- The first train on the Marquette, Houghton and Ontonagon Railroad connects Houghton with Marquette.
- The Detroit, Mackinac and Marquette Railroad, unable to compete for ore traffic with movement via steamer from Marquette or with the C. & N. W. route into Escanaba, goes bankrupt and is sold at auction to Hugh McMillan of Detroit. Its name is changed to the Mackinaw and Marquette Railroad Company.
- March 9, 1887
- The Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railroad Company is incorporated in the state of Michigan, with plans to consolidate lines east and west of Marquette. The McMillan interests, which also controlled the Mackinaw and Marquette, was a part of the incorporating syndicate. James McMillan became the new roads first president.
- Three months ahead of the Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie & Atlantic, the D. S. S. & A. steamed into Sault Ste. Marie.
- The D. S. S. & A. completed its own line into Superior, Wisconsin after using Northern Pacific rails via a temporary connection to that line. This route would eventually be abandoned in favor of operating over the N. P. once again.
|This timeline was primarily gleaned from the "Special Bicentennial Issue (May-June 1976) of the Soo Liner magazine, a publication of the PR Dept. of the Soo Line Railroad Company, John Bergene, Editor. All appropriate credit, and my thanks, go to Mr. Bergene and the Company.|
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