By Paul von Goertz, KRHCC
KRHCC WELCOMES MONA LINDEN TO ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND ALSO AS CFO
Did you know…
The KR RR bridge had a 24/7 sentry during WWII to foil any attempt to
sabotage the bridge. The bridge was vital to the war effort by helping
provide a steady stream of ore to the steel mills and from there into
armaments. Such security proved wise as explosives were found under the
RR track at Waldo in 1941. Fortunately, the blasting cap failed to ignite
the dynamite when a train passed over it. Evidence showed the culprit was
hiding nearby for a second try, but fled when an armed guard appeared.
As a tangent to restoring the depot, we are also literally uncovering KR’s
railroad history by clearing the brush and weeds away from the remains
of what were prominent railroad structures.
In photo on first page, Larry Ronning skillfully removes vegetation that
had grown up over eight cement pads that held a 50’ high water tank on
the south side of the RR tracks, a hundred yards or so down America Dock
road. Water was pumped from the river to the tank and then run under
the RR tracks to the north side and a tower from where water could be
directed into the boilers of steam locomotives. The pad for the watering
tower also exists.
Other remnants of KR’s glory days include a turntable now on DNR
property south of the river near Scenic 61, the Alger-Smith RR tunnel that
passes under the RR right-of-way just a few steps west of the KR RR
bridge, and the coal dock from where the Alger-Smith shipped out logs
and received coal from the lower lakes.
All or some of these structures could be an extension of the KRHCC as
historical walking trails.
Did you know….
In 1943, as German U-Boats were ravaging the North Atlantic, four 110’
wooden sub-chasers were built on Park Point using skilled boat builders
from the Duluth/Superior area, some from Larsmont and KR. These men and other local men and women who served in the Merchant Marine and
the more traditional military branches, will be honored with a memorial
adjacent to a flag pole near the depot.
VOLUNTEERS NOW HAVE A LUNCH AREA!
UPDATE ON THE ORDER BOARD SIGNAL POLE
We will be taking possession of a 30’ order board signal tower sometime
in August. It will be nearly identical to the one that served the KR depot
and passing trains for many years.
KRHCC board member and ace RR historian Todd Lindahl is in charge of
restoring the order board to working condition. David Grong from KR
has offered his KR workshop for the restoration as well as his skills as
retired owner of a commercial and industrial refrigeration company in
the Metro that both sold and repaired the equipment. If all goes well, the
rebuild will be done over the winter and the tower installed next spring.
Did you know …
In September of 1915, the steamer ONOKO, carrying 110,000 bushels of
wheat, suddenly developed a serious leak about nine miles abreast of Knife
Island. The ONOKO was old, having been launched in 1882 and credited with being the first iron-hull freighter on the Great Lakes. Because of its
age, it is thought a hull plate suddenly broke free, allowing a torrent of
water to enter. It sank in 35 minutes in 220 feet of water. All crew were
saved. For weeks, if not months thereafter, KR fishermen were frustrated
with nets plugged with an oatmeal-like gloppy substance.
SUPPORT FOR THE KRHCC GOES BEYOND KR
We are very pleased to see support for the
KRHCC come from beyond what we consider KR
proper. In this issue we would like to thank Matt
Morris from Finland, MN, who is a friend of
Randy Ellestad, for donating his time, skills and
concrete saw to cut the chase way for electrical
service to the depot through about 15’ of 4”
concrete. Thank you Matt!
We also want to extend our thanks to Laura Jacobs at the Jim Dan Hill
Library at UW Superior. Laura is in charge of materials that tell the
history of maritime history relating to communities surrounding Lake
Superior. Presently, Laura has been very helpful in obtaining information
on the men who gave of their wood boat-building skills to build wood
sub-chasers during WWII. We know several were from Larsmont and KR.
Part of the mission of the KRHCC is to recognize KR’s and Larsmont’s
commercial boat building activities.
The KRHCC recently received two grants that demonstrate regional
support. In March we received a grant of $1,000 from the Two Harbors
Area Fund. The fund was established in 1988 with a mission of enhancing
the quality of life for the residents of Two Harbors and the surrounding
areas. The funds are to be used for Phase I activities, all of which relate
to restoration of the depot.
In April, we received a grant from Co-op Light & Power through their
“Round-Up” funds in the amount of $2,000. These funds are designated
for providing electrical service and fixtures to the depot. Thank you CPL
and all of us CPL members who allow our monthly statement to be “rounded up” to the next highest dollar amount, thereby providing
“Round-Up” Funds for worthwhile area causes.
Did you know….
In 1902, an ore boat captain claimed his boat encountered a “Huge fish, an
‘electrical’ sea monster larger than a whale” off Knife Island late one night.
He claimed the serpent sprayed his boat with an oily substance while
making his compass spin wildly, eventually pointing straight at the
monster. He concluded the monster could have been responsible for wrecks
near Knife Island. This bizarre
tale appeared in the June 22, 1902
edition of the DULUTH NEWS
TRIBUNE, but strangely, neither
the name of the captain or the
boat appeared in the article. So,
An artist’s rendering of encounter with alleged KR Island serpent!
HELP SUPPORT THE KRHCC
We will be taking possession of a 30’ order board signal tower sometime in August. It will be nearly identical to the one that served the KR depot and passing trains for many years. KRHCC board member and ace RR historian Todd Lindahl is in charge of restoring the order board to working condition. David Grong from KR has offered his KR workshop for the restoration as well as his skills as retired owner of a commercial and industrial refrigeration company in the Metro that both sold and repaired the equipment. If all goes well, the rebuild will be done over the winter and the tower installed next spring.