“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cresco in Howard County, Iowa — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

101-A Train - EMD Model FP7

101-A Train - EMD Model FP7 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Ruth VanSteenwyk, October 4, 2019
1. 101-A Train - EMD Model FP7 Marker
How 101-A Got to Cresco

The 101A is a Model FP 7 diesel electric locomotive built by General Motors in La Grange, Illinois in 1951. It is the first such model ever sold to the Milwaukee Road rail line and was put into service in December of 1951. It remained in service until 1980 and recorded 2,217,816 miles of service for the rail line.

The Cresco Fire Department was asked to help get a caboose for Beadle Park. A group of about 10 firemen took on the project but decided to get a complete train. The engine and box car were purchased, sight unseen, from the Milwaukee Bankruptcy court for$9,000 and $2,000 respectfully. They had to work fast because the train tracks were already being torn out from Austin, MN to Calmar, IA. The tracks were already torn up west of Cresco. The track demolition crew agreed to give them until July 5,1984 to get the units to Cresco on the remaining tracks east of town. They had to push both units from Calmar, 20 miles southeast, to Cresco on July 2,1984. The Caboose and Flat Car were purchased later in 1984 and 1985 respectfully. They were transported to Cresco by truck with special boggy

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It was purchased in non-operating condition by community-minded citizens of Cresco in 1984. Under the direction of the volunteers of the Cresco Fire Department, it was completely restored and returned to operating condition. It was given to the Cresco Park Board at ceremonies held on July 4,1985. Over 3,000 man hours and $24,000 were spent to provide this historic tribute to the local citizens and for the enjoyment of its visitors.

Milwaukee Road History

The Milwaukee Road was a Class I railroad that operated in the Midwest and Northwest of the United States from 1847 until its merger into the Soo Line Railroad on January 1,1986. The company went through several official names and faced bankruptcy several times in that period. While the railroad does not exist as a separate entity anymore, it is still commemorated in buildings like the historic Milwaukee Road Depot in Minneapolis, Minnesota and in railroad hardware still maintained by railfans, such as this Milwaukee Road EMD Model FP7, aptly named 101-A because it was the first unit of this model bought by Milwaukee Road. It is the only one left, out of 48, in running condition.

The Milwaukee Road appeared as the Milwaukee and Waukesha Railroad when incorporated in 1847, but soon changed its name to Milwaukee and Mississippi. After three years, the first train ran from Milwaukee to

101-A Train - EMD Model FP7 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Ruth VanSteenwyk, October 4, 2019
2. 101-A Train - EMD Model FP7 Marker
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, and the first passenger train ran on February 25,1851. Critical to the development and financing of the railroad was the acquisition of significant land grants. Prominent individual investors in the line included Alexander Mitchell, Russell Sage, Jeremiah Milbank and William Rockefeller. In 1874 the name was changed to Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul (C M StP&PRR). By 1887, the railroad had lines running through Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Milwaukee Road, contrary to the common name of the railroad, its headquarters were in Chicago, Illinois, and not in Milwaukee.

The Prairie Farmer Trail now exists between Cresco and Calmar where the former railroad traveled.
It is a 22 mile hard surface recreational trail that is enjoyed by bicyclists and outdoor lovers alike.

Did you know?
This locomotive weighs 230,000 lbs.
That is equal to 19 full grown elephants.

Over 2.2 million miles were recorded on this locomotive. That is equal to more than 89 trips around the earth or a little over 4 1/2 trips to the moon and back.

Photo Captions
July 4, 1985 - Moving the train to final destination.

June 1984 - Pushing the train from Calmar to Cresco.

Inside the Caboose

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Freight Depot, 1975, was located at the corner of Elm and 1st Avenue South of the Main Line.

Cresco original Passenger Depot was located West of Freight Depot on 1st Avenue on the North Side of Main Line.

Cresco Railway Company Heritage Train "The World's Shortest Short-Line Railroad"

Tours of these historical sites are available by contacting the Cresco Area Chamber of Commerce 563-547-3434, www.crescochambercom or visiting the Cresco Welcome Center located across the street at Elm St. & Hwy 9.
This interpretive sign was funded in part through a Howard County Community Foundation Grant and a City of Cresco Tourism Grant.

Erected by Cresco Area Chamber of Commerce and Community Foundation Howard County.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical date for this entry is January 1, 1986.
Location. 43° 22.291′ N, 92° 7.074′ W. Marker is in Cresco, Iowa, in Howard County. Marker is at the intersection of 2nd Avenue SW and South Elm Street on 2nd Avenue SW. Located in Beadle Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 119 2nd Avenue SW, Cresco IA 52136, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 15 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Howard County Historical Society-1854 Log Cabin-Beadle Park (a few steps from this marker); Space Tree (within shouting distance of this marker); Dr. Norman E. Borlaug - March 25, 1914 - September 12, 2009 (within shouting distance of this marker); World War I Mine (within shouting distance of this marker); Cresco Freedom Rock Veterans Memorial (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Cresco Opera House (about 800 feet away); Lincoln Lutheran Congregation (approx. 10.1 miles away); The Big Stone Mills (approx. 14.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cresco.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 31, 2019. It was originally submitted on October 31, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 421 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 31, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 3, 2024