Thursday, September 20, 2007

Soo Line in New Solum Township

In Section 24 of New Solum Township, a siding was built off to the side of the track where gravel was loaded from the ridge and used in building the railroad grade. The gravel was removed by a steam shovel a distance of one mile. Near this siding a large wooden water tank was built and a well dug and windmill created to provide a supply of water for the steam engines to refill. This was known as the Anita Siding. It must have had a cluster of people because they also had a ball team with ANITA written on the front of the jerseys.

This became a headquarters for the section crew that maintained the railroad tracks . A house was built for the section foreman.

When the Soo Line no longer needed this stop, they moved the section house to Holt. There continued to be a depot at Anita where freight was dropped off, but no passengers used it.

In Anita, there was an old box car across the tracks that was used as a home by a little foreign man believed to be Greek. He had been employed by the building crew. It was believed he was illegally in this country. Foreigners were employed to rush the building of the railroads. It was a quick source of money for foreigners, and hopefully freedom. it was also quick, cheap labor for the railroad companies.

In 1905, the Soo Line built a branch line north of Thief River Falls to Kenmare, North Dakota, which was known as the Wheat Line. This junction was known as Dakota Junction. This line is what made Strip blossom and brought about the name change to Rosewood. There was a depot at Rosewood where passengers could get on or off, mail was left, freight shipped in, and cream, eggs, cement blocks, or other freight shipped out. There was a side track about a quarter of a mile east of the "present" site of the crossing where the stockyards were built. Emil Anderson managed the shipping of cattle for many years. A grain elevator was built by the Barzen River Falls. Benhard Ranum took numerous shipments of cattle to St. Paul. Do you suppose he stayed in the car with the cattle?

Rosewood also became a railroad section headquarters for many employees who worked at maintaining the tracks. Rosewood was a busy, rural village as long as the lack of good roads and means of quick transportation kept business in town. After trucking became profitable, the stockyards were closed. Modern cars took away the need for the depot. In the 1940's the train would only stop to let off a passenger. Mail was caught from the moving train by a mail hook.

The depot was destroyed by a grass fire in 1962.

Lloyd Anderson worked for the railroad starting in 1942. He was employed by the railroad at the time of his death in 1967. At that time he was foreman on the section in Thief River Falls. He had been section foreman since 1949. He had worked as foreman on jobs in Newfolden and as assistant foreman in Warren.

In January of 1920, The annual meeting of the directors of the Rosewood Livestock Shipping Association was held in the Soo Line waiting room last Monday. The manager’s wages were raised to 15 cents per hundred live weights of the livestock.

In June of 1922 it was reported in the Rosewood News that Budge Bulden and the rest of the carpenter crew for the Soo Line were here last week to lay in new planks for the platform, re-roof part of the depot, and other general duties.

HEADLINE: Man Falls from Freight Train and is Killed
September 1922
The accident occurred Monday between Rosewood and Thief River Falls. Frank Williams, an unknown transient, fell beneath the freight train number 58 on the Soo Line shortly after it pulled out of Rosewood Monday evening between the hours of six and seven and died at the hospital a short time later. The man, who appeared to be about 25 years of age, was beating his way and was riding on top of a car near the front of the train when he fell off with the result that his body was all mangled by cars passing over it before the train could be stopped. He was seen, when falling, by one of the train crew but there was no time to avert the accident. Williams left leg was cut off at the ankle, his right leg at the thigh and his right arm was severed from the body at the shoulder. The severed limbs were connected with the body only by pieces of skin. He became unconscious at once from the shock and the loss of blood and although rushed to the hospital immediately, died about a half hour after being brought there. In his pockets were found a membership card in the International Brotherhood of Steam Shovelers and Dredgeman, a few receipts, and $25.00. A broken bottle of lemon extract and the fact that the dead man smelled strongly of liquor indicates that he was intoxicated at the time of his fall.

One thing that tickled me about the newspaper articles was how they would say, "...... visited between trains." I imagined someone standing between the trains visiting.

JUNE 1916 Rosewood News Mr. Olaf Opseth was a visitor in Thief River Falls between trains.

JUNE 1920 Rosewood News Olof Opseth, assessor, was it town between trains

FEBRUARY 1926 Rosewood News Lilly Holson spends Saturday here between trains.

What it meant was they got off in Rosewood and would catch another train going the other direction. Did Rosewood have double tracks for two way traffic? I don't know. We will leave that up to someone who lived there. ANY ONE KNOW?