History: Railroads of Clark Co., WI
Contact: Marge Rakovec
Email: rako@tznet.com

----Source: Clark County, Wisconsin History Records
 

Clark County, Wisconsin Railroad History

1.)Stanley Merrill & Phillips Railroad/John S. Owen Lbr. Co. The history of the SM&P is pretty much documented on the Taylor County page, but one thing to note here is that the Northwestern Lumber Company (SM&P's parent) had another line extending south for about 3 miles from the WC at Lombard. (about 4 miles east of Thorp) Trackage rights on the WC connected it to the mill at Stanley. This line was operated between 1894 and 1899 prior to construction of the SM&P main. The line appears to have been operated jointly with the John S. Owen Lbr Co of Owen. Owen's trains ran east on the WC to the mill at Owen.

2.)John S. Owen Lumber Company. Operations began in 1894 on the joint track at Lombard with the Northwestern Lumber Co. (see above) In 1898 a line was constructed that ran straight north from Owen to the Taylor County line. The Owen Lbr Co must have had a falling out with the WC, because their line wasn't allowed to cross at grade. A large trestle was constructed that carried the line over the WC's tracks. The line running north from Owen and the large trestle appear to have been abandoned about 1910. There was also a line running southeast from Owen and also one running south, the grade of which was later used by the F&NE. In 1904 the Owen & Northern Railroad was incorporated as a common carrier to build a line for the WC between Owen and Ladysmith. Owen graded and began construction of the line in 1906. WC finished it the following year, but Owen had a trackage rights agreement to use the entire line. Owen's operations ran up to 1929 on various blocks of timber between Owen & Ladysmith reached off of the WC. (see Taylor and Rusk County pages for details) Owen's first locomotive was a 0-4-2 Fourney tanker that appears to have come off of the Chicago Elevated RR.

3.)Unity & Northwestern Railroad. This line was constructed in 1893 by the Upham Manufacturing Company of Marshfield. As its name implies the line ran in a northwesterly direction for about 5 miles from Unity. Operations ended about 1897. Operations were based in Marshfield. Upham had extensive trackage rights on the WC's Marshfield area lines to reach its scattered operations.

4.)Upham Manufacturing Company. Upham had a line that branched off of the WC Greenwood branch at Veefkind (about 1 mile west of the Wood County line) and ran in a westerly direction for about seven miles. The dates of operation of this line are from 1897 until about 1898.

5.)Fairchild & Northeastern Railroad. "Foster's & Nobody Else's" This railroad originally began in 1882 as two different lines. One was the Chicago Fairchild & Eau Claire Railroad owned by the N.C. Foster Lumber Company of Fairchild. The other was the Forseman & Price Lumber Company Railroad. The CF&EC began as a horsedrawn tram with log rails, but this only lasted for one year before the line was converted into a conventional railroad. Forseman & Price was a conventional railroad from the beginning. The CF&EC ran northeasterly from Fairchild, while the Forseman line ran southeasterly from a landing on the South Fork of the Eau Claire River in section 24 of the Town of Bridge Creek in Eau Claire County. In 1883 Foster bought out Forseman and its railroad operations. The Chicago Fairchild & Eau Claire continually extended northeast reaching Greenwood in 1896, and 4 miles beyond Greenwood to Shilling in 1898. Foster also constructed in 1887 and 1889 another railroad called the Sault Ste Marie & Southwestern which became the CSPM&O branch to Mondovi. On July 7, 1897 the Chicago Fairchild & Eau Claire was reorganized as the Fairchild & Northeastern Railroad. An additional 3 miles of track was added in a northeasterly direction in 1899, another 3 in 1900, until the line reached Owen on an old J. S. Owen Lumber Co. grade in 1906. The railroad was still owned by N.C. Foster, but logging became less and less its function as it tried to survive as a commercial venture. Foster's mill at Fairchild closed in 1905. From 1912 until 1914 a branch was constructed that reached Cleghorn in south central Eau Claire County. This branch had nothing to do with logging. One must question N.C. Foster's judgement in building this branch. It was very expensive to construct as it ran through some very hilly territory. The line never paid for itself and was torn up 12 years later During World War 1 the F&NE was operated by the Federal Government, one of the smallest lines that they operated. Foster lost all interest in operations the line after the period of Government ownership. He felt that the government had 'trashed' his railroad. After Foster's death, several people tried to run the line without much success. On Nov 11,1920 it was leased to the Central Wisconsin Railroad which operated it at a loss until Oct 31, 1924. On May 28, 1926 the entire operations was abandoned. In 1926 the line from Fairchild to Greenwood again became the Fairchild & Northeastern. The line from Greenwood to Owen which the CW had never operated and the Fairchild to Cleghorn line were abandoned for good effective Aug 9, 1926. The remaining remnant finally expired on Oct 29, 1929.

 

 


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