December 29, 1908: Wisconsin Central Passenger Station opens in Superior

On this day across the bay in 1908, Superior’s Wisconsin Central Passenger Station at 1615 Winter Street opened for service for the first time. The facility included a freight station, store houses, a machine shop, and a roundhouse. The passenger depot was faced with red brick trimmed with Indiana Limestone; the roof was red tile. At 3:15 a special three-car train filled with company officials pulled into the station, having traveled all the way from Chicago. The opening was a simple affair, with brief speeches by Senator J. B. Hudnell and prominent pioneer James Bardon, namesake of Bardon’s Peak, among others. The event also marked the opening of a new rail line from Owen, Wisconsin (between Eau Claire and Wassau) to Superior; the railroad would offer twice a day service between Superior and Owen. That same year Wisconsin Central had been negotiating a merger with Northern Pacific, but that fell through. Shortly thereafter, the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Saulte Ste. Marie Railroad (aka the “Soo Line”) purchased Wisconsin Central’s outstanding capital stock, essentially taking over the railroad and all of its assets—and the Superior passenger station along with it. The Soo Line stopped offering passenger service through Superior in 1967. The station was used as a freight depot until it closed in 1989. In 1993 the station was used in the Disney film Iron Will. Today the building is home to the Thirsty Pagan Brewing Company.

Superior’s Soo Line Passenger Depot, CA 1915. (Image: Zenith City Press)