May 17, 1899: Dresser becomes chief engineer of the DM&N Railway

On this day in Duluth in 1899, Hermon Lamott Dresser became the chief engineer of the Duluth, Missabe & Northern Railway (DM&N). A native of upstate New York, Dresser worked for various railroads beginning in 1880 when he was 29 years old and first arrived in Duluth in 1890; joining the DM&N two years later as assistant chief engineer. In 1916 Dresser was driving up the concrete approach to the Aerial Transfer Bridge’s road deck when he hit the accelerator instead of the brake, sending his car into the back of a horse-drawn delivery wagon owned by Bridgeman-Russell creamery. The horse, wagon, and car all plunged into the canal. Dresser was pulled safely from the canal by Duluth Boat Club rowing coach James Ten Eyck, and the wagon driver survived the ordeal as well. The horse did not. Read about other tragedies involving the ship canal here and the aerial bridge here.

H. L. Dresser. (Image: Duluth Public Library)