Work progresses on Proctor museum
When Proctor received the historic Yellowstone Mallet 225 steam locomotive in 1963, community members promised to create a museum. On Tuesday, Proctor Area Historical Society President Jim Schwarz-bauer watched as another step was taken toward fu...
When Proctor received the historic Yellowstone Mallet 225 steam locomotive in 1963, community members promised to create a museum.
On Tuesday, Proctor Area Historical Society President Jim Schwarz-bauer watched as another step was taken toward fulfilling that 48-year-old commitment.
"It's going to be a magnificent building," he said, as workers removed timber cribbing from beneath the former Duluth Missabe and Iron Range Railway carshop superintendent's office. The 88-year-old building recently was moved from the Proctor rail yards to just downhill of the Mallet locomotive. Plans call for opening it as the historical society's first museum next year.
"There is no building like this in the entire country that we could find," Schwarzbauer said. "It would be a rarity to build a separate building for a superintendent, but the Proctor yards were so large that they had to."
Proctor's history is tightly interwoven with that of the railroads. At its peak, about 3,000 people worked in the rail yard. But times change. CN bought the DM&IR in 2004. In 2010 the historical society learned that CN planned to demolish the old superintendent's office.
CN agreed to sell the single-story, 30-by-40-foot brick building to the society for $1. After raising enough money, the society hired Semple Building Movers of St. Paul and Swift House Movers of Big Lake, Minn., to move the 125-ton building. The companies knocked holes in the building's foundation, ran steel beams beneath it and jacked it up.
Meanwhile, Duluth-based Bedrock Flint prepared the building's new home -- excavating and leveling the basement and pouring footings. With the site ready and the building on a trailer, moving day was Sept. 15.
"It went really well," Semple Building Movers owner Terry Semple said. "We drove right in (into the basement), put in cribbing and jacked the building up."
After raising the building more than 11 feet, workers built four timber cribs beneath it to hold it up until Bedrock Flint could build the basement walls. That done, Semple and Swift returned Tuesday to lower the building.
While the historical society bought the building for $1, moving it cost far more.
"Just to get the building put on its spot is going to run us between $125,000 and $150,000, and that is with some people donating their services," Schwarzbauer said.
The society hopes to have the museum open for Proctor's all-class reunion in August. The museum will be filled with maps and old railroad plans and memorabilia, along with other pieces of the town's history. The basement will house a model railroad.
On Saturday, the historical society will host a celebration of what has been accomplished so far. Masons will place a cornerstone, after two donated safe deposit boxes are placed in a wall as time capsules. One of the capsules will hold items selected by Proctor High School students. The capsules will be opened on Aug. 8, 2063 - the 100th anniversary of placing the Mallet locomotive in Proctor.
State Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd, Proctor Class of 1968 and former Proctor city councilor and mayor, will deliver the event's keynote address.
"My Proctor roots run deep and long," Ward said. "I'm going to talk a lot about this Proctor museum, which I think is a wonderful idea. All the displays and artifacts will rekindle Proctor pride and spirit in each and every one of us."