History

 

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In 1904 a La Crosse Water Power Company dam was constructed just north of the Green Bay & Western tracks in Hatfield. This fantastic picture captures both the dam construction and the west railroad bridge over the Black River with Lake Arbutus in the background.

On the west (left) side of the photo a flume to provide water to a downstream powerhouse is under construction. The arrow points to the Hatfield depot. This depot may very well go back to the original construction of the Green Bay & Lake Pepin Railroad in 1872. The depot was replaced with a new one in 1909, built a little further west and on the other side of the tracks. A third depot was built in 1947.

I have heard that the dam owners held an open house day in July that year to show people the dam
and lake, then place a choice for the name of the lake. With all the people around, I wonder if this
photo was taken on that day.

 

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An eastbound train begins to cross the Black River bridge at Hatfield. The Green Bay Route had a pair of bridges in Hatfield to span the Black River. The "west bridge" crosses the original channel of the river; a second "east bridge" was added in 1904 when the river was dammed to form Lake Arbutus and generate electricity for the La Crosse Water Power Company.

This photo shows the west bridge around the turn of the last century. An eastbound train led by what looks to be one of the Green Bay Route's 4-4-0 engines has just entered the bridge. In the background is the west dam of the La Crosse W. P. Co.

On October 6, 1911 Hatfield was struck by a major flood, collapsing the east dam and washing out the east bridge. Stan Mailer's book "Green Bay and Western" has a short chapter devoted to the flood and the disruption to railroad service caused by the severing of the rail line.

This photograph was taken by J.M. Colby, Wausau WI and was postmarked June 7, 1909 from Nielsville WI. Thanks goes out to Scott Janz (puttnut@wctc.net) for sharing this postcard.

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Draft amendment proposal for Northern Highland American Legion State Forest Master Plan available for public review and comment through September 17

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