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Chapter 2
RAILROAD BORN IN DUST OF FLOUR MILLS

"The 'SOO' Road is the grandest enterprise for these two cities (St. Paul and Minneapolis) ever conceived. One, afternoon, in 1883, General Washburn called at my office and found me alone. He asked what I thought of building a road from Minneapolis to Sault Ste. Marie. I told him that I had often thought of one running due west (east) to Green Bay, but as the Canadian Pacific had been constructed and the Grand Trunk, the 'SOO' route might be the best. We agreed that a number of prominent citizens should be invited to meet with us at his office the next morning to consider the project. The meeting was held."

"Autobiography and Reminiscences" by H. T. Welles

Mr. Welles and Mr. Washburn had worked together in earlier days seeking an independent outlet when Mr. Welles was President of the first M. & St. L. Line from St. Anthony to Merrian Jct. (White Bear) and Mr. Washburn, promoter and President of the Line, when it was built to Albert Lea. Again Mr. Washburn became the aggressive promoter.

The millers, together with other Minneapolis businessmen, felt they had exhausted all means with the then existing railroads of arriving at an equitable solution to their transportation problems. They were being pushed in one quarter, squeezed from another, and became convinced that their very existence was in jeopardy, and that in order to protect themselves they would have to enter the transportation field with a new railroad.

They met on the morning referred to by Mr. Wells, in the office of William D. Washburn. Mr. Washburn addressed the meeting, rehearsing the sufferings of businessmen. He was convinced the only solution now was a line to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., for a connection with the Canadian Pacific Ry. He was dynamic "His personality was unique and his enthusiasms infectious"   At this meeting ten thousand dollars was pledged for a preliminary surrey.

(Note) General -- used by Mr. Welles in addressing Washburn, above, was a title that Mr. Washburn enjoyed. It followed his service as General Land Commissioner for Minnesota, to which office he had been appointed by President Abraham Lincoln.

Mr. Washburn sent for Capt. W. W. Rich, who, since 1879, was Chief Engineer of the M. & St. L., and for nine years prior was with the Wisconsin Central Ry. as construction engineer in the building of that railroad, especially south from Ashland. Washburn outlined the program, thus far, of the committee of Minneapolis businessmen. Capt. Rich was employed for the purpose of making the survey. He left in a few days, taking the C. St. P. M. & O. (Omaha Line) to Turtle. From there he walked to Cameron, Wis., a small homestead in a forest, boasting of two stores, one being operated by A. D. Stacy, which also served as the only hotel. He stayed one night with Mr. Stacy and set out the next day with an Indian guide for a point on the Wisconsin Central Ry. Three weeks later he was heard from at Prentice and two weeks after that he was back in Cameron. Within another week he was in Minneapolis and made his report.

Rich told Mr. Washburn and other members of the committee that the road could be built at a cost per mile, less the iron and equipment, not exceeding that of the Wisconsin Central, which was about thirteen thousand dollars. After hearing his report, it was decided to organize at once under the Laws of Wisconsin, and for that purpose the group went to Hudson September 25th. There they drew up the Articles of Incorporation of the MINNEAPOLIS, SAULT STE. MARIE & ATLANTIC RAILWAY, which were filed with the Secretary of State at Madison on September 29, 1883. The incorporators were: W. D. Washburn, H. T. Welles, John Martin, Thomas Lowry, George R. Newell, Anthony Kelly, C. M. Loring, Clinton Morrison, J. K. Sidle, W. W. Eastman, William D. Hale, Charles A. Pillsbury and Charles J. Martin.

They described their purpose thus: "It has at all times been a part of the plan and purpose in pursuance of which the said Wisconsin Company was incorporated, to construct, maintain and operate its said line of railway in the State of Wisconsin as a part of a through line of railroad within the States of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, running from Minneapolis and St. Paul, in the States of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, to Sault Ste. Marie, situated on the Sault Ste. Marie or St. Marys River, in the State of Michigan, and to the Boundary Line between the United States of America and the Dominion of Canada, running or to run from said Boundary Line to the City of Montreal, in the Dominion of Canada, and connecting with railways running to the City of New York, the City of Boston, and the City of Portland, and other seaports upon the Atlantic Ocean”.

The previously named were also the first Board of Directors. During the year the following changes were made: John S. Pillsbury replaced Charles A. Pillsbury; C. H. Pettit, replaced Clinton Morrison; H. E. Fletcher replaced A. C. Rand, who had replaced Wm. D. Hale; J. C. Oswold replaced C. M. Loring.

With organizational matters completed the directors met on October 4th. They elected W. D. Washburn President; John S. Pillsbury, Vice President; C. H. Pettit, Treasurer; and M. P. Hawkins, Secretary. The executive committee consisted W. D. Washburn, J. C. Pillsbury, H. T. Welles,  John Martin Thomas Lowry. Captain W. W. Rich was appointed Chief Engineer and placed in charge of engineering and construction.

The following agreement was made with Captain Rich:

"This agreement made this twenty-fifth day of October, A. D. 1883 by and between the Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie & Atlantic Railway Company, party of the first part, and W. W. Rich of Minneapolis, party of the second part. Witnesseth:

First That said second party agrees to faithfully perform duties of Chief Engineer for said first party from date of this contract until December 31, A.D- eighteen hundred and eighty-five (l885) both inclusive.

Second That said first party agrees to pay said second party for services as said Chief Engineer for and during the period of time specified at the rate of Six Thousand Dollars ($6,000.00) per annum, payable monthly on the fifteenth day of each month, for services in the calendar month last preceding. In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals on this day and year first above written”

The Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie and Atlantic Railway Company.
M.P- Hawkins, H.E. Brown (witnesses)
By W. D. Washburns President
W. W. Rich

On the reverse side of the above was a personal guarantee by Mr.Washburn, as follows:

"Minneapolis, Minnesota,
October 25th, 1883

Should the Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie and Atlantic Railway Company, for any reason, fail to fulfill the provisions of the within contract, I personally guarantee to W. W. Rich, second party to the within contract, the compensation for services named herein providing said W. W. Rich shall obtain employment as a Railway Civil Engineer without unreasonable delay, at the best terms obtainable, the amount of salary so earned to be credited on payments due under terms of within contract -- provided however that such employment shall not require the removal of said W. W. Rich from Minneapolis or the acceptance of any employment derogatory to his professional standing or reputation as a civil engineer.

   (Signed)  W. D. Washburn".

"Books of subscription were opened by the energetic action of Mr. Washburn and Capt. John Martin and one million dollars were soon obtained. We then concluded to go forward".

Mr. Washburn was empowered to enter into contracts for construction and purchase of necessary equipment.

The company was made up of and financed completely by Minneapolis men -- three-fourths of the stock being owned by manufacturers of flour. It was an organizational and financing project of unbelievable proportions when the wealth of the country, at that time, is considered. There was no huge sale of stock. It was not a promotional scheme. The promoters were the builders and operators who continued their interest in the road for the rest of their lives. It was probably the cleanest railroad project of its time and continued so. The Soo Line has no skeletons -- there never were reorganizations where stock manipulations ousted one group at the expense of others or small stockholders. All of the right-of-way was purchased except for small amounts of land donated by a few lumber companies and by towns and villages. It was not a land-grant railroad. It was and has always remained a Minneapolis institution.

Mr. Washburn arranged a contract with the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Ry. (of which he was a director) for transportation of company supplies and men over its line of railroad between the Twin Cities and Turtle Lake, Wi., until the M.S.S.M.& A. Ry. could build its own line between the same points. Thus it was that the M.S.S.M.& A. started with 75 miles already built.

Four surveying crews were busy during the winter of 1883-1834 and were followed closely by Land Agents buying up right-of-way. Land buying was made easy by the fact that land owners were anxious to have the railroad built.

The successful grading contractor for the first 60 miles of the road was the firm of Henry & Balch. In April 1884 they moved the first dirt in the construction at Cameron, Wis., consisting of cutting trees and brush to level a space for a marshalling yard -- then proceeded with grading to Turtle Lake westward 20 miles. Also in April, the first of 160,000 cross ties began arriving at Cameron from a point on the "Omaha Line" between Spooner and Ashland.   Mr. Washburn had purchased them for 23 cents f.o.b. woods spur. Angle bars and bolts came from a roller mill in Chicago. Steel rails, 56-pound, came from the Cambria Steel Corp., Johnstown, Pa., via boat to Washburn, Wi., thence "Omaha Line" to Cameron.

By the latter part of June, the railroad was ready for rolling stock and power to handle it, and a few days following the arrival of 40 flat cars, the No. 1 locomotive, a 4-4-0 Standard Class C, purchased from the Rhode Island Locomotive Works, reached Cameron over the "Omaha". Frank Harrison was hired as the first locomotive engineer on the railroad. When No. 2 locomotive arrived it was taken to Turtle Lake, where a six-stall roundhouse had been built. Working in the roundhouse, as a man of all work, was Daniel Willard, who became the second engineer and progressed to Trainmaster and Division Superintendent. He left the Soo Line in 1899. (See page )

The first annual meeting since construction began was held at Hudson, Wi., September 25, 1884. Following the meeting of directors, Mr. Was burn told the press representatives that the company would push the line forward to Sault Ste. Marie as fast as money and men could do it.

Work trains were operating the entire 46 miles from Turtle Lake to Bruce, and a service train was helping logging companies to get their supplies into camp "upriver", as it was called. The road had been completed between Turtle Lake and Cameron, but while passable it was not until November 13 when final work was done eastward to Bruce.

Not withstanding, the unconditioned appearance of the track, the unconditioned appearance of the track, arrangements were made to run a special train from Minneapolis to inspect the new railroad. Naturally the officers and directors were anxious to show their prodigy, even though an infant, to their friends and the press. On November 7, a train consisting of new coaches, numbers 1, 2 and 3, with a new baggage car, pulled away from Minneapolis under "Omaha" power. About 75 people made the trip. The train was switched to the tracks of the Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie & Atlantic at Turtle Lake for the trip to Bruce.

This occurred three days following the National Elections in 1884. Because of slower means of communication in those days and the closeness of the election, the results were not known until late in the day, when the party returned to Cameron. There the gaiety of the party, which had enjoyed a beautiful day, was measurably affected by the news that Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, was elected President of the United States, defeating James K. Blaine, the Republican Candidate.

After sufficient freezing weather to make solid ice, during the winter of 1884-1885, crews worked night and day driving piles for the bridge over the Chippewa River at Bruce in an endeavor to complete the work before the ice went out in the spring.

Early in 1885 Articles of Incorporation of a construction road called the Menominee & Sault Ste. Marie Railroad was filed with the Secretary of State at Lansing, Mich., by W. D. Washburn, John S. Pillsbury, George A. Camp and John Martin. The capital stock was 32,000,000 and the Articles proposed a line of road to run from a point on the Menominee River between the Pike and Pine River outlets to Sault Ste. Marie. This gave rise to much speculation as to just where the crossing of the Menominee would occur.

The citizens of Florence, Wis., were much interested in having the railroad pass through their town, or in the vicinity of it, and, through the Editor of the "Florence Minine News", they made overtures to the company directors. The editor of the lusty paper was Chase S. Osborn -- later to be Governor of Michigan and publisher of the Sault Ste. Marie "News". A group of surveyors, under Engineer Willis, worked in the locality of Florence during the winter of 1884-1885; while another group, under engineer Dunbar, was engaged in running lines southwest of Florence toward the new town of Rhinelander.

There was a division of opinion among the Soo Line directors as to the route of the new railroad. Some favored the Florence route, believing the mines in that territory would provide business and revenue in greater proportion than the timber along the route suggested and advocated by Charles J.L. Meyer, of Fond du Lac, Wis., who owned the town site of Hermansville; the Hermansville & Western Ry., a logging road operating on his property, and the Wisconsin Land & Lumber Co., along with much of the surrounding territory. Mr. Meyer met with Mr. Washburn and several members of the Board during February and March of 1885. He invited a Soo Line surveying crew to go over the route he proposed. On April 4th the crew arrived at Hermansville. At his own expanse he outfitted the crew and sent his surveyors with them along the proposed route, west to the Menominee River.

The report of Mr. Dunbar, the Soo Line Engineer, was favorable as to the route, and it was preceded by a twenty-page hand written 1letter from Mr. Meyer dated April 2, 1885 , setting forth his reasons for the Hermansville route and a lake port at Little Bay de Noc, North of Escanaba. Reasoning the issue, Mr. Meyer said that his suggested route would be shorter, provide easier grades, cheaper construction, that the road would have greater freedom from very deep snow and traverse a territory between the headwaters of the Pine and Menominee Rivers containing a quantity of pine timber estimated by some to contain two thousand million, and by others, three thousand million feet. He stressed that the timber lying north of the Menominee would be floated downstream to existing mills at any rate; on the other hand, because of the north flowing streams south of the river being too small to float logs, the timber would necessarily move to mills by rail. He also pointed out that his Wisconsin Land $ Lumber Co. Contemplated the erection of a general hardwood factory 80 x 240 feet to employ 100 men. Eight million feet of hardwood then being ready to supply the new factory. Continuing, he said, "Going north through Florence would leave the road without a lake port. It would have to cut through granite hills and a country so broken that the building of a road on that line, if not impracticable, would be attended with extraordinary expense. He argued that the C. & N. W. had a contract with all existing mines and to break them would involve the new road in endless litigation with a strong well financed carrier. That such action would produce an enmity to business relations at other points, where the new road would need a friendly connection. He stated that rates on iron ore were then only half what they were in 1881 (a year after the C.&N.W. was extended to Florence) and would in all likelihood go lower.

In addition to this, Mr. Washburn had been told by others of the fabulous amount of timber north of Rhinelander on the Wisconsin River that would be sent down whenever a market way should be opened. Further, Bradley Brothers, of Milwaukee, who had big timber holding along and tributary to the Tomahawk River, made a strong plea for the road to cross their holdings.

Later in the month of April it had been fairly well established that the road would be built close along the line that was actually followed in construction. Mr. Washburn then wrote the "Florence Mining News", "We are still making surveys and explorations east of the Wisconsin River. The present indications rather favor the crossing of the Menominee somewhat below your place".

In line with the suggestion of C.J.L. Meyer, that the road be constructed so as to have a lake port, W. D. Washburn, Thomas Lowry, J. C. Oswald, John Martin, G. A. Camp and H. E. Fletcher left Minneapolis late in May to investigate the site that had been proposed. The point at which the railroad would strike Lake Michigan was determined at that time and plans for the future City of Gladstone were in the making. It is known that Mr. Washburn also visited Hermansville at that time but no record of other members of his party was recorded.

During the year 1885, besides being beset with shortage of money, heavy rains interfered with construction. The builders were finding from first hand experience the difficulty of constructing a railroad through a heavy forest infested with rocky hillsides and soft low land having no apparent bottom. The hustle and bustle of the year just past was slowed to an ultra-conservative pace. Faced with a poor money market, that somewhat upset their plans, the intrepid group of stockholders, imbued with faith and a determination to push their project to conclusion, submitted to a rapid succession of assessments aggregating one hundred per cent of the par value of their stock by April 13, 1885.

At a meeting held on that date the directors authorized construction of only 25 miles of road east from Bruce. It had been hoped that a point on the Wisconsin Central could be reached that year but there was not much encouragement as Mr. Washburn said, “I hope something will turn up that will permit us to build more, but, as yet, we have made no arrangements that make certain more than 30 miles the present year" -- his reason being "scarcity of capital seeking investment in that direction".

Plans for the future of the railroad had been well thought out, as during the past September the Minneapolis & Pacific Ry. was incorporated (See Page   ); also, early in 1885 the Minneapolis & St. Croix Ry. was organized and incorporated under the Laws of Minnesota -- first directors being H. T. Wells, W. D. Washburn, J. K. Sidle, Charles A. Pillsbury and Charles J. Martin. The new road was to form the gap between Minneapolis and Turtle Lake.

In May 1885 the decision was made to mortgage the completed miles of the railroad for $2,000,000. Therefore the Minneapolis, Sault Ste. Marie & Atlantic Ry., combined with the issuance of First Mortgage Bonds, the proceeds of which were needed in construction and for the Menominee & Sault Ste. Marie Ry, the construction line in Michigan.

It was planned to mortgage the presently constructed line at $16,000 per mile and $4,000 per mile for equipment; also to secure $300,000 for some of the most important bridges, and like amount for terminal facilities. The Bonds would run for 40 years - to 1925, at six per cent.

Announcement was made December 3, 1885 that the Soo Line would build to Rhinelander during the following year. Three days previous Mr. Washburn and Chief Engineer Rich were in Rhinelander to confer with local interests, headed by W .S. Brown, of Brown Brothers, who platted the town in September 1882. After discussing with them the matter of extension of the railroad to the Village, the entire party left for Milwaukee December 1st to meet with F. W. Rhinelander, President; and J. O. Thayer, General Land Agent, of the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Railway (now C,&N,W.) about certain land and concerning terminal facilities. The M. L. S.& W. was built to Rhinelander in the fall of 1882, and was induced to do so by being granted half of the property owned by Brown Bros., who had large timber holdings in the surrounding territory.

In a letter Mr. Washburn wrote to C. J. L. Meyer February 2nd, 1886 he enclosed a half dozen copies of the annual report of 1885, containing Mr. Meyer's 20-page letter. He said, "I returned this morning from New York. During my visit cast I made definite arrangements for funds to carry us to Rhinelander as fast as the work can be done. We have negotiations on foot that I think will give us funds to carry on eastward during the coming season and with the expectation that we may reach the lake May or June 1887".

Rumors flew fast. It was reported from Ontario that a new railroad, Brockville, Westport & Sault Ste. Marie Railway, would connect Brockville on the St. Lawrence with the SOO Line at Sault Ste. Marie. The Canada, La Crosse & Southwestern was to build from Iowa to Sault Ste. Marie, and, in fact, some active promotional work was done. The Northern Pacific was supposed to be looking for a terminus at the Soo over a line to be built "circumstances favoring" by the Detroit, Mackinac & Marquette. Another rumor had the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western and the Northern Pacific, in a combination, would extend a line to meet the route of the Detroit, Mackinac & Marquette. Finally, a speculation went the rounds as to whether the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Railway would try to prevent Washburn building east from Rhinelander. When G. W. Pratt, the Oshkosh lumberman and owner of a logging road known as the Pratt Railway, was asked about the possibility he was reported to have said, "Stop Washburn at Rhinelander? That's a good one!" The "Northwestern Lumberman" knew Washburn better and reported, "The Washburn line is started for that place (Sault Ste. Marie) in earnest".

In a report following the announcement of intention to build to Rhinelander, Mr. Washburn said that as yet no bonds had been placed on the road and that every mile of the 70 miles of road thus far laid was equipped and paid for all by direct investment of the stockholders. He intimated that if necessary the stockholders would build the road without other aid than assessments on their own resources, although bonds would be issued and sold on portions of the road yet to be constructed. It would appear from the language of the last sentence that Mr. Washburn had knowledge of forthcoming financial aid.

The fact that contracts were let in December 1885 for clearing the right-of-way; timber for bridges and for putting in piling and cutting wood and ties on the right-of-way, and in every way getting ready to do as much constructing in 1886 as was done in the previous two years; also, the report in the Minneapolis Tribune April 20, 1886 regarding letting of contracts for the construction of the Minneapolis & Pacific Railway, which read, “The scheme was quietly worked out last year and the bonds sold to raise the money” seems to give credence to the thought. But to do all the things that were on the planning board new money was urgently needed. The directors and officers were against the idea of seeking capital by open selling of stock, and had they been agreeable to such a plan, there seemed to be the hurdle of hard times and poor money market in the United States for such a railroad project that would have to be surmounted. The money lending fraternity felt the territory to be traversed was without much settlement and that difficulty would be encountered in developing sufficient local support.

The early momentum and success of the St. Paul & Pacific Ry -- later the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Ry -- was due to finances received from Canadian sources in Montreal. H. B. Angus, General Manager of the Bank of Montreal, came to St. Paul, Minn., where he assisted in the reorganization of the St. Paul & Pacific that became the present Great Northern Ry. Mr. Angus remained in St. Paul for five years. He had now returned to Montreal and resumed his old position with the Bank.

His stay in St. Paul was of sufficient duration that he became fully acquainted with the United States Northwest Territory, its prospects and rapid expansion. Thus Mr. Washburn went to present his case to Mr. Angus. The result was a contract dated February 4, 1886 between W. D. Washburn, as President of the Minneapolis Company, and the Bank of Montreal. It recited that the Minneapolis Company had undertaken to build a railway from Minneapolis to Sault Ste. Marie, and had already constructed 70 miles from Turtle Lake, Wis., eastward; was building an additional 70 miles to Rhinelander, and had arranged for an issue of First Mortgage six per cent Bonds at the rate of $20,000 per miles of railway actually built and equipped. The contract further recited that the Railway Company had applied to the Bank of Montreal for a loan of $750,000 upon the security of $1,500,000 of such Bonds; and the Bank agreed to such loan.

Almost simultaneously came the announcement that the Canadian Pacific intended to build an 80-mile branch from Algoma, Ontario, to Sault Ste. Marie. The Detroit, Mackinac & Marquette Railway (D. S. S. & A.) said that it would construct a branch line of 46 miles from Soo Jct. on its main line east to Sault Ste. Marie.

Mr. Washburn then made public announcement of the fact that the road had procured all necessary funds to complete the line to Rhinelander and sufficient capital was also guaranteed to build the line to Little Bay de Noc (Gladstone) near Escanaba. Crews that had been working eastward from Main Creek were augmented and the contractors were urged to crowd the work as fast as possible. It had been the custom of railroads throughout the woods country to chop and grade their roadway continuously from the starting point. In January a new method was adopted. A warehouse was built, barns constructed for teams, headquarters were established, and Rhinelander became a huge construction supply depot. A supply road over the surveyed line was cut westward to meet a road being cut through eastward to the Tomahawk waters. Then every half mile along the line of survey there was placed a shanty, the temporary residence of four men to whom had been sublet the clearing of right-of-way. A large number of horse teams then made daily trips over the supply road to the stations or shanties, conveying provisions, hay, and heavy wares. This new method proved superior to the old one resulting, as it did, in more rapid work being done.

In mid-year the Laughlin & Shepard Construction Company, of St. Paul was given the general contract to build the entire line of road. The time for completion of their contract was two years. This construction company had built a large part of the Canadian Pacific in Western Canada. Henry & Balch continued with the clearing and grading. In the fall of 1886, they, together with R. B. Langdon, of Minneapolis, took the contract for building the Minneapolis & St. Croix Railway between Minneapolis and Turtle Lake. The following spring Henry & Balch moved crews and equipment to Gladstone to drive piles for water front docks. The Collidge Fuel & Supply Company, of Minneapolis, had the contract to supply ties and telegraph poles. A sawmill in Ludington Michigan, had a contract to furnish three million feet of bridge timber and planking to be used east of Gladstone.

In February, Captain Rich and engineer Willis made measurements of the Wisconsin River at Rhinelander. Bridge timbers were ordered from Brown Bros., dump cars began arriving March 1st in Rhinelander for moving dirt on grading projects, and one of the greatest railroad construction jobs in the country, considering time, territory and obstacles was under way to be completed in record time by the end of 1887. During 1886 and 1887, 722 miles or road were built and put in operation.

At Minneapolis the new company had made an agreement with the Northern Pacific whereby certain tracks, bridges, depots and terminal facilities in both Twin Cities were to be used.

Looking forward to a physical connection with the Canadian Pacific at Sault Ste. Marie, the Soo Line Directors, through Mr. Washburn, with officials of the Canadian Pacific, began negotiations for construction of a bridge over the St. Marys River at Sault Ste. Marie. Because of Mr. Washburn's previous connections at the Nation’s Capital, he was chosen to make overture to army engineers and government Officials in Washington, while the Canadian Pacific directed its pleas to government officials at Ottawa. A bill was introduced in Congress that would grant permission to the M.S.S.M.& A. Railway to construct a bridge. It met with vigorous protest by lake carriers. The bill was passed however, the feeling being that much encouragement should be given to private enterprise which promoted the public welfare.

On October 7th Mr. Washburn, as President of the M. S. S. M. & A., entered into a contract with George Stephen, President of the Canadian Pacific, which recited that the Canadian Pacific was operating a railway from Montreal to Algoma, on the shore of Lake Huron with power to extend its railway from Agloma to Sault Ate. Marie; that the Minnesota Company had undertaken to construct a railway from Minneapolis to Sault Ste. Marie and had already completed a portion thereof -- and that:

”It will be greatly to the advantage of the Canadian Company to have railway communications established between Sault Ste. Marie and Minneapolis and the points southerly and westerly therefrom reached by existing railways.”

The contract further provided:

"The Canadian Company hereby agrees to and with the Minneapolis Company that if the last named company shall and will in good faith begin and prosecute the construction of its railway from the existing eastern terminus thereof to Sault Ste. Marie, so as to afford continuous railwav communication between Minneapolis and St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie, it, the Canadian Company, will extend its said line of railway from Algoma aforesaid to a point upon the St. Marys River opposite Sault Ste. Marie, and will have said extension fully completed so that the same shall be in operation by the tine the Minneapolis Company shall complete its road to Sault Ste. Marie".

The contract contained further provisions to the effect that the Canadian Company would build a bridge across the St. Marys River.

On June 29, 1887 an agreement with the Canadian Pacific and the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railway was made whereby the Soo Line united with the other two railroads in the benefits and burdens of an agreement with the Sault Ste. Marie bridge Company for the construction of a bridge connecting the American and Canadian sides of St. Marys River at the Sault. On July 1, 1887 the three roads entered into contract fixing the rate of charges for the use of the bridge in order to provide tolls for the payment of the Bonds of the Bridge Company which the several companies had guaranteed.

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