Green Bay & Western Lines
The East-West Short Route
 [Home]     Information ] Locos ] Rolling Stock ] Photos & Stuff ] Ephemera ] Modeling ] References ] Site Map ]
Omaha Road Crossing

Up ]


Rolling Stock
Photos & Stuff
Site Map

What's New?
Guest Book

In the Beginning...
GB&LP Headquarters
New London Junction
Kewaunee Harbor
Arcadia Washout
Manawa Wreck
Iola & Northern
Ice Jam
St. Paul Coal Docks
Cargill Coal Docks
Hatfield Dam Const.
Omaha Road Crossing
Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal
Wisconsin River Crossing
Waupaca Station
Waupaca Train
Sturgeon Bay Bridge
Stevens Point
Grand Rapids Bridge
Amherst Junction
Amherst Junction Depot
Big Crowd At Blair
Kewaunee Bridge
Hatfield Bridge
Black Creek Yards
Grand Rapids Bridge
Green Bay Junction
Taylor 1909
Scandinavia Depot
Scandinavia Union Depot
Grain Elevator
C&NW Bridge Yard
Shiocton Bridge
Station "66"
Amherst Junction
Deer Hunting
Kewaunee Skyline
Manawa Depot
Amherst Junction
Shiocton Street Scene
Trains in Merrillan
Scandinavia Map
Arcadia Excursion
Seymour Station
Sturgeon Bay Depot
Green Bay Station
Merrillan Map
Green Bay Depot
Manawa Station
Turntable Wreck
Arnott Depot
The Crew of No. 23
Amherst Junction
Sturgeon Bay Map
Sturgeon Bay Aerial
Sturgeon Bay Yard Action
WRX at Cheeseville
Whitehall Depot
Sampson Canning
Swing Bridge
Green Bay Aerial
Door County Cherries
Casco Junction derailment
Smith Shipbuilding
Steam in Color
#251 in Sturgeon Bay
Reiss Coal Crane Collapse
Hatfield Gravel Pit
Kewaunee Car Ferries
Wis. Rapids Depot Staff
Algoma Hardwoods
Old Wis. Rapids Depot
New Wis. Rapids Depot
Winona Yard
Sturgeon Bay Track Plans
Green Bay Food Company
Merrillan Bridge Collapse
Merrillan Train
New Halls Creek Culvert
Sturgeon Bay
1969 Train Wreck!
Green Bay Station
Wisconsin Rapids Aerial
Casco Depot
Sturgeon Bay Aerial
Mississippi Bridge Approach
Oneida Hill
Loading the Ferry
Norwood Elevator
1976 AHW Excursion
Merrillan Crossing
Winona Bridge
Trempealeau Valley Limited
Plover Depot
Stevens Point
Norwood Shops
1978 AHW Excursion
Taylor, Wis.
Kewaunee ca. 1980
Winona Enginehouse
New Power at New London
Winona Bridge
Fouling the Diamond
Sand Road
Kewaunee Car Ferriy
Train No. 2 at Merrillan
East Halls Creek
Westbound No. 2
Black River Bridge
Eastbound Pulpwood at Rapids
'85 Snow Plow Train
Train 2
No. 2 at Norwood
Alma Center
Train 2 at Merrillan
Ballast Train
Broadway Tower
'Valley Line' Train
East of Whitehall
James River Job
Norwood Shops
#309 at Del Monte
The End...
Farewell Excursion
End of the AHW
AHW Enginehouse
Luxemburg Co-Op
End of Norwood
Bridge at Dodge
Winona Today

Did you know...

Reload this page for more GREEN BAY ROUTE facts.

The GB&W and Omaha Road crossing at Merrillan.

Merrillan History:

Here's a history from "Merrillan Centennial" by Jean Anderson, 1970:

The West Wisconsin Railroad was built through this portion of Jackson County in the fall of 1869. Leander Merrill sent his brother Benjamin to Hudson, where the railroad offices were then located, in an effort to convince the railroad to change their road bed enough to include the present site of Merrillan. According to stories handed down by the Merrill family, the railroad officials agreed to change their route to include Merrill's future town for the consideration of $75,000, which Leander promptly paid to the company. Trains on the West Wisconsin Railroad did not make stops at Merrillan at this time and passengers either got off the trains at Wright's Mill (about 5 miles south) or at Humbird and then walked to Merrillan.

When the Green Bay & Lake Pepin Railroad planned to build their road through Jackson County, L.G. Merrill donated many acres of land to the company so they would change their plans from connecting with the West Wisconsin at Wright's to connecting with that railroad in Merrillan. The Green Bay & Lake Pepin Road reached Merrillan on December 22, 1872, and the first train arrived here the following week with a Mr. Garvin as engineer. The telegraph line on the railroad was completed in January 1873. A crude shack was converted into a Union Depot and both the West Wisconsin and Green Bay railroad began passenger service here. The first depot agent was J.A. Maynard. Merrillan's growth was very rapid after receiving passenger service.

In the spring of 1873, George Hiles of Dexterville took the contract to do the grading on the Green Bay & Lake Pepin Railroad from Merrillan to the Mississippi River and work began in mid May. During the summer of 1873 the Green Bay Railroad erected the Blair House, sometimes referred to as the Railroad House. This large 40 room hotel was located northwest of the junction of the two railroads on the site where a tavern sits today. A. Putman a former Black River Falls resident was the proprietor of the hotel and he was assisted by a Mr. Libby.

A lawsuit involving the title to a disputed 40 acres of land (known as the Railroad 40) almost in the center of Merrillan, involving the Green Bay Railroad, was tried in the fall of 1880. The litigation over this property had been a serious drawback in the growth of the town. L.G. Merrill had donated this portion of land to the Green Bay Railroad Company in order to persuade them to locate their route to cross the West Wisconsin at this point..(This was finally added to the Village Plat and is known as the D.M. Kelley Addition.)

On October 9, 1884, the Union freight depot burned. This was located at the junction of the Omaha and Green Bay and Minnesota roads. It was only a 'shack' and the citizens of Merrillan were not sorry to see it burn, as they hoped the two railroad companies would build a depot that would be a credit to the village. H.Weldon McGee, president of the Green Bay & Western in 1970 states, 'The original freight depot was built by the GB&M RR in 1884 and was rebuilt by the Omaha at joint expense by both carriers in 1885 after the original had burned. The original passenger depot, a 14 x 28 frame building with a 10 x 22 foot lean-to, was built by the G.B.&M.R.R. Co. in 1880 and converted into a car inspectors house in 1916. In 1886 a new depot was built by the Omaha at joint expense and has been so owned ever since.

By the time the Green Bay & Lake Pepin RR construction crews reached Merrillan in January 1873, the west Wisconsin town was already linked to the Saint Paul grain markets by the West Wisconsin Railroad.  The WWRR would later become part of the "Omaha Road" -- the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway.  The junction served as an important transfer point on the Green Bay Route.  Eastbound flour from Minnesota and westbound auto parts from Michigan transferred between the Green Bay Route and the Omaha Road at Merrillan.  Rumors of the GB&W building an extension from Merrillan to Saint Paul appeared in the 1880s, 1890s and again in 1906.  In addition, Merrillan was planned to be the junction point for the ill-fated La Crosse branch of the GB&W.

The view below, from a 1907 postcard, is looking northwest along the Omaha Road tracks.  The Green Bay & Western track cuts across from left (west, to Winona) to right (east, to Wisconsin Rapids).  The Omaha Road tracks were protected by a manual gate crossing over the GB&W.  You can see the gate in place over the tracks in the middle of the photo. The joint GB&W / Omaha Road station is still standing, now used by the Union Pacific Railroad.

The water tank, standpipe and pump house seen in this photo were installed in 1892 jointly paid for by the Omaha Road and the Green Bay Route.

A special thanks to Bob Gile for providing this photo!

Related material:

  • St. Paul Extension (ca. 1892) - A map published by the Village of Merrillan shows the proposed Green Bay Route's extension with Merrillan as a major division point.
  • Omaha Road Crossing (1907) - The GB&W and Omaha Road crossing at Merrillan.
  • Trains in Merrillan (1913) - Lots of trains thru Merrillan, Wisconsin.
  • Merrillan Map (1916) - Right-of-way map of Merrillan issued by the Green Bay & Western in 1916.
  • Turntable Wreck (1920) - An overturned coach sits next to the Merrillan turntable.
  • Plow Train (1969) - A westbound plow train approaching Sand Road on the west edge of Merrillan.
  • Merrillan Crossing (1976) - Eastbound Train No. 2 passes the Merrillan depot painted in "C&NW 400" colors.
  • Merrillan (2001) - Ex-GBW / Omaha Road Merrillan Depot, now used by the Union Pacific.


Postcard, 1907.

[ Top of This Page

 The Green Bay Route is maintained by Mark Mathu.
Visit the Guest Book or send comments to
Updated July 11, 2015