|The Iola & Northern depot at Iola is still standing today.
The Iola & Northern was formed in
May of 1893 to build a line from Scandinavia northwest to Prentice,
Wisconsin, a distance of about one hundred miles. The line was to cross
the Wisconsin River near Wausau and make a connection on the north end
with a speculative railroad to Superior Wisconsin. The railroad was
financed by the same people who controlled the Green
Bay Winona & St. Paul RR. The Panic of 1893 put a damper on the
plans of both the I&N and the parent railroad, and the only portion
ever completed was a five-mile leg from Scandinavia to Iola.
Train service to Iola began in July 1893 and a new depot was erected
the following year. It was known as "Station 66," because it
was located 65.7 miles from Green Bay. The depot was used until the Iola
Branch was abandoned in 1958.
This great photo captures a glimpse of life one hundred years
ago. The road to the depot is dirt, and transportation is provided
by one- and two- axle carts pulled by horses. It's easy to see how
the arrival of the railroad would have a profound impact on the means of
travel back then. I'm not sure what event was occurring down at
the depot, but there sure are a lot of children in the photo!
The depot is a survivor of the Green Bay Route, still standing on
Depot Street in Iola. It is now owned by the Iola Historical Society and
houses a collection of railroad artifacts.
The photo also shows what appears to be Combine No. 1. The car was
built in 1889 and transferred to the I&N accounts when the railroad
began operations. It was a survivor too, eventually ending up in a field
near New Franken where it stood until the 1980s.