Steam engine #18 was a survivor!
Engine #18 was built in 1879 by the Danforth & Cooke Locomotive and
Machine Co. of Paterson, New Jersey in 1879. At this time, the Green
Bay Route was still operating as the Green Bay
& Minnesota Railroad, the corporate name of the company that
built the original trans-Wisconsin line seven years earlier. The
locomotive was named Grand Rapids after one of the major
cities on the railroad, a common practice at the time.
The business scene of railroads in the late 1800s was volatile, and the
Green Bay Route was not immune to the flux. By the time #18 arrived
on the property the railroad was in receivership for defaulting on a
second mortgage of their property, and in a few short years all of the
assets of the railroad were sold to the newly-formed Green
Bay, Winona & St. Paul RR The GBW&StP never lived
up to it's name, and by 1892 the railroad attempted to reorganize to
reduce the burden of their debt. The Panic of '93 added an extra
burden and in 1895 a lawsuit filed by an owner of just five of the
first-mortgage bonds (Mowry vs. Farmers Loan & Trust Co.)
tipped the scales and the line went into bankruptcy again.
Throughout it all, #18 stayed in service.
The railroad emerged as the modern-day Green Bay & Western in 1896,
with #18 still an vital part of the operations. As the twentieth
century arrived and the GB&W began to show the promise that had been
hoped for, track improvements allowed the railroad to acquire larger
power and the quaint 4-4-0 locomotives were delegated to