The crew poses with their wood-burning locomotive #3 during the early
days of the Green Bay Route.
The Green Bay & Lake Pepin Railway
was the original predecessor of the Green Bay & Western
Railroad. Construction began in 1869 and the first rails were
spiked on November 2, 1871. Construction began with a second-hand
engine #1, which was soon superceded by engines #2 and #3, delivered new
from the Grant Locomotive Works of Paterson, N.J. on December 2, 1871
for $13,000 each.
An early tradition on the GB&LP was to name locomotives after
financial backers of the railroad. Engines #2 and #3 were named SAMUEL
MARSH and JOSEPH H. SCRANTON.
They were named after named after a GB&LP financier and former Erie
Railroad president, and the president of the Lackawanna Iron and Coal
Company which sold steel rails to the railroad, respectively.
Grant Locomotive Works won a gold medal at the Paris Universal
Exposition in 1867 for an elegantly furnished locomotive they presented
at the show. From that point on, Grant works placed a replica of
this medal on the cab of every engine it built. If you look at the
image below, the front and back of the medal are in the two circles
below the cab window. Other gold medal winners at the Paris show
included Steinway & Son for a piano and a grain reaper from C.H.
McCormick, which put Grant in some elite company.
This photo was likely taken during the summer of 1872 while
construction of the railroad continued westward. Counterweights
have not yet been installed on the driving wheels.
The Story of the Green Bay and Western (Railway
& Locomotive Historical Society, 1966) claims that locomotive #3 had
the distinction of pulling the first GB&LP regularly scheduled train
from Green Bay to New London on December 19, 1871, although Stan
Mailer's Green Bay & Western, (Hundmann Publishing, 1989)
disputes this and claims that engine #1 pulled the train.
Passenger service between Green Bay and New London began the following
week when about 70 citizens of Green Bay arrived to attend New
London's railroad celebration.