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T at was the worst economic collapse until the Great Depression.”


To reach Sturgeon Bay’s east side,


Locomotive AW 601 leading a northbound train across the Sturgeon Bay swing bridge in May 1961. The Michigan Street Bridge is visible in the background. The rail bridge was dismantled in 1974, but the causeway approach remains a part of the marina on the canal’s west side. Photo by Stan Mailer, courtesy of the Dan Luedke collection.


– A&W continued from previous page >> “It really is amazing that they built


it,” he says. “With shipping going on both sides of the peninsula it really was a gutsy move at the time.”


Door County was the last county in


Wisconsin to get rail service, as there was little interest in running a line to a dead end. T e builders had to run the


line through the swamps south of Stur- geon Bay, move materials to remote areas, and engineer their way around creeks and over Sturgeon Bay.


“To get all the ties, to move earth


to make a railroad up there, it was an impressive feat back then,” Mathu says. “And consider what it must have taken just to raise the capital in 1890, with the Panic of 1893 right around the corner.


– Bus line continued from previous page >> (Below) The Rocket waits for its next deployment from the Sister Bay bus depot.


where the shipyards and eventually a bus depot were located, the railroad had to cross the ship canal. In 1887, John Leathem, Tom Smith and Rufus Kellogg built a bridge, consisting of a wooden plank road on a timber pile trestle across the bay. It featured a center pivoting truss bridge to allow for boat passage through the canal, and they received a 25-year charter to operate it.


In 1891, the A&W received grants to-


taling $76,000 from the city and county to construct a line to Sturgeon Bay, and the rail crossing was completed in 1894 by attaching tracks to the toll bridge. For decades, the bridge carried both au- tomobiles and trains.


At the end of the charter in 1911, the


bridge reverted to municipal ownership; the City of Sturgeon Bay then operated it using tolls – 75 cents for threshing


Hulbert was tasked with coordinating


all the schedules so that they would work with the train and the ferry, typing them all up on a manual typewriter. T e state required records of how many miles every passenger traveled, a task that burned the numbers into Hulbert’s memory.


“It was 32 miles from Kewaunee to


Sturgeon Bay,” she said, “31 from Sis- ter Bay to Sturgeon Bay, 95 miles all the way to Manitowoc.”


After the war a line was added from


Kewaunee to Green Bay, and Isaacson opened a new bus station and restaurant on T ird Avenue in Sturgeon Bay.


After Isaacson retired in 1960, his son


Roger and son-in-law Paul Hulbert, Ev- elyn’s husband, took over, but the days of rail and bus travel to Door County


– Bus line continued on page 26 >> 24 Door County Living Winter 2011/2012 doorcountyliving.com


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