First-Class Coach, Harlan & Holingsworth Co., 1893

#920 at North Freedom, Winter/Spring 1975.  Jim Neubauer photo
#920 at North Freedom, Winter/Spring 1975. Jim Neubauer photo

Soo Line #920 is one of four first class coaches (numbered 920-923) purchased from the Harlan & Hollingsworth Co. of Wilmington, Delaware in 1893. The car is of wood construction and was built with narrow closed vestibules. The narrow vestibule design was a short-lived forerunner to the full vestibule which later proved to be the standard for passenger cars. The car had a passenger section fitted with green plush walkover seats and smoking rooms at each end. #920 also was furnished with a Baker heater and men’s and ladies’ lavatories. The car’s oak interior was illuminated by five, two-burner oil ceiling lamps as well as single oil lamps in each of the lavatories. It is not known how long No. 920 remained in regular service on the Soo. By 1931, the car was sold to a private individual. It was moved off its trucks and used as a building. It was donated to Mid-Continent in March 1975 and moved to North Freedom. It is presently stored inside the Car Shop building.

Articles of Incorporation for the Minneapolis Sault Ste. Marie & Atlantic Railway (commonly known as Soo Line) were filed in Madison, Wisconsin on September 29, 1883, by several Minneapolis businessmen. Their goal was to link the flour mills of the Twin Cities with the Great Lakes shipping port of Sault Ste. Marie. By the end of 1887, the line was completed across the northern part of Wisconsin to reach the road’s namesake. The next 25 years saw much expansion and consolidation with other smaller roads. The Wisconsin Central was leased in 1909; in 1961, it was formally absorbed as well as the DSS&A to form the new Soo Line Railroad. Soo Line successfully purchased the remains of the Milwaukee Road in 1985, forever changing its system map; two years later, the new Wisconsin Central Ltd. purchased the old WC route and other track from Soo Line. Today the Soo Line exists only on paper, under the Canadian Pacific banner, most of its original trackage now operated by other companies or abandoned.