Our Address Is:
301 State Road
Montevideo, MN 56265
Goal/Mission Statement (a statement of purpose)
To collect and restore Milwaukee Road memorabilia and artifacts and to develop a Milwaukee Road Museum and Railroad Park for historical and educational purposes.
The Milwaukee Road Heritage Center had its beginnings in 1992 as the Minn-Kota Railroad Historical Society. The organization was formed by a group of Montevideo civic leaders, railroad lovers and history enthusiasts who wanted to preserve the history of railroads in western Minnesota. Among the founding members were Arnold C. Anderson, Geoff Hathaway, John Givan, Jay Bechtle, Corky Lauritsen, Brian Wordes, Geraldine Aamot, and Phil Aamot. The name of the organization was later changed to the Milwaukee Road Heritage Center (MRHC) and the group focused its efforts on preserving the history of The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad, more commonly known as The Milwaukee Road. The railroad played a major role in the development of Montevideo in the late 19th century and the life of the community for eight decades in the 20th century. The Milwaukee Road Heritage Center applied for special tax status as a non-profit organization, which was approved by the United States Internal Revenue Service. This allows donations of railroad equipment, memorabilia, and related items to be tax deductible for the donors. Railroad cars that were unique to The Milwaukee Road were donated by CP Rail (the parent company and successor to the Soo Line, which had purchased the assets of The Milwaukee Road when it went bankrupt in 1985), and the Twin Cities & Western Railroad (a shortline railroad which operated former Milwaukee Road tracks between Hopkins and Ortonville). This includes the X-19 — a 200-ton crane, a heavyweight baggage/express car built in 1935 by The Milwaukee Road in its Milwaukee, Wisconsin, shops; a streamlined baggage car built in the 1940s, a wedge snowplow made from a retired coal and water tender from a steam locomotive, a 50-foot-long flatcar, a 50 foot boxcar, a ribside caboose built by the Milwaukee Road, a 1974 long frame cabooose for use in coal assignments, a touralux sleeper named "The Mount Rushmore" built for the Olympian Hiawatha passenger train, a former express/baggage car; a 600-horsepower diesel-powered switch engine built in 1939 by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors Corp. A collection of hand tools used by railroad workers throughout the 20th century is displayed in the sand house, which was built in 1898. The sand house was completely restored in the late 1990s by the MRHC. The 90-foot-long turntable, built in 1913 and used by the railroad to move steam locomotives into the 26-stall roundhouse, was restored to operating condition. In 2006, work began to repair the concrete foundation of the roundhouse with the goal of preparing for the erection of a new building in which railroad cars and locomotives could be stored. In 2014, The museum purchased the land on which the museum occupies from the City of Montevideo. With this purchase, it will enable the MRHC to continue and develop the grounds for future generations to learn and enjoy about the railroad and its affect on the City of Montevideo. The members of the Milwaukee Road Heritage Center board of directors are Jim Ruether, of Montevideo, president; Max Hinde, of Montevideo, vice president; Scott Vaubel, of Sleepy Eye, secretary; Teresa Patton, of Montevideo, treasurer; Deb Moe, of Montevideo, newsletter editor/web page editor; John Givan, of Montevideo, Model Railroad; Dick Ryman, of Montevideo and Wayne Spiess, of Dawson. The Milwaukee Road Heritage Center is a 501(c)(3) Non-profit Organization. This allows donations of railroad equipment, memoribilia, related items and cas to be tax deductible for the donors.