The Roundhouse

The former Chicago & North Western Railway Roundhouse and turntable were recently acquired by the City of Spooner. The Railroad Park Board and the Friends of Railroad Park are working to preserve the roundhouse and existing turntable for future generations to enjoy.

The Park

The Railroad Park Board is currently planning for what amenities the park will offer. The main focus is to preserve and showcase Spooner's rich railroad history and offer a gathering place for residents and visitors.

Spooner's Rail History

Spooner was an important railroad center of the Chicago & North Western Railway, and handled tremendous tonnage.  A local newspaper reported on July 27, 1883: “The new town at the Division has been named Spooner, after Col. John C. Spooner, the attorney of the road”. A large passenger depot, freight depots, a restaurant, express office, switching yards, locomotive and car shops, roundhouse, lumber yards, and offices were constructed.  Approximately 600 persons were employed. Its large payroll was a vital part of the local economy.

News:

June 2018 - News from the Railroad Park Committee

The Railroad Park Committee is pleased to announce that the Black Hawk Roofing
Division of McConnell Excavating, Oberlin, OH, finished installing the insulation and roofing material, completing the
replacement of the Roundhouse roof. All that remains to complete the project is to reinstall the tile cap on top of the
parapet; the end is in sight! The committee meets again June 26 th , 2018 at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall to discuss upcoming
plans for the Railroad Park.
The committee continues to make forward progress on the project, meeting monthly to keep the project on the
right track. Many people have asked how they can help or get involved in the project. First, feel free to attend our
meetings. All meetings are posted at city hall and you can even be added to our distribution list if you’d like to receive
notifications of the meetings. Second, we are in the fundraising process. If you’re able, we’d love for you to donate to the
project. You can view the donation levels and keep up to date on our progress. Thank you to all who
have donated and helped with the project so far. We thank Bill Marx, City Administrator for all his work in this project.
And I thank the Railroad Park Committee for all their time, effort, vision, and support.
We look forward to seeing what the future holds for Spooner’s Railroad Park! -Terri Reiter, Chair or Railroad Park Committee

December 2017 - News from the Railroad Park Committee

Exciting update from the Railroad Park Committee about the Roundhouse, says Terri Reiter, committee chair. The roof repairs have been completed! This involved replacing roof beams with Douglas Fir timbers where needed and boards on the north side that had been damaged by water infiltration where the roof leaked near roof drains. The work also included repair or replacement of several roof columns that were similarly damaged.  The insulation and roofing material for replacing the Roundhouse roof have arrived, and the roofing contractor is expected late this week or early next week. The committee will meet again Dec. 19, 2017, at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall to meet with a consultant to discuss fundraising and the next steps regarding the Railroad Park.

The committee is thrilled with the forward progress on the project and continues to meet monthly to keep the project on the right track and moving forward. Many people have asked how they can help or get involved in the project. First, feel free to attend our meetings. All meetings are posted at city hall and you can even be added to our distribution list if you’d like to receive notifications of the meetings. Second, we are beginning the fundraising process. If you’re able, we’d love for you to donate the project. We’ve included our donation levels below for your information. You can also go online to our website, www.SpoonerRailroadPark.com to view the donation levels and keep up to date on our progress. Thank you to all who have donated and helped with the project so far. We thank Bill Marx, City Administrator for all his work in this project. And I thank the Railroad Park Committee for all their time, effort, vision, and support.  

We look forward to seeing what the future holds for Spooner’s Railroad Park!

Spooner Railroad Park Donation Levels:

Gandy Dancer-<$250: Receive recognition on website

Engineer-$250-$999: Receive recognition on website and 4x8 brick installed at the entry to the park

Conductor-$1,000-$4,999: Receive logo & recognition on website and 8x8 brick installed at the entry to the park

Yard Master-$5,000+: Receive logo & recognition on website, 8x8 brick installed at the entry to the park, and a tree or a bench in your honor.

Donations can be mailed to: Friends of the Railroad Park, PO Box 548, Spooner, WI 54801. Please call if you have any questions, either to Friends of the Railroad Park 715-416-4622 or Terri Reiter at 715-416-2995. We will be looking for volunteers as well! Stay tuned for more updates.

September 2017 - Railroad Park Committee Meets to Set Up Project Priority List

On Tuesday, August 29th the Railroad Park Committee met at the roundhouse to discuss the future of Spooner’s Railroad Park. Already the first phase of landscaping is under way with the grounds being cleaned up, and the area is beginning to look fantastic. There are many great projects and ideas for the park and for the roundhouse. In fact, there are so many that the group has decided to start prioritizing the projects to take on as fundraising is being done. The first project that will be focused on is the Landscaping/Plaza/Historical Sign project. This will begin with a meeting to design the initial plan for landscaping including entrance to the park area, walkways, plaza, historical signs, and more. This project was chosen as first priority as it will make the park area very usable and welcoming for residents and visitors to be able to enjoy. The second project will be to incorporate picnic tables and benches throughout the park. After the first two projects are complete, the focus will be on installing an aesthetically pleasing fence around the turntable, and securing the roundhouse with new doors, windows and security system.

The committee is thrilled with the forward progress on the project and will be meeting monthly to keep the project on the right track and moving forward. Many people have asked how they can help or get involved in the project. First, feel free to attend our meetings. All meetings are posted at city hall and you can even be added to our distribution list if you’d like to receive notifications of the meetings. Second, we are beginning the fundraising process. If you’re able, we’d love for you to donate the project. We’ve included our donation levels below for your information. You can also go online to our website, www.SpoonerRailroadPark.com to view the donation levels and keep up to date on our progress. Thank you to all who have donated and helped with the project so far. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for Spooner’s Railroad Park!

Spooner Railroad Park Donation Levels:

Gandy Dancer-<$250: Receive recognition on website

Engineer-$250-$999: Receive recognition on website and 4x8 brick installed at the entry to the park

Conductor-$1,000-$4,999: Receive logo & recognition on website and 8x8 brick installed at the entry to the park

Yard Master-$5,000+: Receive logo & recognition on website, 8x8 brick installed at the entry to the park, and a tree or a bench in your honor.

Donations can be mailed to: Friends of the Railroad Park, PO Box 548, Spooner, WI 54801. Please call if you have any questions, either to Friends of the Railroad Park 715-416-4622 or Terri Reiter at 715-416-2995. We will be looking for volunteers as well! Stay tuned for more updates.

 

Since 1993

July 2017 - Spooner Railroad Park Ribbon Cutting & Media Event - August 4th @ 3 p.m.

The Friends of the Railroad Park (FORRP) invite the public to attend a ribbon cutting and media event on Friday, August 4th at 3pm at the former Chicago and North Western Railway roundhouse in Spooner.  The remaining stalls of the roundhouse, the surviving turntable, as well as other notable aspects of the original rail yard are located directly behind the Railroad Memories Museum located at 424 North Front Street. There will be free tours of the grounds, including the roundhouse, during this event.

Several local and state organizations have collaborated for years on efforts that would ultimately lead to the preservation of this unique and historic property. “Spooner’s origin and colorful history is rooted in the railroad expansion of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The Spooner roundhouse is one of few remaining today, and is an important aspect of our history.  For this and many other reasons, it is essential for the City of Spooner to lead and support the preservation and future restoration of our railroad facilities” said Gary J. Cuskey, Mayor of Spooner. The City of Spooner re-acquired this property in the fall of 2016, adding it to the remainder of the Spooner Railroad Park which has been managed by a city board for several years.  The Railroad Memories Museum is housed in the original passenger depot, and the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad operates the active trackage on the site.

Spooner was an important railroad center of the Chicago & North Western Railway, and handled tremendous tonnage.  A local newspaper reported on July 27, 1883: “The new town at the Division has been named Spooner, after Col. John C. Spooner, the attorney of the road”. A large passenger depot, freight depots, a restaurant, express office, switching yards, locomotive and car shops, roundhouse, lumber yards, and offices were constructed.  Approximately 600 persons were employed. Its large payroll was a vital part of the local economy. “Personally two of my uncles and my grandfather were railroad engineers who were headquartered in Spooner”, William Marx, Spooner City Administrator said. “The roundhouse and turntable are a significant part of our history and should be preserved”.

The Friends of the Railroad Park is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, operating under the guidance of the Spooner Development Corporation. Terri Reiter, City Council Alderperson, is the Chair of the Railroad Park Board and the Chair of FORRP. “I realized this incredibly awesome project needed a local liaison, and if I stepped up to the challenge, I could help preserve our community’s rich railroad history.  I am involved because I love Spooner, its people, and love the fact this city was built because of the railroad. Please consider supporting this wonderful opportunity.”

Next Steps...

This project simply can't be accomplished without your help. We're looking to railroad fans, residents and anyone with an interest in the park to help us take our next steps. If you are interested in this project, we would love to talk to you. Donations are now being accepted as well.