Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad
The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad was a U. S. Class 1 railroad that connected Buffalo, New York, Hoboken, New Jersey, a distance of about 400 miles. Incorporated in 1853, the DL&W was profitable during the first two decades of the twentieth century, but its margins were hurt by declining traffic in coal and competition from trucks. In 1960, the DL&W merged with rival Erie Railroad to form the Erie Lackawanna Railroad; the Leggett's Gap Railroad stayed dormant for many years. It was chartered on March 14, 1849, organized January 2, 1850. On April 14, 1851, its name was changed to the Western Railroad; the line, running north from Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Great Bend, just south of the New York state line, opened on December 20, 1851. From Great Bend the L&W obtained trackage rights north and west over the New York and Erie Rail Road to Owego, New York, where it leased the Cayuga and Susquehanna Railroad to Ithaca on Cayuga Lake; the C&S was a re-organized and re-built Ithaca and Owego Railroad, which had opened on April 1, 1834, was the oldest part of the DL&W system.
The whole system was built to 6 ft broad gauge, the same as the New York and Erie, although the original I&O was built to standard gauge and converted to wide gauge when re-built as the C&S. The Delaware and Cobb's Gap Railroad was chartered December 4, 1850, to build a line from Scranton east to the Delaware River. Before it opened, the Delaware and Cobb's Gap and Lackawanna and Western were consolidated by the Lackawanna Steel Company into one company, the Delaware and Western Railroad, on March 11, 1853. On the New Jersey side of the Delaware River, the Warren Railroad was chartered February 12, 1851, to continue from the bridge over the river southeast to Hampton on the Central Railroad of New Jersey; that section got its name from Warren County, the county through which it would run. The rest of the line, now known as the Southern Division, opened on May 27, 1856, including the New Jersey section. A third rail was added to the standard gauge Central Railroad of New Jersey east of Hampton to allow the DL&W to run east to Elizabeth via trackage rights.
On December 10, 1868, the DL&W bought the Essex Railroad. This line ran east-west across northern New Jersey, crossing the Warren Railroad at Washington and providing access to Jersey City without depending on the CNJ; the M&E tunnel under Bergen Hill opened in 1876 relieving it of its use of the New York, Lake Erie and Western Railway in Jersey City. Along with the M&E lease came several branch lines in New Jersey, including the Boonton Line, which bypassed Newark for through freight; the DL&W bought the Syracuse and New York Railroad in 1869 and leased the Oswego and Syracuse Railroad on February 13, 1869. This gave it a branch from Binghamton north and northwest via Syracuse to Oswego, a port on Lake Ontario; the Greene Railroad was organized in 1869, opened in 1870, was leased to the DL&W, providing a short branch off the Oswego line from Chenango Forks to Greene. In 1870 the DL&W leased the Utica and Susquehanna Valley Railway, continuing this branch north to Utica, with a branch from Richfield Junction to Richfield Springs.
The Valley Railroad was organized March 3, 1869, to connect the end of the original line at Great Bend, Pennsylvania to Binghamton, New York, avoiding reliance on the Erie. The new line opened October 1, 1871. By 1873, the DL&W controlled the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg Railroad, a branch from Scranton southwest to Northumberland. On March 15, 1876, the whole system was re-gauged to standard gauge in one day; the New York and Western Railroad was chartered August 26, 1880, opened September 17, 1882, to continue the DL&W from Binghamton west and northwest to Buffalo. The main line ran to the International Bridge to Ontario, a branch served downtown Buffalo. On December 1, 1903, the DL&W began operating the Erie and Central New York Railroad, a branch of the Oswego line from Cortland Junction east to Cincinnatus. By 1909, the DL&W controlled the Portland Railway; this line branched from the main line at Portland, Pennsylvania southwest to Nazareth, with a branch to Martins Creek. The DL&W built a Beaux-Arts terminal in Hoboken in 1907, another Beaux-Arts passenger station in Scranton the following year.
A new terminal was constructed on the waterfront in Buffalo in 1917. The Lackawanna Railroad of New Jersey, chartered on February 7, 1908, to build the Lackawanna Cut-Off, opened on December 24, 1911; this provided a low-grade cutoff in northwestern New Jersey. The cutoff included the Delaware River Viaduct and the Paulinskill Viaduct, as well as three concrete towers at Port Morris and Greendell in New Jersey and Slateford Junction in Pennsylvania. From 1912 to 1915, the Summit-Hallstead Cutoff was built to revamp a winding and hilly system between Clarks Summit and Hallstead, Pennsylvania; this rerouting provided another quicker low-grade line between Binghamton. The Summit Cut-Off included Martins Creek Viaduct; the Lackawanna's cutoffs had no at-grade crossings with roads or highways, allowing high-speed service. The most profitable commodity shipped by the railroad was anthracite coal. In 1890 and during 1920–1940, the DL&W shipped upwards of 14% of the state of Penn
Great Northern Railway (U.S.)
The Great Northern Railway was an American Class I railroad. Running from Saint Paul, Minnesota, to Seattle, Washington, it was the creation of 19th-century railroad entrepreneur James J. Hill and was developed from the Saint Paul & Pacific Railroad; the Great Northern's route was the northernmost transcontinental railroad route in the U. S. In 1970 the Great Northern Railway merged with three other railroads to form the Burlington Northern Railroad, which merged in 1996 with the Atchison and Santa Fe Railway to form the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway; the Great Northern was the only funded – and built – transcontinental railroad in U. S. history. No federal subsidies were used unlike all other transcontinental railroads; the Great Northern was built in stages to create profitable lines, before extending the road further into the undeveloped Western territories. In a series of the earliest public relations campaigns, contests were held to promote interest in the railroad and the ranchlands along its route.
Fred J. Adams used promotional incentives such as feed and seed donations to farmers getting started along the line. Contests were all-inclusive, from largest farm animals to largest freight carload capacity and were promoted to immigrants and newcomers from the East; the earliest predecessor railroad to the GN was the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, a bankrupt railroad with a small amount of track in the state of Minnesota. James Jerome Hill convinced John S. Kennedy, Norman Kittson, Donald Smith, George Stephen, others to invest $5.5 million in purchasing the railroad. On March 13, 1878, the road's creditors formally signed an agreement transferring their bonds and control of the railroad to Hill's investment group. On September 18, 1889, Hill changed the name of the Minneapolis and St. Cloud Railway to the Great Northern Railway. On February 1, 1890, he transferred ownership of the StPM&M, Montana Central Railway, other rail systems he owned to the Great Northern; the Great Northern had branches that ran north to the Canada–US border in Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana.
It had branches that ran to Superior and Butte, connecting with the iron mining fields of Minnesota and copper mines of Montana. In 1898 Hill purchased control of large parts of the Messabe Range iron mining district in Minnesota, along with its rail lines; the Great Northern began large-scale shipment of ore to the steel mills of the Midwest. At its height, Great Northern operated over 8,000 miles; the railroad’s best known engineer was John Frank Stevens, who served from 1889 to 1903. Stevens was acclaimed for his 1889 exploration of Marias Pass in Montana and determined its practicability for a railroad. Stevens was an efficient administrator with imagination, he discovered Stevens Pass through the Cascade Mountains, set railroad construction standards in the Mesabi Range of northern Minnesota, supervised construction of the Oregon Trunk Line. He became the chief engineer of the Panama Canal; the logo of the railroad, a Rocky Mountain goat, was based on a goat William Kenney, one of the railroad's presidents, had used to haul newspapers as a boy.
The mainline began at Saint Paul, heading west and topping the bluffs of the Mississippi River, crossing the river to Minneapolis on a massive multi-piered stone bridge. The Stone Arch Bridge stands in Minneapolis, near the Saint Anthony Falls, the only waterfall on the Mississippi; the bridge ceased to be used as a railroad bridge in 1978 and is now used as a pedestrian river crossing with excellent views of the falls and of the lock system used to grant barges access up the river past the falls. The mainline headed northwest from the Twin Cities, across eastern Montana; the line crossed the Rocky Mountains at Marias Pass, followed the Flathead River and Kootenai River to Bonners Ferry, South to Sandpoint, west to Newport, Washington and to Spokane, passing by the extensive railroad facility of Hillyard, Washington. From here, the mainline crossed the Cascade Mountains through the Cascade Tunnel under Stevens Pass, reaching Seattle, Washington, in 1893, with the driving of the last spike at Scenic, Washington, on January 6, 1893.
The main line west of Marias Pass has been relocated twice. The original route over Haskell Pass, via Kalispell and Marion, Montana was replaced in 1904 by a more circuitous but flatter route via Whitefish and Eureka, joining the Kootenai River at Rexford, Montana. A further reroute was necessitated by the construction of the Libby Dam on the Kootenai River in the late 1960s; the Army Corp of Engineers built a new route through the Salish Mountains, including the 7-mile-long Flathead Tunnel, second-longest in the United States, to relocate the tracks away from the Kootenai River. This route opened in 1970; the surviving portions of the older routes (from Columbia Falls to Kalispell and Stryker to Eureka, are now operated by Watco as the Mission Mountain Railroad. The Great Northern mainline crossed the continental divide through Marias Pass, the lowest crossing of the Rockies south of the Canada–US border. Here, the mainline forms the southern border of Glacier National Park, which the GN promoted as a tourist attraction.
GN constructed stations at East Glacier and West Glacier entries to the park and timber lodges at the entries and other inns and lodges throughout the Park
Paterson, New Jersey
Paterson is the largest city in and the county seat of Passaic County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, its population was 146,199, making it New Jersey's third-most-populous city. Paterson has the second-highest density of any U. S. city with over 100,000 people, behind only New York City. For 2017, the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program calculated a population of 148,678, an increase of 1.7% from the 2010 enumeration, making the city the 174th-most-populous in the nation. Paterson is known as the "Silk City" for its dominant role in silk production during the latter half of the 19th century, it has since evolved into a major destination for Hispanic immigrants as well as for immigrants from India, South Asia, the Arab and Muslim world. Paterson has the second-largest Muslim population in the United States by percentage; the area of Paterson was inhabited by the Algonquian-speaking Native American Acquackanonk tribe of the Lenape known as the Delaware Indians.
The land was known as the Lenapehoking. The Dutch claimed the land as New Netherlands the British as the Province of New Jersey. In 1791 Alexander Hamilton, first United States Secretary of the Treasury, helped found the Society for the Establishment of Useful Manufactures, which helped encourage the harnessing of energy from the Great Falls of the Passaic River to secure economic independence from British manufacturers; the society founded Paterson. Paterson was named for William Paterson, signer of the Constitution and Governor of New Jersey, who signed the 1792 charter that established the Town of Paterson. Architect and city planner Pierre Charles L'Enfant, who had earlier developed the initial plans for Washington, D. C. was the first planner for the S. U. M. Project, his plan proposed to harness the power of the Great Falls through a channel in the rock and an aqueduct. The society's directors felt he was taking too long and was over budget, he was replaced by Peter Colt, who used a less complicated reservoir system to get the water flowing to factories in 1794.
Colt's system developed some problems and a scheme resembling L'Enfant's original plan was used after 1846. Paterson was formed as a township from portions of Acquackanonk Township on April 11, 1831, while the area was still part of Essex County, it became part of newly created Passaic County on February 7, 1837, was incorporated as a city on April 14, 1851, based on the results of a referendum held that day. The city was reincorporated on March 14, 1861; the industries developed in Paterson were powered by the 77-foot-high Great Falls and a system of water raceways that harnessed the falls' power, providing power for the mills in the area until 1914 and fostering the growth of the city around them. The district included dozens of mill buildings and other manufacturing structures associated with the textile industry and the firearms and railroad locomotive manufacturing industries. In the latter half of the 19th century silk production became the dominant industry and formed the basis of Paterson's most prosperous period, earning it the nickname "Silk City."In 1835 Samuel Colt began producing firearms in Paterson, but within a few years he moved his business to Hartford, Connecticut.
In the 19th century Paterson was the site of early experiments with submarines by Irish-American inventor John Philip Holland. Two of Holland's early models—one found at the bottom of the Passaic River—are on display in the Paterson Museum, housed in the former Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works near the Passaic Falls. Behind Newark and New York, the brewing industry was booming in Paterson in the late 1800s. Braun Brewery, Sprattler & Mennell, Graham Brewery, The Katz Brothers, Burton Brewery merged in 1890 to form Paterson Consolidated Brewing Company. Hinchliffe Brewing and Malting Company, founded in 1861, produced 75,000 barrels a year from its state-of-the-art facility at 63 Governor Street. All the breweries closed after Prohibition; the city was a mecca for immigrant laborers, who worked in its factories Italian weavers from the Naples region. Paterson was the site of historic labor unrest that focused on anti-child labor legislation, the six-month-long Paterson silk strike of 1913 that demanded the eight-hour day and better working conditions.
It was defeated with workers forced to return under pre-strike conditions. Factory workers labored long hours for low wages under dangerous conditions and lived in crowded tenement buildings around the mills; the factories moved to the South, where there were no labor unions, still moved overseas. In 1919 Paterson was one of eight locations bombed by self-identified anarchists. In 1932 Paterson opened Hinchliffe Stadium, a 10,000-seat stadium named in honor of John V. Hinchliffe, the city's mayor at the time. Hinchliffe Stadium served as the site for high school and professional athletic events. From 1933 to 1937 and 1939 to 1945, it was the home of the New York Black Yankees, from 1935 to 1936 the home of the New York Cubans of the Negro National League; the ballpark was a venue for professional football games and field events, boxing matches, auto and motorcycle racing. The comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello performed at Hinchliffe. Hinchliffe is one of only three Negro League stadiums left standing in the United States and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Paterson Public Schools acquired the stadium in 1963 and used it for public school events until 1997, but it is now in di
Lake Superior Railroad Museum
The Lake Superior Railroad Museum is a railroad museum in Duluth, United States. The museum has seven steam, 14 diesel, two electric locomotives; the collection includes the William Crooks, which became the first locomotive to operate in the state of Minnesota in 1861, Duluth and Iron Range Railway Number 227, a 2-8-8-4 "Yellowstone" locomotive, among the largest steam engines to operate. The museum operates; the museum is housed in the former Duluth Union Depot, now the Saint Louis County Heritage and Arts Center's Historic Union Depot. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the depot houses the Duluth Art Institute, Duluth Playhouse, the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Louis County Historical Society. Duluth and Iron Range #C9 Duluth and Iron Range #C12 Duluth and Pacific #76923 Soo Line #99017 Duluth and Iron Range #C205 Great Northern #X452 Northern Pacific #1311 Soo Line #1 Northern Pacific Rotary Snow Plow #2: Built in 1887 by the Cooke Locomotive and Machine Works, #2 is the world's oldest surviving rotary snow plow.
The museum acquired it in 1975 and it was designated a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark in 2015. Burlington Northern Steam Powered Wrecker #D161 - Built 1915 Northern Pacific Wedge Snowplow #19 - Built 1907 Northern Pacific Steam Powered Wrecker #38 - Built 1913 List of heritage railroads in the United States Museum's website
Panic of 1857
The Panic of 1857 was a financial panic in the United States caused by the declining international economy and over-expansion of the domestic economy. Because of the interconnectedness of the world economy by the 1850s, the financial crisis that began in late 1857 was the first worldwide economic crisis. In Britain, the Palmerston government circumvented the requirements of the Bank Charter Act 1844, which required gold and silver reserves to back up the amount of money in circulation. Surfacing news of this circumvention set off the Panic in Britain. Beginning in September 1857, the financial downturn did not last long; the sinking of SS Central America contributed to the panic of 1857, as New York banks were awaiting a much-needed shipment of gold. American banks did not recover until after the civil war. After the failure of Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company, the financial panic spread as businesses began to fail, the railroad industry experienced financial declines, hundreds of workers were laid off.
Since the years preceding the Panic of 1857 were prosperous, many banks and farmers had seized the opportunity to take risks with their investments and as soon as market prices began to fall, they began to experience the effects of financial panic. In the early 1850s, there was much economic prosperity in the United States, to a major extent stimulated by the large amount of gold discovered and mined in the California Gold Rush, which expanded the money supply. By the mid 1850s, the amount of gold mined began to decline, causing western bankers and investors to become wary. Eastern banks became cautious with their loans to the west, some refused to accept western bank-issued paper currencies; the Supreme Court ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford was handed down in March 1857. After Scott sued for his freedom, Chief Justice Roger Taney ruled that Scott was not a citizen because he was black and therefore did not have the right to sue in court; the ruling made the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional by saying the federal government could not prohibit slavery, since it controlled the territories, could not ban slavery in them.
It was clear that the decision would have a significant impact on the further development of the western territories. Soon after the ruling, "the political struggle between'free soil' and slavery in the territories" began; the western territories north of the Missouri Compromise line were now opened to the possibility that slavery might expand into them, it was evident that this would have drastic financial and political effects. "Kansas land warrants and western railroad securities' prices declined just after the Dred Scott decision in early March." This fluctuation in railroad securities proved "that political news about future territories called the tune in the land and railroad securities markets". Before 1857, the railroad industry was booming due to large migrations of people to the west in Kansas. With the large influx of people, the railroads became a profitable industry and the banks seized the opportunity and began to provide railroad companies with large loans. Many of these companies never made it past the stage of a paper railroad and never owned physical assets necessary to run one.
Prices of railroad stocks as a whole began to experience a stock bubble, railroad stocks saw speculative entries into the fray, making the bubble worse. In the meantime, the aforementioned Dred Scott decision lent uncertainty to railroads in general. In July 1857, railroad stocks saw their peak values. On August 11, 1857, N. H. Wolfe and Company, the oldest flour and grain company in New York City, failed; the failure shook investor confidence and began a slow selloff in the market which continued into late August. On the morning of August 24, 1857, the president of Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company announced that its New York branch had suspended payments. Ohio Life was an Ohio-based bank with a second main office in New York City; the company was the liaison to other Ohio investment banks. Ohio Life failed due to fraudulent activities by the company's management, its failure threatened to precipitate the failure of other Ohio banks or worse, to create a run on the banks. According to an article printed in the New York Daily Times, Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company's "New York City and Cincinnati suspended.
Luckily, the banks connected to Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company were reimbursed and "avoided suspending convertibility by credibly coinsuring one another against runs". The failure of Ohio Life brought attention to the financial state of the railroad industry and land markets, thereby causing the financial panic to become a more public issue. By the spring of 1858, "commercial credit had dried up, forcing debt-ridden merchants of the West to curtail new purchases of inventory"; the railroads "had created an interdependent national economy, now an economic downturn in the West threatened... economic crisis". Since many banks had financed the railroads and land purchases, they began to feel the pressures of the falling value of railroad securities; the Illinois Central. The Delaware and Western Railroad and the Fond du Lac Railroad companies were forced to declare bankruptcy; the Boston and Worcester Railroad Company experienced heavy financial difficulties. The employees were i
The Alton Railroad was the final name of a railroad linking Chicago to Alton, Illinois, St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri, its predecessor, the Chicago and Alton Railroad, was purchased by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in 1931 and was controlled until 1942 when the Alton was released to the courts. On May 31, 1947 the Alton Railroad was merged into the Gulf and Ohio Railroad. Jacob Bunn had been one of the founding reorganizers of the Chicago & Alton Railroad Company during the 1860s. Main lines included Chicago to a branch to Kansas City; the former is now part of Union Pacific, with Metra Heritage Corridor commuter rail service north of Joliet. The latter is part of the Kansas City Southern Railway system; the earliest ancestor to the Alton Railroad was the Alton and Sangamon Railroad, chartered February 27, 1847 in Illinois to connect the Mississippi River town of Alton to the state capital at Springfield in Sangamon County. The line was finished in 1852, as the Chicago & Mississippi Railroad extended to Bloomington in 1854 and Joliet in 1855.
Trains ran over the completed Chicago and Rock Island Railroad to Chicago. The Joliet and Chicago Railroad was chartered February 15, 1855 and opened in 1856, continuing north and northeast from Joliet to downtown Chicago, it was leased by Mississippi, providing a continuous railroad from Alton to Chicago. In 1857 the C&M was reorganized as the St. Louis and Chicago Railroad, another reorganization on October 10, 1862, produced the Chicago and Alton Railroad; the C&A chartered the Alton and St. Louis Railroad to extend the line to East St. Louis, opened in 1864, giving it a line from Chicago to East St. Louis. In 1925 Chicago & Alton carried 2143 million revenue ton-miles of freight and 202 million revenue passenger-miles on 1056 miles of road and 1863 miles of track. Same numbers for 1944 were 2596, 483, 959 and 1717. By 1950, all of the Alton's steam locomotives were replaced by diesel locomotives. Springfield-Kansas City and Godfrey-Roodhouse Gateway Western Railway 1997–present Gateway Western is a Kansas City Southern Railway subsidiary 1990-1997 Gateway Western was an affiliate of the Atchison and Santa Fe Railway Chicago and Western Railway 1987-1989 Union Pacific Railroad 1996–present Chicago-St.
Louis line SPCSL Corporation 1989-1996 a subsidiary of Southern Pacific Transportation Company Chicago and Western Railway 1987-1989 Chicago and Western Railway 1987-1989 Illinois Central Gulf Railroad 1972-1987 Gulf and Ohio Railroad 1947-1972 Alton Railroad 1931-1947 Subsidiary of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Chicago and Alton Railroad 1906-1931 took over line from Peoria-Springfield Chicago and Alton Railway 1900-1906 controlled by UP & Rock. Louis route. Sleeping cars were operated over most routes between Chicago, Bloomington, St. Louis and Kansas City in principal train consists. Successor Gulf, Mobile & Ohio operated Chicago-St. Louis sleeping car service until December 31, 1969, the last railroad to do so between the two cities; the first dining car, the Delmonico, named for the famous New York restaurant, was built by Pullman in the Aurora, Illinois shops of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. The car first appeared in regular service over the C&A's Chicago-St. Louis mainline. Two other Pullman diners built at the same time, the Tremont, the Southern, were leased, providing dining car service on all three principal C&A Chicago-St.
Louis trains. Dining cars were a part of Chicago-St. Louis train consists until May 1971, with the takeover of passenger service by Amtrak. In 1932 the Alton was the first Chicago-St. Louis Railroad to install air conditioning on its passenger trains; the Alton Limited Abraham Lincoln Ann Rutledge The Hummer The Midnight Special First entry of C&A passenger trains from Joliet into Chicago was over the Chicago & Rock Island to that railroad's depot. Passenger trains were moved over to the Illinois Central depot. On December 28, 1863, the leased J&C and Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway came to an agreement where the J&C would use the PFW&C's terminal at Madison Street becoming a tenant of Union Station, which opened in 1881. In 1924, with the completion of a new Union Station between Adams and Jackson streets, C&A became a tenant and its successors used Union Station until the takeover by Amtrak. Presidents of the Alton Railroad have included: Timothy Blackstone 1864–1899. Samuel Morse Felton, Jr. 1899–1908.
Glendinning, Gene V.. The Chicago & Alton Railroad, The Only Way. DeKalb, Illinois: Northern Illinois University Press. ISBN 0-87580-287-7. Railroad History Database Dead Link PRR Chronology Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri - Chicago & Alton Railway Lewis, Edward A.. The historical guide to North American railroads. Waukesha, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing. Pp. 20–21. ISBN 0-89024-356-5. Alton Railroad - Pantagraph Chicago and Alton Railroad Collection - McLean Country Museum of History archives Steve Gossard Railroad Collection, McLean County Museum of History United Brot
William Crooks (locomotive)
The William Crooks is a 4-4-0 steam locomotive, the first locomotive to operate in the U. S. state of Minnesota, beginning in 1861. It was named after William Crooks, the Chief Mechanical Engineer for the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad who served as a colonel in the 6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War. Crooks laid out the initial 10 miles track between Minneapolis and St. Paul that the locomotive operated on. Constructed in 1861 for the Minnesota and Pacific Railroad as their number 1, The William Crooks first provided service a year in 1862 for the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. After completion, the locomotive traveled by rail to La Crosse, the nearest rail point to St. Paul at the time. From there, it was loaded onto a Mississippi River barge bound for St. Paul. Though it arrived in St. Paul on September 9, 1861, it was not until June 28, 1862, that the passenger equipment arrived and 10 miles of track could be laid; the William Crooks carried its first train load of passengers on the same day.
The trip began at 2:30 PM from St. Paul with the train and its passengers returning from their 10 miles trip to St. Anthony at 6 PM. While the governor of Minnesota, the founder of the railroad, other dignitaries were the train's first passengers, the train moved into regular service four days later; the locomotive was a wood-burner with a tender that held just two cords of wood. The tender's wood was used before the train could reach a wood pile, forcing the crew to make use of the wooden right-of-way fences to keep the train moving; the locomotive was converted into a coal-burner. As built, the engine had a straight boiler, had the balloon stack typical of wood burning engines, three domes—the center of, for sanding the rails to improve traction when needed; as the engine aged and parts replaced, the engine's appearance changed. The engine received a diamond stack for burning coal, its boiler replaced with a tapered design, was reduced to a two dome configuration. In 1868 a fire destroyed the William Crooks.
Albion B. Smith was tasked with restoring the locomotive and became the locomotive's engineer once it returned to service, he became a personal friend to James J. Hill through his works and service with the William Crooks; the old locomotive had served 50 years and had been assigned to runs in Montana and Washington. The William Crooks was in passenger service until September 30, 1897, after which it was retired, by the turn of the century was sitting decommissioned in a corner of the Great Northern yard in St. Paul; the locomotive was restored to operation for Hill's 70th birthday in 1908, as he had insisted when informed of its condition. Smith, who worked a regular schedule for the Great Northern Railway, would be reassigned to duty with the William Crooks for special events such as this and the Alaska–Yukon–Pacific Exposition. After he received word that the William Crooks was to be scrapped, it was Smith who spoke to Hill about it, with Hill declaring, "Not as long as I live". After Hill's death in 1916, the Great Northern continued to exhibit the train at special events.
The railroad gave the engine a balloon stack similar in appearance to its original, but internally designed to be suitable for coal as well as wood. In 1924 the locomotive went on an exhibition tour from Chicago to Seattle. For this event, the railroad rebuilt the engine to further resemble its original form, restoring it to the original three-dome configuration, though it retained the tapered boiler; the William Crooks was displayed at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's "Fair of the Iron Horse" in 1927 at the 1939 New York World's Fair, at the Chicago Railroad Fair in 1948 as part of the "Wheels A-Rolling" pageant, traveling to and from all three events under its own power. Though the locomotive had been converted from burning wood to burning coal as fuel, its headlight remained lit by kerosene. On the way to the 1939 World's Fair, the locomotive made a stop in Paterson, New Jersey, where it had been built 78 years before; the old locomotive made many stops en route to New York City, drawing crowds everywhere it went.
At that time it was the oldest locomotive operating under its own power. Accompanying the William Crooks was John J. Maher, a retired Great Northern engineer. Maher began his career with the railroad in 1881 as a fireman for the William Crooks, he indicated that there had been no breakdowns during the trip from St. Paul and speculated that the locomotive could travel at up to 60 miles per hour without difficulty. Maher, whose work as a fireman took place before the William Crooks was converted to burning coal, recalled that in the early days, part of a fireman's equipment was an axe, so wood could be chopped if the wood in the locomotive's tender ran out, he said he needed to go out and look for wood to keep the William Crooks moving. The locomotive was accompanied to the World's Fair by two 1880s vintage coaches which still had their original candle holders from the days when they were lit by candle light, their original wood stoves for warmth, its cylinders and bearings were all rebuilt at the Great Northern's Dale Street Shops in St. Paul in 1947-48 by machinist George A. Halvorsen as his last job before retirement.
The William Crooks was placed on display at the St. Paul Union Depot in June 1954. In June 1962 the Great Northern transferred ownership of the engine to the Minnesota