||In the 1870's Richland Center, Wisconsin was a thriving community of around 3000 people. The soil was rich for farming and the hills were covered with trees just waiting to be made into lumber. However, Richland Center lacked a railroad to transport this wealth out to the rest of the world. While a railroad had been built through Lone Rock, 16 miles to the south, in 1856 by the Milwaukee & Mississippi, it's destination was Prairie du Chien. As it followed the easy grade of the Wisconsin River, it's builders bypassed Richland Center.|
|In 1872, the town fathers of Richland Center decided that they needed
a rail outlet. Apparently, they couldn't convince the Chicago, Milwaukee
& St. Paul to build a line to their thriving community, so they built
Following the valley of the Pine River, it ran 16 miles from Richland Center to Lone Rock on the CM&St.P's mainline. To keep costs down, the line was originally built with wooden strap rail with a gauge of three feet.
Porter built #1, named the "Richland Centre"
(Proper spelling for the time)
Photo courtesy Stuart Kurth