The Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railroad awarded a contract on April 1, 1931 to Merrit, Chapman & Whitney, a firm from Duluth, to construct a pocket dock in Marquette's lower harbor for an estimated $1.8 Million. Construction began on April 16 of that year, and the project was completed the following spring, coming in with a price tag of $1.35 million. The trestle & dock were owned over the years by several railroads. Originally built by the DSS&A, the dock was passed down to the Soo Line, Wisconsin Central, and finally the Canadian National Railroad. The dock was officially closed on December 31, 1971 when ore shipments were diverted to Escanaba. While in operation, it ran a ten-man crew, and in 1968, handled over 1 million tons of ore.
|Dock and approach length||3,546 feet|
|Dock Length||969 feet||
|85 feet, 7 inches|
|67 feet, 9.5 inches|
*Height above average low lake level of 601.6 Feet
The trestle approach to the dock was dismantled during the winter of 1999-2000 by Lunda Construction of Black River Falls, Wisconsin. During the removal, two large cranes were on scene to remove the bridge sections from the top of the support structure.
Cannon Structures purchased almost half a million board feet of Douglas Fir timbers from the trestle. Its Trestlewood Division reclaims old wood from trestles and bridges, turning it into a variety of useful products. Wood from Marquette's trestle could be used for timbers in other projects, flooring, or even cabinets. Trestlewood has the timbers on sale here.
Many of the steel trestle supports were scrapped, but the Wisconsin Central preserved the spans to be used in the reconstruction of a number of other bridges. At right, a short trestle section is removed and placed on a semi trailer. After nearly 30 years, it may once again be facilitating rail traffic in another location.
The city of Marquette retained two of the support structures, such as those pictured here behind the trailer and lift, for some possible future use, preserving the legacy of the railroad trestle in Marquette. They sat near this area for several years before being removed. I do not know where they currently are, or if the city has any definite plans for their use.
I received an email in the spring of 2004 from C.H. Hague, a design engineer with the Chicago firm hired by the Wisconsin Central to assist in the reuse of the steel trestle sections. A portion follows, with his permission...
You are correct when you state in your online page that the ore dock trestle spans would be re-used. The WCL has used them to rebuild 10 or so bridges, near Lublin, Donald, Wiergor, Stanberry, and Sheldon, WI. My firm (ie me) computed how strong the bridges were, designed support structures for them and prepared plans that Lunda Construction used to rebuild the existing bridge.
In fact, my first trip to Marquette was to inspect and measure the ore dock spans for this task. Myself and a feller from WC walked up the approach trestle, measuring the spans.
At one point, we were on top of the concrete ore dock itself. I'd run out of film by then, alas. There was a small donkey car pusher up there, and lots of rickety timber over the bins.
I have attached two .bmp files, showing the sketch I made at that time of the entire trestle. Spans with the same letter designation are the same size of girder.
C.H. “Chas” Hague, P.E., S.E.
Click the image below for a larger version of the sketch of the trestle, courtesy of C.H. Hague.
Visit Chas. Hague's web site
Rosewood Walkway from Front Street
Looking from Front Street through the Walkway toward the Harbor.
Another view of the dock and the east end of the walkway.
Looking back through the park toward Front Street. The remaining concrete abutment on the west side of Front is visible behind the sign.
Finally, a view of the park from Lakeshore Blvd. looking toward Front Street.
crossing Front Street, looking north
Trestle at Third Street, looking west. At the Third Street crossing, the track on the ground crossed the street under the trestle.
Trestle at Fourth Street, looking east. Click here for an amusing photo I shot at this crossing, the result of a slight miscalculation by a Schneider National driver. I even managed to catch a train at the crossing--the only photo I believe I managed to take of a train on this line before it was abandoned.
Another shot of the Fourth Street crossing, looking north
The wooden portion of the trestle, between Lakeshore Blvd. and the dock
The dock as viewed from the harbor
The dock in use. Photo courtesy of Robert C. Anderson
The Michigan Railroads site has a scan of a postcard depicting a boat at the dock.
A moonrise next to the offshore portion of the dock.
View the City of Marquette's Trestle Corridor page
View the City's plan for the South Rail Yard development
To my Trains page
Visit my Republic Mine page
Andy Larsen Home Page
Content & images copyright © 2004 Andy Larsen Photography except where otherwise noted.
Last Updated: 7/5/04