Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.

Sunday in Michigan

September 20th, 2015

This weekend I took a trip back in time on a vintage steam train. I’ve enjoyed trains since I was a young girl gazing with wide eyes at my father’s model train set. As an adult I worked at a train museum in Roanoke, VA for a short time.

Fast forward to this weekend as I climbed aboard the famed Lumberjack Steam Train in Laona, Wisconsin for a journey to the 1800’s. http://www.lumberjacksteamtrain.com/ The train consists of the “4 Spot” steam locomotive which pulls two steel passenger cars, an open air observation car (which it was already too cold for) and three cupola cabooses.

At the depot, where tickets can be purchased for the train ride, just as people did at the turn of the century.

At the depot, where tickets can be purchased for the train ride, just as people did at the turn of the century.

The cupola caboose

The cupola caboose

The "4-spot" is the only "PRAIRIE" style steam locomotive operating in the state of Wisconsin. The "PRAIRIE" style steam locomotive is a classification based on wheel arrangement.

The “4-spot” is the only “PRAIRIE” style steam locomotive operating in the state of Wisconsin. The “PRAIRIE” style steam locomotive is a classification based on wheel arrangement.

Some brave souls sat in the open air car to peek at changing leaves on our way to the camp.

Some brave souls sat in the open air car to peek at changing leaves on our way to the camp.

A happy child gets to sound the train whistle.

A happy child gets to sound the train whistle.

Ticket taker and engineer extraordinare

Ticket taker and engineer extraordinare

The renovated 1916 Vulcan Steam Engine has been running on this track for 90 years. Originally used to haul log cars, today the engine pulls the “Lumberjack Steam Train” to the historic logging camp. Camp 5 has received many awards and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Lumberjack Steam Train 12

The Forestry Museum is brimming with artifacts that bring the turn of the century camps back to life. There are tools and machinery the farm used to plant and harvest crops.

While touring the camp, visitors can encouraged to experience the life of the hearty northwoods lumberjack in the museum. Families can step into the world of logging lore and history and even watch men working in the Blacksmith Shop. Later the site became site of the Lumber Company Farm. Today when you arrive, you find some of the old buildings which were a part of the Lumber Company Farm. There is the old Hog Barn which is now the Petting Corral, the Blacksmith Shop which is now a part of the Museum, and the Old Slaughter House.  In the distance is the old Boarding House and several original barns, as well as the “Woods Boss’s House”.

There is a brass bell from a steam engine, which children love to ring. Including this one!

There is a brass bell from a steam engine, which children love to ring. Including this one!

There were many tool displays in the logger musem

There were many tool displays in the logger musem

Pointer boats were used on river log drives to snare loose logs.

Pointer boats were used on river log drives to snare loose logs.

Logger living quarters

Logger living quarters

Lumberjacks worked hard and ate ravenously. Good cooks were essential to keep men in camps.

Lumberjacks worked hard and ate ravenously. Good cooks were essential to keep men in camps.

Hundreds of horses in each lumber camp required much harness care and harness makers employed at the camp.

Hundreds of horses in each lumber camp required much harness care and harness makers employed at the camp.

Ten Ton Holt tractor superceded steam haulers.

Ten Ton Holt tractor superceded steam haulers.

Apples being pressed for cider.

Apples being pressed for cider.

Nostalgic Cracker Barrel store with 1900 Cracker Barrel Country Store with its worn plank floors, potbellied stove, rolling antique ladder used to reach those "high on the shelf" items.

Nostalgic Cracker Barrel store with 1900 Cracker Barrel Country Store with its worn plank floors, potbellied stove, rolling antique ladder used to reach those “high on the shelf” items.

My scarecrow guide to the farm's slaughterhouse.

My scarecrow guide to the farm’s slaughterhouse.

The Animal Barn, which once was one of the original hog barns for the farm, is lined with enclosures now holding smaller, cuddlier animals, and the Corral is alive with shy, brown-eyed calves, frisky little goats, quacking ducks, plodding turtles, parading pheasants, and honking geese.

The Animal Barn, which once was one of the original hog barns for the farm, is lined with enclosures now holding smaller, cuddlier animals, and the Corral is alive with shy, brown-eyed calves, frisky little goats, quacking ducks, plodding turtles, parading pheasants, and honking geese.

Ten foot "Big Wheels" for early logging sleighs.

Ten foot “Big Wheels” for early logging sleighs.

The Blacksmith shop is one of the original buildings at the Farm, and I watched a blacksmith pound and shape  horsehoes over the forge.

The Blacksmith shop is one of the original buildings at the Farm, and I watched a blacksmith pound and shape horsehoes over the forge.

The price was quite reasonable, even though the actual train ride was short while passing a hobo camp and over wild rice fields. But if you have any interest in logging, or desire for an interesting, fun family outing, the Lumberjack Steam Train is a great option if you’re in the Northwoods. It’s something completely different and right now they are celebrating fall with a pumpkin patch for the kids, fresh apple cider and marshmallows for s’mores. Twice a year they have a cowboy re-enactment and robbery of the train for fun and the Slaughter House is already transforming into a haunted house for Halloween.

Lumberjack Steam Train 21 Lumberjack Steam Train 20 Lumberjack Steam Train 17

Where will the tracks take you this week?

Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.