Washburn County

1.)Crescent Springs Railroad.

This narrow guage railroad was originally graded in 1881. The track was laid and service began the following year. The railroad, owned by the Shell Lake Lumber Co. operated as the bonafide common carier Crescent Springs Railroad. (Shell Lake Lbr was 40% owned by Weyerhauser & Denkman, seeming to make it the first logging railroad in the nation that Weyerhauser had an interest in) Initial operations were west from a dock at Corbitts Bay on the southwestern portion of the lake into Burnett County. Logs were dumped into Corbitts Bay and rafted from there to the mill. In 1885 a line was constructed directly to the mill and logs from then on were dumped into the lake at the mill site. Also in 1886, the trackage west of Shell Lake was abandoned and a new line was constructed east. It crossed Corbitts Bay on a long trestle and crossed the Omaha at what is today Sarona. The line ended just east of there. County Highway D between Shell Lake and Sarona today is mostly laid on this lines' grade. In 1894 the Baronett Lumber Company burned down opening up Barronett's timber holdings south and southeast of Shell Lake. The Crescent Springs constructed a line southeast into the Bear Lake area of Barron County. A spur off of this line crossed underneath the Omaha main near Bashaw. Originally, it crossed the Omaha at grade, but when an accident occured in which a Crescent Springs locomotive collided with two Omaha passenger cars,the larger railroad would no longer allow logging trains to cross its tracks neccessitating the underpass. The main lines east of Shell Lake was laid on a grade built up from slab fill. The company operated until September 17,1901 when the last car of logs was hauled to the mill. The rails were taken up in the week of Oct 24 of that year. One civillian fatality did occur during the Crescent Springs' tenure. A Proffessor Crandall took his class out to see the company's steam skidder in operation. On the return trip, he fell through a trap door on the flat car he was riding to the tracks below. Prior to this the Crescent Springs had been used by hunters, trappers and others to reach the woods, but this accident put an end to thae free rides.




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