This is the saga of Duluth & Northeastern Railroad engine No. 16, which spanned a useful career of more than 50 years and now sits in a place of honor in Cloquet’s Fauley Park.
The following history of the train engine was compiled by H.C. Larson in 1979:
In 1913, the D&NE purchased this locomotive from the Baldwin Works as the queen of the line. It was immediately put into service hauling saw logs from northeastern Minnesota to the five sawmills in Cloquet. In the early years, logs were still floated down the river, but this ended in 1924 when the last log drive was made on the St. Louis River.
With declining years of river transportation of logs, long rail lines were established. Eventually they reached the Canadian border at Rose Lake by combining the General Logging Company line with the D&NE line. During this transition period, No. 16 played an important part, not only hauling logs, but also transporting rail, equipment and construction crews to extend the lines. As rail lines were extended, trips became rather long and tedious. On the trip up to the lumber camps, empty rail cars were hauled and dropped off at side tracks along the route. For the return trip, cars loaded with logs were assembled into long trains.
The return trip was interrupted now and then by a cow moose and calf on the right-of-way. Protecting its calf, the cow moose would dare the engine to proceed. The train crew would stop, get out and throw objects at the moose so they could move on. Also on the right-of-way were many bear and deer. Train crews would now and then stop at one of the many streams and replenish their supply of trout for the family at home.
For a number of years during the fall hunting season, the Duluth & Northeastern R.R. would put good old No. 16 into service for a hunter’s special. The crew would drop off hunters near their hunting shacks and days later, on signal, would stop to pick up both hunters and their deer or moose. Moose were last hunted in 1922. They were not hunted again for over 50 years until 1975 when a limited number of licenses were drawn by lottery.
Disaster hit No. 16 in March 1917. Switching cars for industry, it was crossing the short bridge just east of present Highway 33 when the supports gave way and it dashed off the bridge through the ice to the bottom of the channel, taking the brakeman, Mr. Fox, to his death in the cab of the engine. The engineer and fireman were fortunate in escaping. With help obtained from the Duluth-Missabe shops in Proctor, heavy hoisting equipment was able to raise No. 16 from the St. Louis River channel. No. 16 was completely overhauled and was soon back in service completing its tasks as only a queen of the line could do.
On October 12, 1918, misfortune again hit No. 16 as it was berthed for the night in the roundhouse on the north end of Dunlap Island. The disastrous Cloquet forest fire burned to the ground the roundhouse and everything in it, including old No. 16. After the ashes cooled and the situation appraised, it was decided to completely recondition No. 16. In due time it was again put into service at a variety of tasks.
“I well remember one of its tasks was to haul the blueberry special at the height of the blueberry season,” Larson wrote. “The train crew would donate its time on a Sunday, and all employees and their families were invited to go on the excursion. This was about 1920, because two years after the fire burned over the area, blueberries flourished as never before, many areas literally blue with berries. As I remember it, most would average about 40-50 quarts for the day.”
Although the Cloquet Lumber Company sawmill and the Johnson-Wentworth Company survived the fire, the logging industry was on the decline. No. 16 continued to make the long runs to the Saginaw, where its cars are switched to the Duluth Missabe tracks for all points south and east.
Fire struck old No. 16 again in 1952. Repairs and improvements were just completed when the roundhouse suffered a devastating fire. Yet, she was repaired and returned to service.
In 1964 old No. 16 was given honorable retirement, and was placed in a small park, called Fauley Park, at the intersection of Highway 33 and Cloquet Avenue.
A FINAL RESTING PLACE
It was no easy feat to relocate the old train, according to old newspaper stories. They had to move it at a snail's pace of 30 feet at a time down Avenue A.
“Progress was slow because three portable track sections being used to move No. 16 down Avenue A had to be placed into position by a crane. D&NE track layers bolted the rails together and No. 16 was moved ahead another 30 feet,” the story detailed.
Most people do not realize that the namesake of Fauley Park, Lawrence Fauley, also played an important part in Cloquet’s history.
On Oct. 12, 1918, the town of about 9,000 people mostly burned to the ground in the Fires of 1918.
According to old newspaper clippings, Cloquet Depot Agent Fauley realized the fire off in the distance could become a serious threat to Cloquet.
It was a Saturday afternoon and Fauley was unsuccessful in trying to reach any of the executive officers in Duluth. He took matters into his own hands and telegraphed for available trains in the division to come to the small town.
“Only a few passenger cars were within reach, so he directed trainment to bring ore and lumber cars. While trains sped toward the doomed town, fire roared through tinder dry underbrush. And then, in a dreadful burst of fury, the fire engulfed the town of Cloquet. Big lumber stacks burst into flame and piles of dry sawdust exploded like gunpowder,” Gary Webster wrote in an account of the day.
The story goes on to say that Fauley helped save about 8,500 people in Cloquet all those years ago.
While Fauley Park was named in honor of the man who helped save the citizens of Cloquet, not a photograph of him exists.
The old train in the park has been a fixture since the mid-1960s. Even though it is not the train Fauley used to rescue residents during the fire of 1918, it represents the importance of steam locomotives in the early railroad days.
Last week Cloquet Rotary Club members added a fresh coat of paint to parts of the old train, highlighting the front grill and adding a contrasting color to the wheels.The first part of this story was compiled from information and actual memories by H. C. Larson and originally published June 5, 1979. Edited by M. Knievel. The Pine Journal’s Jamie Lund contributed to this story.