Great Northern Railway Historical Society

Welcome to the Great Northern Railway Historical Society

The GNRHS is dedicated to the preservation, study, and history of one of America's greatest railroads, the Great Northern Railway.

To Society Members, we offer carefully-researched Reference Sheets, a quarterly GN Goat publication, an annual calendar, discounts on model kits, books, CD's and other items, and an annual convention to discover all that is the Great Northern Railway.

For researchers the GNRHS Archives have historic documents and photos available on a wide range of subjects covering the Great Northern.

For a quick overview of all the GNRHS has to offer, checkout the menu at the top of the page or choose a link for more detailed information.

Latest News

GNRHS Calls for Board of Director’s Nominations, Due Oct. 15

Our Society BOD election cycle has once again come around and Nominations for vacant Board seats are now requested. John Langlot’s term is expiring. He has been serving on the Board since 2008 and after 11 years of excellent service, he has indicated he wishes to retire and pursue his modeling interests. Tom Carr, our Secretary, was appointed to fill the vacancy left when Ben Ringnalda resigned his seat last fall. Tom has expressed his wish to stand for election as his term also expires this year. And at  July’s end, Director Scott Tanner submitted his resignation after serving three and a half years of his term. This election will be for three seats on the GNRHS Board, two six year terms and one two year term.

The BOD determines the long-term direction of the Society and is responsible for maintaining and protecting the Society’s property and management of its business and fiscal affairs. The BOD meets annually at the convention and Directors should be able to attend the annual meeting. Directors review financial and policy documents and conduct much business by email through the year and should be able to respond to email discussions promptly.

With the ongoing efforts to improve the management and operations of GNRHS announced by President McGinley in the June Goat, the job of all GNRHS Board Directors will see changes. Each Board member will assume a leadership role as Chairman of a committee overseeing one of our seven major programs. They include membership, conventions, company store, archives, publications, heritage projects (Hustle Muscle and GNRHS grants to other non-profits) and in the near future, development (fundraising). Board Committee Chairs should plan on developing materials pertinent to their program including position papers, reports and research regarding their committee’s function and operations, and to be able to lead and oversee the activities of committee members. This will assure the tying of the governance role of the BOD to the committee’s work. Other standing committees will continue to exist and will include various Directors in the makeup of the committee.

Email will continue to be a major channel for Board communications. Live video conferencing has been established for the BOD to engage in work and planning meetings outside of regular official meetings. These conferences occur quite regularly and are typically held to one hour’s duration. The Board has been evaluating a more robust on-line management software system geared to non-profits and plans to implement that strategy soon. Directors should be familiar with digital devices (computers, tablets and/or smart phones) and their associated software applications in the conduct of Society business. Orientation for new Directors will be conducted early in their terms after the election.

Any questions about the position of GNRHS Director, or application procedures, should be directed to GNRHS president, Bill McGinley, or any member of the Board of Directors.  All contact information can be found on the inside front cover of the Goat.  Nominations must be received by October 15th.  Ballots will be in the December Goat publication.  

  Posted on August 15, 2019, by


Director Scott Tanner Resigns from the GNRHS Board

 

Scott Tanner

Director Scott Tanner tendered his immediate resignation from the GNRHS Board shortly after the Fargo convention on July 26th. Near the midpoint of his six-year term as a Director, he cited a growing confluence of family issues demanding more time and energy than expected, and regrets no longer being able to support the important work of the Board of Directors. Scott was serving in his second term on the Board and was chairing the Society’s Archives Committee. We wish Scott and his family well and extend a hearty thanks for his dedication and thoughtful contributions through the years to the governance of GNRHS.

 

  Posted on August 6, 2019, by


The June Goat Has Shipped

The June 2019 GNRHS Goat package has shipped to our Members.

See its contents.

Copies of this issue are available for purchase through our Company Store for both members as well as non-members.

NEW! The Goat is also available as a digital download (PDF).

Consider joining today to get the Goat included FREE in your membership, and to get other great GNRHS products at a discount. Join here!

  Posted on June 19, 2019, by


 

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Scenic WA on the old line to Wellington. from Ainsworth Collection at the PNRA. ... See MoreSee Less

Scenic WA on the old line to Wellington. from Ainsworth Collection at the PNRA.Image attachmentImage attachment

 

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Greatest passenger train disaster ever in this country when snow blocked tracks East bound Steven Pass area Washinton State, early 1900's. "Wellington Disaster "

The Wenatchee Valley Museum just did a tour to the remains of Wellington and the East and West Portals of the Old Cascade Tunnel, along with walking through the old snow shed to the site of the disaster this past September. It was very enlightening and I learned a lot.

It's the birthday of James J. Hill, one of America's most successful railroad tycoons, born in southern Ontario (1838). By 1870, Hill had established his own railroad company and laid track to the Red River Valley in western Minnesota and the Dakotas. He eventually began construction of a line from the Twin Cities to Seattle. The land he purchased was full of valuable resources, and thousands of settlers followed his railroad across the Great Plains. By 1893, the track was finished, and his Great Northern Company ran the only private transcontinental railroad. ... See MoreSee Less

Its the birthday of James J. Hill, one of Americas most successful railroad tycoons, born in southern Ontario (1838). By 1870, Hill had established his own railroad company and laid track to the Red River Valley in western Minnesota and the Dakotas. He eventually began construction of a line from the Twin Cities to Seattle. The land he purchased was full of valuable resources, and thousands of settlers followed his railroad across the Great Plains. By 1893, the track was finished, and his Great Northern Company ran the only private transcontinental railroad.

 

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And on the eve of his birthday, the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula posted something about recent donation sort of related to JJ Hill (I bet no one called him that): Put on your Sunday Best! A recent addition to our collection, this hat has an amazing story attached to it. Originally constructed sometime in the 1880s or 1890s, the hat belonged to Mrs. Mary Hill, wife of the Great Northern Railway investor James J. Hill. The hat passed to her son Louis, who spent time as a patient at the Charles T. Miller hospital, in St. Paul, MN during the early 1940s. He in turn gave it to Eloise Shaffner, the hospital's head of admitting, as the two had become friends during his stay. Later, Louis Hill hired Mrs. Shaffner to run the dining room at Lake McDonald Lodge, in Glacier National Park.From Mrs. Shaffner, the hat passed into the care of the Sentinel High School drama department for use as costuming. It was most notably used during a 1971 production of The Matchmaker. In June of 2019, the hat was returned to Mrs. Shaffner's son John, who donated it to the historical museum's permanent collection, thereby preserving not only the hat itself but its story. The hat is made of black velvet and lace, with obsidian embellishments and the original black ostrich feather.

Great Grandpa W J McMillan, organized birthday celebrations for Mr Hill for a number of years. The 1913 Veteran's Group honored Mr Hill at Glacier Park on his Birthday that year, and GN Veteran's annual events were held on his Birthday for a number of years. Great Grandpa negotiated for a retirement program for GN Veteran employees with Mr Hill, and after James Hill, passed away in 1916, Great Grandpa announced the Great Northern contributed $1 million to a retirement fund for employees on the anniversary of Mr Hill's birthday.

Fine portrait of America's greatest railroad leader.

He did it without land grants!

It's not pretty. Here's a picture of the hat:

Song about hobo’ing on JIm Hill’s main line: Hallelujah I’m a Bum. Looking for my copy so I can post it here.

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Big Success at GN Day in Skykomish! ... See MoreSee Less

Big Success at GN Day in Skykomish!Image attachmentImage attachment

 

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Francina and I had a great time there.

Wished I would have known about it.

I can’t believe you went to Italy instead 😁

Bummer I missed it! How was the bit about the substation?

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Here is the updated GN Day in Skykomish Agenda for September 14, 2019
The event in the Masonic Hall is free and open to the public
Agenda
8:30 am Free table space is available for people who bring displays
9:30 Program starts with Welcome and Administrative items
10:00 am Informational Items and Updates - review of Sky and GNRHS activities for the last year
11:00 am Kurt Armbruster will present the story of the Pacific Coast Railroad and his new book, Pacific Coast - Seattle’s Own Railroad
Noon – 1:30 pm Lunch and free Sky Substation DVD at museum in Maloney Store, ride the GN&C Railway at the Depot.
1:30 pm Scott Tanner presents Empire Builder Radio - 1931
2:45 pm GN Wood Water Tanks DVD project with free DVD
3:30 program ends
Contact Bob Kelly with questions at mvmmvm@comcast.net
There will be a sales table for HO GN models and Skykomish items.
... See MoreSee Less

Here is the updated GN Day in Skykomish Agenda for September 14, 2019
The event in the Masonic Hall is free and open to the public
Agenda
8:30 am Free table space is available for people who bring displays
9:30 Program starts with Welcome and Administrative items
10:00 am Informational Items and Updates - review of Sky and GNRHS activities for the last year
11:00 am Kurt Armbruster will present the story of the Pacific Coast Railroad and his new book, Pacific Coast - Seattle’s Own Railroad 
Noon – 1:30 pm Lunch and free Sky Substation DVD at museum in Maloney Store, ride the GN&C Railway at the Depot.
1:30 pm Scott Tanner presents Empire Builder Radio - 1931 
2:45 pm GN Wood Water Tanks DVD project with free DVD 
3:30 program ends
Contact Bob Kelly with questions at mvmmvm@comcast.net
There will be a sales table for HO GN models and Skykomish items.

 

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Neat picture.

East portal end Stevens pass?

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