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About the GNRHS

Read our Recruitment Letter and then Join the GNRHS!

If you have an interest in one of America's great railroads -- James J. Hill's empire-building Great Northern Railway -- then you should join the Great Northern Railway Historical Society. The Society was founded by Charles F. Martin in 1973 under the name "The Fraternal Order of Empire Builders", and it was dedicated to the preservation of everything related to the Great Northern Railway.

In 1982 the Society name became "The Great Northern Railway Historical Society". With this name change the Society also became chartered under the not-for-profit laws of the State of Illinois, and acquired tax exempt status from the Federal government under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Under the original name of "The Fraternal Order of Empire Builders", journals containing facts, photographs, drawings and general information relating to the Great Northern Railway and its predecessor companies were published. With the revised name, The Great Northern Railway Historical Society (GNRHS) continues that tradition.

Each quarterly issue of the GNRHS "GOAT" normally contains eight pages of general information and society affairs, new member lists, member sales and want items, and books/videos listings of subjects related to the GN and its pre/post merger corporate identities. Issues include 40 to 60 additional pages within separately stapled titles known as Reference Sheets. Each issue of the "GOAT" contains a section of pages dedicated to GN modeling matters of interest. December issues have a complete listing of prior published Reference Sheets available for purchase, with pricing and ordering instructions.

The September issue contains the annual Great Northern photo calendar, with additional notations and facts about significant GN related dates. The March issue includes details and registration forms for the forthcoming GNRHS annual conventions. The Convention is hosted in a city which received GN service and business. Conventions are held usually over a four-day period in July.

Typical convention activity includes discussions, clinics, movies and slide presentations, tours of former GN facilities, on occasion (as the opportunity arises) a train excursion, a well attended swap-meet-mixer (Rail Fair), the usual old fashioned visiting with friends and GN experts, and a convention closing banquet with speaker and door prizes.

The Society sponsors a special freight car kit each year. For those of you who enjoy badges and lapel pins, we have those items also.

Materials published normally come from the private collections of our authors or general members, and from the various depositories or museums known to contain GN records. All materials loaned for use in our publications are returned to the sender, and appropriate credit is published. No payment can be offered for manuscripts, but reimbursement of photographic, reproduction or other copying expenses may be made for those items which have been approved in advance by the text or layout editors.

We invite you to join us by completing the GNRHS Membership Application on this web page. We have about 2400 members who hope you will join our ranks of Great Northern enthusiasts. Current dues rates are shown. Sustaining dues, at $20(US) per year, are purely an extra contribution you may wish to give to GNRHS, and nothing extra is received in return for this except the satisfaction of additional financial help to the GNRHS. You may pay dues and sustaining payments for any number of years into the future.

A membership year covers the months January to December, and includes all issues of the "GOAT", and any extra items published during that year.

We look forward to receiving and processing your GNRHS Membership Application, and to your active participation as a member of GNRHS.