EMMET AND DICKINSON COUNTIES 359
line went ahead rapidly and on July 11, 1882, the first train was run
into Spirit Lake. This line is now a part of the Chicago, Rock Island &
THE DBS MOINES & NORTHWESTERN
About the time of the completion of the work on the B. C. R. & N.
the Des Moines & Northwestern Railroad Company, through its
representative, J. S. Polk of Des Moines, made a proposition to the people of
the county. The road had been constructed to Fonda in Pocahontas
County, and the proposition gave the information that it was under
consideration to extend it to Jackson, Minnesota. A survey of the line was
made by Surveyor Wilkins of Dickinson County in 1881. The townships
of Milford, Okoboji, Excelsior, Lloyd, Richland and Lakeville voted
aid to the road, the right of way was purchased, and the actual work of
grading the roadbed was commenced. This part of the work was completed
from Spencer to Spirit Lake and then progress ceased. The true
reason for this abandonment of the project was never learned, but
nothing was ever attempted in getting the road completed.
CHICAGO, MILWAUKEE & ST. PAUL
While these different railroad lines were being projected and built,
the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Company determined to construct
their own line, a work which they had declined to do before. The
prospect of other roads usurping the field and securing the business of the
county evidently caused their sudden move. In the fall of 1881 surveys
were made and a sufficient force of workmen put to work to finish the line
between Spencer and Spirit Lake. The first train entered Dickinson
County on August 1, 1882, but not until the following spring was the
road completed to Spirit Lake.
MINNEAPOLIS & ST. LOUIS
The third railroad in the county, the Minneapolis & St. Louis, was
built through Lloyd Township in 1899. The railroad company used part
of the roadbed of the defunct Manitoba Company. The first survey for
the proposed line was in a direct line between Estherville and Spencer,
but later the officials decided to make the town of Terrill a station. Mr.
Taylor, town proprietor, and others, donated the right, of way for the
road. There was an effort made by citizens of the county to have the
Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad built through the center of the county,
with stations at Spirit Lake and Milford, but this effort was unsuccessful.
360 EMMET AND DICKINSON COUNTIES
MANITOBA & GULF RAILROAD
The Manitoba & Gulf Railroad was the name of a railroad enterprise
started in 1894 or 1895. The name suggests the proposed scope of the
work. A Mr. Carpenter and others advanced the scheme, it is said
without capital, intending to secure as much right of way and as large
donations as possible, and then dispose of the work to some other concern.
Minnesota gave them plenty of aid, but the townships in Dickinson
County refused to vote taxes for a scheme which they had experienced
before. However, this did not deter the company from surveying
a line through SSuperior,[sic] Richland and Lloyd Townships. In the summer
and autumn of 1895 grading was completed across Richland Township,
and a little done in Lloyd and Superior, but before the year closed the
company had gone into bankruptcy and the work ceased.
About the first mention of bridges in this county was when the
contractors in the swamp land deal agreed to erect the county courthouse,
also three bridges ‐ one across East Okoboji Lake east of the settlement
at Spirit Lake, one across the straits between East and West Okoboji
Lakes, and one across the Little Sioux River. The two bridges across
the lake were finished in the year 1860, the one at Spirit Lake being three
hundred feet long and the one at Okoboji two hundred and ten feet in
length. The Spirit Lake bridge was superintended by Harvey Abbott,
a brother-in-law of Howe and Wheelock, while John Loomis built the
one at Okoboji, having taken the contract from Howe and Arthur before
the principal contract was given to Barkman and Prescott. Four times
these bridges have been rebuilt since that time.
The first bridges were not constructed with the idea of permitting
lake vessels to pass under them. A plan was advanced at one time that
a light, strong bridge, which could be lifted to an upright position in
order to let boats through, would be feasible. This was constructed, but
the task of lifting it proved too burdensome and some other means became
necessary. In 1883 the bridges were taken out and the swing
bridges erected, the first ones set on piles. In the winter of 1897-8 these
were taken out and stone piers set in cement substituted for the piles.