Steam Engines Buried Here

| November/December 1988

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  • # Picture 01

The following article is reprinted with permission from The Farmer/The Dakota Farmer. Elmer Swanson of Larimore, North Dakota 58251 is the author.

If they were to do it today, they probably wouldn't. That is, bury 28 abandoned steam engines as footing for a road across Stump Lake.

But, back in 1930-31, the behemoth machines that once powered threshing rigs and pulled huge plows to turn the prairie soil were plentiful. Those abandoned were rusting in groves and junkyards. Gasoline or kerosene-burning tractors were fast taking their place.

Saving 13 miles in a trip to town was something to consider, though, in those days. That was the distance that could be saved between Lakota, north of Stump Lake, and Tolna, south of the lake, if a road could be built across Wheeler's Pass (also known earlier as Dutch Point and Spoon hill Pass).

Farmers in this area of Nelson County, North Dakota, as well as those living in the towns on either side of the 18-mile-long (east to west) lake, wanted the road built.

So, in the fall of 1929, farmers and merchants gathered in Lakota to lay plans. The road would be built across the narrow, shallow stretch of the mile-wide lake Wheeler's Pass.

Carl A. Helsing_7
9/2/2009 11:47:03 PM

I have a web site at,SKYTRAINZASTRON--(you may have to try different browser's to find it) Your story about "Stump Road" fit's in perfectly with my web site.It may be part of the answer to what I am looking for.How thing's disappear.My story is about Egypt and the Aztec's,but it would seem we have had similar problem's. I attend the local agricuture and steam show and display here in Crown Point,Indiana every year.I have also been a member of the Hoosier Valley Railway museum,which also has a web site.-- The steam part at the agriculture show here was cancelled this year due to high insurance for boiler safety consideration's.I can understand that.I have a latge text by Robert Reed showing very large rail engine's,including Mallet srticulated's which exploded from around 1900 and on.


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