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Looking back: Train derailed near Castle Rock, 200 escaped unhurt 50 years ago

50 years ago

From the Dec. 26, 1963

edition of the

Dakota County Tribune

200 escape as “rocket” is derailed at 70 m.p.h. in -20 weather

Two hundred persons escaped unhurt, only because a miracle prevented Rock Island’s passenger Rocket from being dumped as it was derailed at 70 miles per hour.

The accident happened in 20-below-zero weather at Castle Rock at 2 a.m. Friday.

The 16-car, three-unit passenger train, laded with holiday travelers, dragged the rear “trucks” of the dining car in an oblique position for 1 ½ miles, crossing two trestles.

Passengers had to wait three hours. The diesel engine portion came to Farmington for water, provided by a Farmington fire truck.

The first time the engine traveled the five miles to Farmington, the remainder of the stalled train had to be left without steam heat or power for ventilation....

The accident took place as the northbound Rock Island Rocket was heading toward the Twin Cities from Kansas City. The last four cars were two from Dallas, Texas and two from California....

At Castle Rock on the Milwaukee Road portion of the tracks, the front wheels of the rear trucks of the dining car – about in the train’s center – jumped off the tracks 50 feet south of the Castle Rock trestle. The wheels began tearing at the ties.

Veteran rail observers noted that the cold weather, which no doubt contributed to the accident, also made the roadbed extra firm and prevented a major disaster....

The usually quiet Farmington depot hummed with activity and became a communication center through the night to coordinate rail activities. Depot Agent Red McGinn of Farmington was among those called into late night service.

Firemen Babe Kuchera and Roger Clay spent the night keeping a water supply for the big diesels.

75 years ago

From the Dec. 30, 1938

edition of the

Dakota County Tribune

Roman Kubista, Mrs. Les Hysell head Masons, Stars

There will be a joint installation of officers of the Corinthian Lodge, A.F. & A.M and of Myrtle Chapter, O.E. S. in the Masonic Temple Friday evening of this week at 8 p.m. There will be a picnic lunch served.

Roman Kubista, Worshipful Master-elect, and Mrs. Leslie Hysell, Worthy Matron-elect, have made appointments for the coming year and the complete list of elected and appointed officers for both lodges will be installed.

Receives personally signed letter from the president

Miss Margaret Ahern of Farmington holds a distinguished honor this week of receiving a letter personally signed by President Roosevelt. It is written on very simple light jade stationery with the wording, “The White House Washington” and the contents written by typewriter are as follows:

My Dear Miss Ahern:

I have learned of your recent operation and send this note to express the hope that it will be entirely successful.

Best wishes to you.

Very Sincerely Yours,

(signed in pen and ink)

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The letter was addressed to Miss Ahern at Illinois Research Hospital, Chicago, Ill., where she was operated on several weeks ago.

100 years ago

From the Dec. 26, 1913

edition of the

Dakota County Tribune

Wins second place

The Minnesota six months Educational Contest conducted by the State Dairy and Food Department each year May to November inclusive has just made its final report.

The Farmington creamery holds second place in the hand separator class for 1913 with an average score of 93.62 ½, the highest score in the hand separator class being 94.

This is the first time the creamery has ever participated in this contest and this is a good showing for a starter and with the loyalty of the patrons and other wear the buttermaker hopes to win still higher honors for the creamery.

The foundation of good butter lies in the hands of the patrons of any creamery who produce the raw materials, then the rest is left to the man behind the churn, therefore one can readily see how true cooperation is necessary to produce a gilt edge article....

The time is not far off when the association will have to rebuild for they have nearly outgrown their present quarters.

Pete’s vs. Foss at city hall

Local wrestling fans will have their chance to witness an interesting and scientific finish, wrestling match at the city hall on Monday night, Dec. 29 between Theodore Peter of St. Paul, light heavyweight champion wrestler of America, and Charley Foss of Milbank, S.D.

Foss appeared here a few weeks ago and made a good impression. He demonstrated that he had the strength, science and ability.

Theodore Peter needs no introduction. For the past three years the sturdy St. Paul German has been tossing his opponents with great regularity....

The match should be one well worth watching. Foss declares he will spring a surprise and trim the St. Paulite.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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