The Chippewa

22 chippewa at ply depot w1200

The Chicago and Northwestern Railway running from Sheboygan, Wisconsin to Fond du Lac crossed the north-south rail line of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad at a diamond located just north of the two depots in Plymouth. Our mural depicts one of the more famous trains to pass through Plymouth daily from the 1930s until 1952 – when steam was replaced by diesel. The train was called the Chippewa and it was pulled by a modern streamlined steam locomotive designed by industrial designer Otto Kuhler. The attractive paint scheme was unique to the Milwaukee Road and admired by all who saw it. Outside city limits, this train moved at 100 miles per hour! At the diamond, Plymouth had a one-of-a kind structure called a “smashboard.” It is part of our mural and was one of the more interesting railroad features in the area. In fact, it is the only one we know of in the United States! The wood arms of this device are located so that if a locomotive accidently runs through a red signal one of the arms will smash against the cab, giving audible warning of an unauthorized move. In case of an accident between two trains, the smashed board will indicate which engineer was in the wrong. More history as it relates to the three railroads that served Plymouth can be found at the Plymouth Historical Society, 420 E. Mill St., Plymouth, Wisconsin 53073. The Chippewa by artist Dan Sawatsky is sponsored by Wisconsin & Southern Railroad.