I knew the work was "in progress" and we just happened to stop by just as she was finishing up for the day. I asked it it was okay to photograph her, and she asked if it was okay if she kept working. We were both happy to comply.
You have to see it to believe it, the work is amazing. Those men looked like they were going to step right out of the mural. My photos don't do it justice. The piece includes 30 workmen from the Chicago Northwestern Railroad and the Soo Line. Each man's image was sponsored by family and friends who provided portraits for the project.
Apparently this past weekend was also the annual Mural Walk Celebration, but we missed that. When we were walking around on Saturday afternoon it was just us on Main Street, trying to stick to the side of the street that was in the shade.
Right across the street from the mural is a Soo Line steam engine. Built in 1900 it originally ran between Minneapolis and Sault Ste. Marie until it was sent to work the ore docks in Superior, Wisconsin in 1912. There it remained until 1929 when it was transfered to Minneapolis/St. Paul to perform yard duties. In 1942 it made its way to Ashland to work the ore docks until 1954. In 1956 it was given to the city and it was moved to its present location at 3rd Street and 3rd Avenue in the 1980's.
We had lunch at the rebuilt historic Chequamegon Hotel. The original hotel was destroyed in a fire in 1957 but they've rebuilt a replica that is close to the original and is now run by Best Western. Don't go for the food, but the history on display in the hallway of the town was interesting.
|image courtesy of Ashland Historical Society Museum|
By the late 1800's Ashland was a huge shipping center dealing in ore and lumber and the hotel was built by the Wisconsin Central Railroad.
|Wisconsin Central ore dock #1, 1917|
image courtesy of Ashland Historical Society
But the fact I learned that I can't wrap my brain around is that in 1893 10,000 men (and one woman) were here logging timber for the city's 10 sawmills! That's more than the entire population that lives there today, just to cut trees! Can you imagine what this area used to look like before? More on this later as Ahland's murals includes a lumberjack tribute.