© 2015 Hinckley Fire Museum, Inc. A 501 (c) 3 non-
An ordinary September day
created extraordinary heroes.
First known as Central Station, the town was named for railroad executive Isaac Hinckley and served as a steam engine water stop and a busy passenger rail station from the 1850’s well into the 1960’s. The Hinckley Fire Museum is housed in the historic depot, built immediately following the 1894 fire to the exact specifications of its predecessor.
Two rail lines crossed at Hinckley: The Great Northern’s link between Minneapolis,
Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin; and the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad,
which connected its namesake bodies of water. The LS&M became the Saint Paul and
Duluth Railroad in 1873 and operated the line and the depot at the time of the fire
in 1894. After the line was restored and the depot rebuilt, the SP&D continued until
1900 when it became part of the Northern Pacific Railway. In 1970, the NP and Great
Northern were absorbed in the merger that created the Burlington Northern Railroad,
forerunner of today’s Dallas, Texas-
The former Northern Pacific line between Hinckley and Duluth was repurposed in the
1980’s to become the multi-
The BNSF continues to conduct switching operations in a small rail yard visible from
the museum property, in connection with its line three blocks to the south. The
line between Minneapolis and Superior still carries several trains each day, carrying
lumber, coal and other freight pulled by BNSF and Canadian National engines. Although
the line has not carried regular passenger service since Amtrak withdrew from the
area in the 1980’s, discussions are ongoing to bring high-
It was railroad men like Thomas Dunn, James Root, John McGowan, Edward Barry, William Best, Thomas Sullivan and John Blair who were among the heroes of September 1st, 1894.
We remember them not only by naming most of Hinckley’s streets after them but by telling their stories at the museum. Ask us about our railroad heritage. We have hosted rail fan groups from all over the country and would welcome the chance to become your next whistle stop.