Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

 September 7, 1994, Page 36

 Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.

Index of "Good Old Days" Articles 



Good Old Days     


F. & N. E. Locomotives of the Railroad Era in Central Wisconsin


By Delores Zimmerman


There are “railroad buffs,” which make a hobby of collecting memorabilia on a disappearing mode of transportation – that of the railways, most popular in the early 1900s and late 1800s.


The Foster Railroad Enterprise, known of F. & N. E., was unique in being an independently small company, serving as a primary carrier for the Foster lumber operations in Western Clark and neighboring counties.


All of the locomotives, owned by Foster, were photographed, by J. Foster Adams.


Adams was born in Wisconsin in 1882, the son of Horacle E. and Hattie (Foster) Adams.  At the age of 20, he started as a railroad photographer while a cashier at the Big Store in Fairchild.


He traveled west in 1910 to Junction City, Idaho, where he worked as a clerk and filed a claim for 160 acres of land next to his mother’s farm.  Later, in about 1913, he settled in Portland.  During his 48 years of residency in Oregon, he became a successful commercial photographer.  He died in 1962.


His railroad negatives, donated in 1962, are in two major groups.  Of one group there are about 700 glass plates and negatives, taken up to the 1920s.  These concentrate on the Midwest, but include GN &NP views extending to the west coast.  The second group has about 3530 negatives made up of Southern Pacific and Union Pacific scenes.


These are some of the photos.  The shots affirm his great talent as a photographer.  So, for the railroad buffs, who have requested more photos, here they are.

The F. & N. E.’s passenger train equipment, in this 1902 photo, would leave the Fairchild depot, go south, loop around, past the mill site and move northeasterly into the cut-over area of Clark County, going as far as Owen, where it would make a turn around for return trip.  Tioga, Willard, Greenwood and some other stops were on that route.


Omaha 128, the last locomotive operated by the F. & N. E., photographed by J. Foster Adams at Woodville in 1926.  It served up to the end of the operations in 1930.  The engine sat in Greenwood from the time of its abandonment until that fall when it was cut up for scrap and hauled away in gondolas on the Soo Line.


Engine #11, in a builder’s print from the Lima Locomotive Works


Engine 6 was used on the S. S. M. & S. W. (Mondovi Line).  It was later purchased by the Omaha.  At the time of this photograph, it was on an Omaha work train between Elroy and the railway tunnel in the 1890s.  That portion of railroad bed is now part of the Elroy-Sparta State Bike Trail.

Engines outside the engine house; the cement footings and other remains of the engine house are located in a wooded area in Fairchild.


Engine 7, at the engine house in Fairchild, May 1902


The F. & N. E. purchased this Wisconsin Central 74 in 1912.

WC72 was built to its same specifications.



(Photos appeared in the “Foster’s & Nobody Else’s” of the N. C. Foster Enterprises publication by Wm. W. O’Gara.)



© Every submission is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.


Show your appreciation of this freely provided information by not copying it to any other site without our permission.


Become a Clark County History Buff


Report Broken Links

A site created and maintained by the Clark County History Buffs
and supported by your generous donations.


Webmasters: Leon Konieczny, Tanya Paschke,

Janet & Stan Schwarze, James W. Sternitzky,

Crystal Wendt & Al Wessel