Location: Gladstone, MI - Soo Line Facilities

Gladstone RoundhouseGladstone Soo Line DockThe Soo Line had a division point and offices at Gladstone, including locomotive servicing and car shops. The Soo Line had a large yard here which is still used by the Canadian National.

Photo Info: Top, the roundhouse at Gladstone around 1949. [James LaVerdure collection]. 2nd photo, the MStP&SSM dock at Gladstone in the 1800's. [EDP]


Gladstone had an electric turntable.

Soo Gladstone station. This passenger station was built in 1887 when the Soo Line arrived in Gladstone. It was a two-story rectangular wood-framed building with a gambrel roof, 30' wide and 100' long. [UPM]

Soo Roundhouse. The Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie railroad was built around 1890 in Gladstone on Railway Avenue. It had 22 stalls 90' deep. The roundhouse doors were 12' wide. Overall this brick building measured 24' by 90' by 48'. It had a roof pitched to the rear. The turntable was electric powered and 90' long. 20 stalls were removed in the mid-1960's leaving two. [UPM] 

Time Line

1887. The Soo Line constructed machine shops and roundhouse. Along the waterfront they built an ore dock 768 feet long with an approach of 914 feet. The Lehigh Coal and Iron company added a dock with capacity of 500,000 tons. [EDP-1949-0104]

1888. A second coal dock 93 by 500 feet was built and the Soo Line constructed a merchandise dock 93 by 505 feet with a flour shed 82 by 504 feet that had storage for 80,000 barrels of flour. Later in the year, the Soo Line built another coal shed 200 by 500 feet and a second flour shed 90 by 555 feet which gave Gladstone the distinction of having the largest flour docks in the country. Gladstone was equipped for coal, iron, timber, flour and merchandise traffic which was to make the city a familiar name in traffic and commercial annals for many years. [EDP-1949-0104]

1891. November. The large merchandise dock and flour shed and the original coal dock were destroyed by fire. Plans were made to rebuild and in 1892 the building of a merchandise dock 93 by 73 feet (225 feet longer than the original) with a merchandise shed of 80 by 208 feet and a new dock 93 by 300 feet (300 feet longer than the first one was begun. At the same time, the Soo built a transfer grain elevator of 371,000 bushel capacity and a power house that had a brick chimney 130 feet high. [EDP-1949-0104]

1907. November. As a precaution against being taken for deer by over-zealous hunters, section men along the DSS&A and Soo Line railroads have been provided with red mackinaw jackets. The crimson colored raiment is attracting much attention from passengers and trainmen. There has been no instance this fall of a section man being accidentally shot in mistake for game but it has happened in the past. [SHDP-1907-1126]

1954. December. A new diesel switch engine and a general purpose diesel powered locomotive were put into operation here Thursday. The switcher is rated at 1,200 horsepower, the general purpose engine at 1,750. The Gladstone division will be completely dieselized by mid-January. Two more general purpose locomotives are scheduled to come here, one to work east of Gladstone, the other west while one will be for standby. Another type of locomotive rated at 1,000 horsepower is also scheduled for delivery here and will be used on the Rapid River branch of the Soo Line which runs from Rapid River to Eben Junction. [EDP-1954-1231]

1961. About 11 Soo Line cars were derailed at Gladstone this morning when a freight train backed into a freight care coming off an adjacent track. The impact overturned about seven empty gondolas, a hopper, two empty tank cars, and a box car loaded with freight. The wreck will be cleared this afternoon. [EDP-1961-1018]

1963. October. The Gladstone Fire Department was called out to extinguish a fire which started in an abandoned coal chute in the Soo Line Railroad yards. The fire was believed to have been started from a spark from a diesel engine. Firemen worked for about an hour and a half before extinguishing the blaze. About 1:30 a.m. they were recalled when a second fire started in the top of the coal chute. Soo Line officials said the chute had not been in use for several years and that they had planned to dismantle the structure. [EDP-1963-1016]

Update: The fire, according to Evan Johnson, clerk at the Soo Line roundhouse, was intentionally set to rid the property of the structure. The chute had not been in use since the Soo Line discontinued operation of its steam engines back in 1955. The chute contained two pockets, each capable of holding 25 ton of coal. Coal for the chute was brought to Gladstone, dumped into a pit, and then bucketed into the pockets for loading the engines. Back in those days it took about 10 tons of coal to stoke one of the big steam engines. Twice in the past 30 days or so fire had broken out in the chute, but Monday the structure was deliberately set afire. [EDP-1963-1029]

1969. State police have reported that 12 highly dangerous torpedoes stolen from a Soo Line railroad  car are still missing. The torpedoes are one and 1/2 inches square, red in color, and have the word "danger" written on them. Anyone knowing the whereabouts of these torpedoes is asked to call the State Police at Gladstone. [EDP-1969-0903]


The following sources are utilized in this website. [SOURCE-YEAR-MMDD-PG]:

  • [AAB| = All Aboard!, by Willis Dunbar, Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids ©1969.
  • [AAN] = Alpena Argus newspaper.
  • [AARQJ] = American Association of Railroads Quiz Jr. pamphlet. © 1956
  • [AATHA] = Ann Arbor Railroad Technical and Historical Association newsletter "The Double A"
  • [AB] = Information provided at Michigan History Conference from Andrew Bailey, Port Huron, MI

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