Flambeau Trail: The Mercer Depot

Photographer June 19, 2015
Mercer, Iron County, Wisconsin
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The arrival of the Milwaukee, Lake Shore and Western Railroad in 1889 was a major factor in the economic development of Mercer’s isolated logging settlement. Timber and other natural resources could now be shipped year ‘round to markets. Much needed equipment and supplies could reach the area quickly and cheaply via rail.

Mercer’s early pioneers, with all their worldly goods, soon arrived here by boxcar. They built sawmills, blacksmith shops, and homes. They changed the logging settlement into a community.

The Mercer depot, built in 1905, is the only remaining railroad depot in Iron County. This unique wooden structure speaks of a simpler time when the sound of the steam engine whistles summoned the town to action.

A train brought family, friends, and supplies. Tourists, eager to experience a northwoods getaway, arrived from the cities. Together with freight bound for logging camps, they were loaded into horse drawn carts called “drays” and taxied to outlying resorts. Townsfolk hurried to board the morning train bound for Hurley and Ironwood for a day of shopping, to return on the afternoon southbound. The postmaster pushed his handcart to the station to collect the morning mail that carried news from afar.

For many years this little depot was the heart of the community. In 1982, the last train came through Mercer. Highway transportation had replaced travel by rail. The rails were removed, ending an era.

The Mercer Depot has been restored to turn-of-the century quaintness. It houses a delightful collection of railroad and northwoods memorabilia and the Mercer Historic [sic] Society.
The marker is located on northbound Railroad Street, one block north of its intersection with U.S. Route 51, at the Mercer Depot Museum in "downtown" Mercer, Wisconsin 54547.

Mercer Depot Museum

Mercer Area Historical Society

This marker is included in the Iron County Heritage Area series of markers. Click here for more information and to view all markers in the series

 A peek inside the depot . . .

 A peek inside the barber shop.

 Sweet Soo Caboose!

 The Mercer Depot is located in Mercer, Wisconsin.

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