Tag Archives: Minnesota

Underpass Art

Film Friday:

Camera: Kodak 66; Film: Kodak 120, Ektar 100


Humble beginnings

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The Mississippi River in Northern Minnesota 

 


Truly, One of a Kind

Flashback Film Friday:


The Milwaukee Road

Chicago – Milwaukee – Saint Paul

1847 – 1986

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I had not heard the term Milwaukee Road in years.  I came across a plaque honoring the rail line when I was looking around Union Station in Chicago.

The railroad started in 1847 as the Milwaukee & Waukesha.  At the time, rail was needed between Milwaukee and the Mississippi River.  Changes came and went, the railroad went into receivership in 1859 and was purchased by another railroad and then combined with still another.  Out of the chaos emerged the Milwaukee and St Paul.  In 1874, the line absorbed the Chicago and Pacific Railroad Company.  The name changed once again to the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul: The Milwaukee Road.

The passenger train was the Hiawatha.  My grandmother told me stories of riding the Hiawatha from St. Paul to Chicago.  It must have been quite the ride for the details flowed smoothly.

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Hiawatha’s “Beavertail”

By the mid 1930’s the Hiawatha added the famed “Beaver Tail” cars.  The streamlined observation cars were a hit, and earned their nickname from the rail car’s shape.

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Milwaukee Road plaque: Union Station, Chicago

Expansion would begin with the Olympian Hiawatha, which ran out to Puget Sound; the Midwest Hiawatha, which ran between Chicago & Omaha; and the Southwest Limited: Chicago-Milwaukee-Kansas City.

There was a burst of ridership after WWII, and the railroad came out of the bankruptcy caused by the Great Depression.  Unfortunately, like much of the railroad industry, hard times returned again.  Between 1971-1974, Milwaukee Road lost $100 million.  After downsizing, selling of track and assets, Milwaukee Road was finally bought by two competitors: Soo Line and C&NW.  By 1986, the Milwaukee Road was on the route to memories.

Today, much of the abandoned Milwaukee Road is now Rails to Trails.


Lend-Lease Monument

 

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Camera: Rolleiflex 3.5MX; Film: Kodak 120, TMax100

The Lend-Lease Monument is located in Griffin Park, downtown Fairbanks, near Golden Heart Plaza, alongside the Chena River.

The Lend-Lease Act was originally passed in March 1941, with the Soviet Union being added to the program in October of the same year.  The Northwest Staging Route, from the mainland of the U.S. through Canada and into Alaska, was extended into the Soviet Union with the Alaska-Siberian Airway (ALSIB).

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Map of ALSIB; cell phone photo

Planes were ferried from locations like Buffalo, NY; Minneapolis, MN; St Louis, MO; and Oklahoma City, OK to Great Falls, MT.  Airfields were carved out of the wilderness from Montana through Canada and on to Ladd Field in Fairbanks.  Most airfields were built 100 miles apart, with the longest being between Fort Nelson, BC and Liard River, which was 140 miles.  The Alaska Highway would soon be completed linking the airfields together by road.

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Camera: Rolleiflex 3.5MX; Film: Kodak 120, TMax100

The first Soviet pilots landed in Nome on 14 August 1942.  The Soviets took over the aircraft at either Ladd Field in Fairbanks or at Nome, then flew across the Bering Strait to Krasnoyarsk in Siberia.

Over 8000 aircraft flew through Ladd Field in Fairbanks on their way to the Soviet Union.  Between October 1941 and the end of May 1945 the U.S. provided the USSR with nearly a half-million vehicles other than aircraft, 2 million tons of gasoline and oil, and close to 4.5 million tons of food.  Of the 8000 aircraft, 133 were lost.  The average time to ferry an aircraft to the Soviet Union was 33 days.

Some of the aircraft ferried:

The Bell P-39 Airacobra, followed by the P-63 Kingcobra its successor, the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, and Rebublic P-47 Thunderbolt.  Bombers ferried included the Douglas A-20 Havoc and North American’s B-25 Mitchell.  Most of the transports ferried were the Douglas C-47 Skytrain.

“The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man, or one party, or one nation… it must be a peace which rests on the cooperative effort of the whole world.”  

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

 

 

 


The Wooger

Claimed by South Saint Paul; adopted by the entire State of Hockey.

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Credit: Golden Gopher Hockey

Doug Woog, the former coach of the University of Minnesota Gopher hockey team, passed away this past Saturday.  Woog was 75.

Wooger was the Gopher coach for 14 years, leading the team to 12 consecutive national tournament appearances.  He led the Gophers to the Frozen Four finals in his first four seasons behind the bench, and to six Frozen Fours in all.

At the time of Wooger’s retirement, he led the team in victories as a coach.  Don Lucia has since passed him in wins.  Woog still out paces Lucia in win percentage.  His win percentage at Minnesota is also higher than two legends of the game: John Mariucci and Herb Brooks.

When Woog was coaching the Gophers, it was common knowledge in Minnesota, that if you wanted to complain about the Gopher power play, you didn’t have to go through the University switchboard.  All you had to do was open the Saint Paul phone book:  The Woogs were always listed.

After his coaching career, Woog made an incredibly easy transition into broadcasting Gopher hockey games.  He was a natural, and another generation of fans came to know the Wooger.

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Doug Woog receives a kiss from his goaltender after scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Minneapolis Patrick Henry in the 1959 state tournament. Photo: Minnesota Hockey Hub

Doug Woog made the South Saint Paul high school hockey team as a 5’6″, 140 pound freshman.  Woog and the Packers went to four state tournaments in hockey.  Woog was All-State for three years, was named to the State’s All-Tournament team for three years, and led the tournament in scoring in 1962.

For good measure, Woog was also All-State in football as a tailback.

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Doug Woog as a Gopher; Photo credit: Golden Gopher Hockey

Woog would go on to play for the University of Minnesota, under the God Father of Minnesota hockey, John Mariucci.  He won three letters, since freshman were not allowed to play in this era.  In 80 career games, Woog tallied 101 points.  As a junior, he led the team in scoring, and was named First Team All-America.  As a senior, Woog was named Gopher captain, and the team’s MVP.

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Wooger showing concern over Referee Shepherd’s eyesight 

With all of the high accolades that Woog received as both a hockey player and coach, I think he was really a teacher at heart.

When I was a student at the University of Minnesota, Doug Woog was the hockey coach.  I spent many Friday & Saturday winter nights at the Old Mariucci Arena.  Campus was a lot different back then.  There was no “athlete village”, and running into players and coaches was a common occurrence.  Since I played some rec sports during my time at the “U”, I was often around the sports facilities and I only remember two coaches that gave the time of day to the average student.  One was the still current baseball coach, John Anderson, and the other was Woog.  A quick comment to Woog of “Nice win on Saturday, Coach”, would more often than not get a response about how the transition game wasn’t quite what he was looking for, or the power play left some goals on the ice.

Once, while at Williams Arena, I literally ran into Coach Woog.  I was probably picking up student tickets to the weekend series, and was bundled up to race across campus for a class I shouldn’t be late for.  I bumped into Woog on my way to the door, and he joked about my being in a hurry, then he asked if I was going to the game on Friday.  I said I was, then I said that the Gophers would have a tough time with So-And-So in goal for the opposing team.  Woog then spent the next ten minutes telling me exactly how and why So-And-So would be that tough.  Then he spent ten minutes telling me about their defensive corps.  If I hadn’t stopped him, I think Coach Woog would have given me the run down on their entire line up, as well.  I was young and foolish back then, and I thought that the class was a priority, so I raced off, no doubt leaving Woog chuckling. I was quite late to class anyway, and the professor made sure everyone in the hall knew I was late.  It’s only years later that I realize that the class was the least important thing I did that entire day.

My favorite Woog story comes, of course, from North Dakota, Minnesota’s main rival at the time.  As a student, nothing was better than a bus ride to Grand Forks to see Minnesota play NoDak.  There is just something about youth that longs to be surrounded by people who utterly hate your very existence.  A trip to Madison was second best; hat tip towards Peewaukee.  Back in the day, when NoDak played the Gophers, their fans would throw dead prairie dogs onto the ice when North Dakota scored their first goal.  Woog’s Gophers had one mission: To keep those dead prairie dogs in the NoDak fans’ pockets for as long as possible.  A shutout was an epic victory.  Woog relished the idea of the stinky, dead rodents thawing out inside the NoDak jackets.

I became excited about college hockey as a very young kid, sitting in the stands at Old Mariucci with my Dad, watching Herb Brooks coach the Gophers to national prominence.  That culminated with the 1980 Miracle on Ice.  But there is no doubt that I learned the game of hockey watching the Doug Woog coached Gophers.

Woog was a class act through and through, and he will be missed at rinks all around Minnesota.  His passion and dedication to the sport was infectious, and he passed that on to so many people, that he didn’t even know were watching.

Rest in peace, Wooger.

 

 

 


The Battle for The Axe

And the Big Ten West Title

The longest running rivalry in college football.


Freddie the Foot

Fred Cox attempts to put one through the uprights at The Met, Paul Krause holding

Fred Cox, the long time kicker for the Minnesota Vikings, passed away this week. He was 80, just three weeks shy of his 81st birthday.

Cox was drafted by the Cleveland Browns as a fullback out of the University of Pittsburgh. The plan was for Cox to block for the future Hall of Famer, Jim Brown. A back injury had legendary coach Paul Brown telling Cox to switch to kicker. Unfortunately, another Hall of Famer, Lou Groza was still kicking for Cleveland. Cox was traded to Minnesota, and became their full time kicker in 1963.

Cox would play 15 seasons for the Vikings, never missing a game. He retired as the franchise leading scorer with 1365 points. Still the franchise record.

Cox was named All-Pro for the 1969-1971 seasons, playing in the 1970 Pro Bowl. He is one of 11 Vikings to have played in all four of their Super Bowl appearances. Cox was also named to the squad of the Top 50 Vikings when the team hit their 50th Anniversary.

While playing for the Vikings, Cox and Minneapolis resident John Mattox teamed up to invent the NERF football. While Mattox wanted a heavy ball that “kids couldn’t kick out of their yards”, Cox suggested a foam ball to “prevent a bunch of sore legged kids.” After making a mold, and injecting it with foam, Cox & Mattox took the ball to Parker Bros. The rest is back yard history. Not to mention a few living rooms.

As a young kid, my Dad would take me out to the old Met, and I saw Freddie the Foot kick many, many times, and I can’t tell you how many NERF footballs I owned when I was growing up. Rest In Peace, Freddie; you were in the middle of a lot of very good memories.


Unexpected Selfies

The Rover Dash: I must be going downhill

When I sent in the film from the Billy-Clack, I had one roll of 120 black & white film that I could not remember when I had shot it. Somehow, a roll of film had been forgotten in a pack pocket during one of my travels. It sat around for a bit more, as I waited to get some more 120 used up.

The roll does have some history to it, and it has been a while. It’s from the last time The Rover was down in the Lower 48. Probably right after I swapped out the motor, because there are a few shots of San Antonio.

There was also a shot of some young punk, riding alongside me in the Land Rover, taking a picture of himself as he stuck out his tongue at the camera. He also took this shot of the Rover dash, probably scared at how fast we were moving.

I must have been concentrating on traffic, because I do not remember him sticking his tongue out at me or the camera.

Camera: Agfa Clack (not the Billy-Clack); Film: Kodak 120 TMax 100; Photographer: Minnesota “Moose” Matthew


Windmills

Going in circles

I feel like I’m spinning in circles myself writing posts on here, so I’m going to keep things short & sweet until the issues are cleared up.