The Duluth & Northeastern was primarily a logging railroad. It was
chartered in 1898 by the Potlatch Corporation, which ran the Potlatch Paper
Mill in Cloquet. The railroad brought logs to the mill, hauled supplies back
out to the logging camps, and handled common carrier freight as needed. The
railroad once ran 58 miles to Hornby, MN, but in recent years, it ran only to
Saginaw, MN, which is about 11 miles north of Cloquet. The D&NE
interchanged with the DM&IR and CN at Saginaw.
The Saint Louis River crossing consisted of two bridges. The north channel
bridge crossed at this location, and the south channel bridge crossed at
the eastern tip of Dunlap Island. The bridge at this location, the upper
bridge, dates back to 1898. The northwest tip of Dunlap Island proved to
be an unfavorable location for a bridge due to the ground being less stable
and ice jamming up against the island. The bridge finally washed out in the
early 1950s. When it was rebuilt, a shorter path was chosen just down stream
of the old bridge.
The north bridge abutment still exists. It is visible from a trail that
runs along the north riverbank. The south abutment appears to still exist.
The track leading to the south abutment is still in place behind the
Cloquet Terminal Railroad shop. The shop building puts the end of the tracks
into a shadow, so it is hard to see. The CTRR land is private property, so
one cannot walk in to see it. From what I can see, it appears that the old
bridge abutment is still there. There are no visible remains of the
The photo above is looking northwest towards the site of the north end of
the old Upper Dunlap Island Bridge. The north bridge abutment is located
about in the center of the photo. It is not visible in this view. The
vantage point is the deck of the newer Upper Dunlap Island Bridge, which
is now a regional trail crossing.
The photo above is another view of the location where the old Upper Dunlap
Island Bridge once crossed the north channel of the Saint Louis River. The
vantage point is from the newer Upper Dunlap Island Bridge, which is visible
in the foreground. The photo below is the north bridge abutment, which
is located next to a trail that runs along the riverfront.
These photos are two more views of the north bridge abutment. The photo
above is from on top of the old railroad grade, while the photo below is
looking towards the east side of the abutment. It is interesting to see
that an electrical box and conduit are still attached to the structure
despite sitting abandoned for nearly 60 years.
These two photos are views of the northwest end of Dunlap Island, where
the south abutment of the railroad bridge is located. The photo above is
looking west across the river, while the photo below is looking southwest.
The river splits into two channels at this location. The bridge landed
on the tip of the island, and crossed the north channel. The abutment would
be located on the point of land that juts out to the right of the building
in the foreground of the photo below.
These two images were clipped from Bing Maps using the Bird's Eye View.
The image above is looking east towards the west tip of Dunlap Island.
The south abutment of the old bridge is in the center of the photo just
below the white car. The image below is looking upstream to the west where
the river splits at Dunlap Island. The dark line traces the path of the
old railroad bridge. The newer bridge, in comparison, is much shorter than
the old bridge.