Originally published on the River Road Rambler blog, reprinted with permission.
An interesting scrapbook came to the Luck Museum last week from New York. I had exchanged emails last fall with Lisa N, whose grandfather spent the summer of 1930 working on electricity projects in Polk and Burnett Counties of Wisconsin and Pine County Minnesota.
The scrapbook was 100+ photos of the project and included building a tower on the Wisconsin side of the St Croix River and running a high voltage line (66 kilovolts) from a new power plant in Pine City to Cumberland, WI.
Wisconsin Hydro-Electric Co., headquartered in Amery, WI appears to have been the owner of the line. A clipping from the a September newspaper, the Cumberland Advocate, explains the project.
Here is the clipping, some photos and some maps that are related to the St Croix River crossing only. There are also photos of the new Pine City Steam Power plant being built, the Cumberland electrical substation, the Huntingdon MN dam, a dam near Star Prairie and some from Milaca.
All that is left of the St Croix Crossing is the tower base — 4 galvanized irons sticking out of the ground on the high WI bank of the River.
Everett Hanson, my brother, said that the DNR crew he worked with in 1972 (or about then) came across them when building some trails along the St. Croix. He said the folks speculated, but none knew what they were. The next time he heard about the base was in 2015 when another DNR person, Mike Wallis, was looking at the area for timber sales. At the time, he contacted Everett, who contacted me, and again we speculated, but found no information.
Finally we know! The next question is — when was it removed. As best we can pin it down right now is between 1940 and 1950. [Note: If you know the year it was removed or any other information about the tower, please get in touch.]
Photos from the Harold M. Holm Album
Holm was one of the engineers on the project (noted in the clipping above). His granddaughter, Lisa passed along the album.
Harold was a Dane from Racine, WI. At the time the power line was being built, Harold’s father and mother-in law were living in Luck as Minister Neilsen of St. Peter and Luck Lutheran churches. Harold parked his truck in the parsonage garage, and Lisa’s father was born in Luck.