Railroads & Hockey Make History in Northern Minnesota

By Explore Minnesota

See how railroads and hockey have shaped our cities and culture by visiting two unique museums in Northern Minnesota.

The historic impact of transportation is displayed at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, located at the Union Depot in Duluth. Thousands of travelers, including immigrants and soldiers, made journeys from the depot beginning in the late 1980s and continuing into the late 1960s. Now the site is the Midwest’s premiere railroad museum, with steam, diesel and electric locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars, dining cars and specialty equipment used by the logging and mining industries. A highlight is Minnesota’s first steam locomotive, the William Crooks, which began operating in 1862 and served, for a time, as the personal train of railroad tycoon James J. Hill.

HockeyTrue history detectives will want to investigate whether the giant, five-ton hockey stick outside the United States Hockey Hall of Fame Museum in Eveleth is in fact the largest hockey stick in the world. The museum has inducted U.S. hockey legends since 1973, going back to champions from the early 20th century and including players and coaches hailing from Minnesota. One popular exhibit showcases U.S. Olympic hockey victories, including the men’s silver medal teams in 1920 and 2010 and gold medal winners in 1960 and 1980 (the “Miracle on Ice” team, led by Minnesota coach Herb Brooks and featuring several former University of Minnesota players, that famously beat the favored Soviet Union team.) The U.S. Women’s Olympic hockey team is honored for their gold medal win in 1998.

Explore more Minnesota history museums, sites and tours.