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From: "James Dent" james DOT dent AT itochu DOT com
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 12:03:26 -0400
Subject: Montevideo, MN
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=46rom the Willmar, MN West Central Tribune...
Montevideo building its future by celebrating its past
By Tom Cherveny, Staff Writer
For so many years, his community was a busy hub on the famous Milwaukee
But as the owner of Gallery on First and an advocate for the arts,
Christensen has never understood why that history has not been celebrated=
It is now: He was among those applauding as artist Stephan Henning of
Evansville unveiled his work, "Heading West,'' in the community's restore=
Milwaukee Road depot last Thursday.
Christensen praised the work for offering a glimpse of the "energy and
enthusiasm'' the community knew during its vibrant railroad years.
Commissioned by Montevideo's Milwaukee Road Heritage Center, the work
portrays the depot and community as it appeared in 1948.
Seattle-bound passengers riding the speedy "Olympian Hiawatha" paused her=
at the time. The visitors looked out at a rail yard that epitomized the s=
spirit that Carl Sandberg celebrated in the Chicago they had just left
It is believed that as many as 400 men toiled in the Milwaukee Road
subdivision yard in Montevideo in its heyday, when the steam locomotive w=
king. It was a seven days, "round the clock operation, and it as gritty a=
it was hectic. Cattle yards and sky-scraper like grain elevators lined th=
"It was a thriving little town in its heyday, and it still is a thriving
little town,'' said Henning of the community he researched for his work.
The artist is now playing a role in Montevideo's modern day ambitions to
continue as a thriving community.
For nine years, a group of volunteers known as the Milwaukee Road Heritag=
Center has been preserving the community's railroad history. They've
restored the depot where those passenger trains once stopped, and filled =
with Milwaukee Road memorabilia.
They are preparing to celebrate the depot's 100th anniversary this year.
They have ambitious plans for the 6.5 acre rail yard that was once the ve=
heart of the community. The volunteers plan to restore portions of the
26-stall roundhouse where locomotives were tended around the clock.
They also want to improve the turntable that once was used to point these
locomotives like missiles to their destinations.
Limited edition prints of Henning's work will be sold to raise funds for
these restoration efforts, according to Bob Lark, a member of the Heritag=
Lark keeps his own, restored Milwaukee Road caboose in this yard. His
passion for this line's history and its significance is as big as the emp=
the Milwaukee Road one ruled.
But there is more than a passion for the past behind this effort.
Christensen said the community also realizes the value of its history to =
modern economic growth. The Milwaukee Road Heritage Center can complement
the town's efforts to promote tourism, he noted.
Cultural tourism, which is based on a community's history and the arts, c=
do more than attract visitors, said Christensen. It also can help a
community build its own pride and understanding of its modern role, he