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Wallace W. Abbey: A Life in Railroad Photography

Ashland Ore Dock – Ashland
Loading iron ore into the steamer Denmark.

Bridge over the St. Croix – Summerset
Soo Line train crossing the High Bridge.

The Lake Superior Railroad Museum at the St. Louis County Heritage & Arts Center has opened a new photo exhibition based on the work of American railroad photographer Wallace W. Abbey. Located in the museum’s Gallery Car, the collection follows Abbey’s life work as he traveled around the country capturing historic images of railroads and the people who worked on all levels to keep the trains running.

Abbey transitioned his profession from journalism to public relations over the course of his 40-year career. His role as a photographer, journalist, historian and railroad-industry executive allowed him to capture often overlooked perspectives spanning the early 1940s through the 1970s. Many of his photos focus on Midwest scenes from small towns to big cities.

Narratives tell the stories behind each picture.

Because Abbey spent time with the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad, the Soo Line, the exhibit includes a collection of historic artifacts from that storied Midwest Granger. On display, with the photos, are items used by conductors, trainmen and engineers, china from their elegant dining cars and table and drink menus.

Wallace W. Abbey; A Life in Railroad Photography is on loan to the museum from the Center for Railroad Photography and Art based in Madison. Touring the exhibit is included with regular Depot admission and is located in the air conditioned Gallery Car just outside the train shed on Track #5.

The exhibit is on display through the end of September.

County Stadium – Milwaukee, WI
Set in the shadow of the huge shop, yard and headquarters of the Milwaukee Road (Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad).

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