Historic Muscoda Mile - https://historicmuscodamile.com

The Historic Muscoda Mile

Our Journey Begins at the Railroad Park

The Railroad Comes to Muscoda

Muscoda, the community along the Wisconsin River, was in decline by the 1850’s. Then news of a railroad line from Milwaukee to Prairie du Chien was to develop. Known as the “Milwaukee to Mississippi” it reached Madison by 1854 and tracks were laid westward to what would become the bustling village of Lone Rock.

Key was the decision to cross the river just west, and follow along the Wisconsin River on the south side. Avoca, in 1856, flourished in what had been merely an area that was part of the Town of Pulaski. It now grew as a major trading post .

The Railroad Depot - Located in Avoca
The Depot and Caboose still remain in Avoca
Caboose at the Avoca Railroad Depot - https://historicmuscodamile.com

Tracks would be laid due west to what would become known as ‘Upper town’ Muscoda in October, 1856. About a mile south of the river traffic that had for so many years been important to Muscoda would now become ‘Lower town’. Several stores, businesses and homes would make the move and relocate near the tracks. Land would be plotted and blocks would be laid out to accommodate the arrival of the Milwaukee Road to Muscoda.

John Duffey in his BITS OF HISTORY wrote what life as a Depot Agent in the freight room was like.

The area of ‘Upper town’ grew as shown on this 1879 map with the railroad. A larger copy is located in the hallway of the John Duffey in his BITS Village Office. The tracks would continue on to Blue River and eventually in 1857 reach the Mississippi River, arriving in Prairie du Chien.

Muscoda, 1879

The station at Blue River and as it was in Avoca as well as Muscoda; the importance of transporting goods including animals, grain, lumber and people along with the daily mail services at the depot.

Blue River Depot
Blue River Stock

The railroad would flourish thru the mid 1900’s. For 100 years, the railroad was an important mainstay for Muscoda.

By 1975 the decline in the use of rail traffic brought about hearings to close the depot offices including Avoca, Muscoda and Blue River. Local organizations fought to keep the buildings even though the agents were gone.

Finally, in 1990, the removal of the Muscoda Depot became a reality.

Muscoda Depot