Wednesday, August 6, 2014

12th Annual Ag-Rail Heritage Festival is Almost Here!

Want to exhibit your vintage iron (tractor), truck, or classic car at Ag-Rail?
Contact the Railroad Museum's executive director, Matt Merk, for more information.                         E-mail


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Archeology Dig to Unearth The Railroads Past

Wow, we are getting national attention with our planned archaeology dig scheduled to start in August. The archaeology team coming in from the University of Iowa are also looking for 30 volunteers to help.
These volunteers will work side by ...side with the archeologists doing some digs, and sifting through the dirt, looking for any type of historic artifact. If you are interested or know of someone that would like to help please contact us. No special skills are needed to volunteer. Interested volunteers can email the Milwaukee Railroad Shops at: or call: 233-6996.
For more information about the dig and volunteering for it please click on the links below.

Pictures Needed of the Rounhouse Complex and its Employee's

The Siouxland Historical Railroad Association is seeking old photos from area families of the Sioux City-based Milwaukee Road Railroad Shops and its railroad workers in search of pictures that can assist with an archaeological dig or can accompany the nomination to list the historic site on the National Register of Historic Places.

Larry Obermeyer, railroad museum president, said they would like to include photographs donated by local Milwaukee Road families of themselves or their relatives working at the railroad shops complex. “The images of the workers, buildings, etc., provide a historical overview of the functionality of the site. We would like to be able to show the worker perspective by including their photos in with the historical documentation,” Obermeyer said.
Individuals who have photos may bring them to the Railroad Museum, where staff will collect the photos and information for sresearch team. After scanning, the research team will return the originals to the owner.

For those unable to bring the photos to the Railroad Museum, digital photos may be e-mailed. These photos should be scanned at a dpi of at least 300 to provide good reproduction. The photos should be e-mailed by August 5th to Along with the photos, contributors will be asked to provide the railroad worker’s name and occupation.
Photos will be used for the National Register nomination and may be used by the field archaeologists studying the site from August 6 to August 29. The photos may also be permanently exhibited in a display at the railroad museum.

The Railroad Museum is located on the grounds of the Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District at 3400 Sioux River Road in the North Riverside Neighborhood of Sioux City. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and Noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Families contributing photos to the Museum’s historical study will receive Free Admission.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

During this holiday weekend, July 4 – 6, the Siouxland Historical Railroad Association will hold its Heritage Giving Weekend, a three-day online giving initiative to raise funds to construct the Sioux City & Dakota Grand Scale Railroad, a fun and educational railway ride exhibit to illustrate the history and importance of the railroads to Midwestern culture.
The intent of this project is to improve mobility and accessibility for children and their families while providing a train ride experience during visits to the Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District. Photos and videos of the train being built can be viewed at or Donations of $10 or more can be made by visiting
The crowd funding initiative seeks to raise $60,000 for the purchase of the train set and track building materials as part of a multi-phased project to build and install a park-style Miniature Railroad at its museum campus, located at 3400 Sioux River Road in Sioux City, Iowa. The Miniature Railroad will feature a classic-style 3-inch scale miniature park train that will run on a 1.5-mile rail line constructed with 15-inch gauge tracks.

This miniature railroad will be capable of running a three-car train set consisting of a vintage reproduction of the historic F-7 diesel locomotive with a four motor drive system and phoenix sound, two twelve-passenger economy coaches, and an ADA-compliant observation car. The train set is currently under construction at the Swannee River Railroad shops in Fort Worth, Texas.
Help us expand on our railroad experience by donating at today! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Volunteers needed for Big Sioux River flooding preparation and cleanup. Museum will be closed through July 1st.

Hello all,

If you follow us on Facebook, then you've seen our post asking for help with preparing for the upcoming cresting of the Big Sioux River and the adverse effects it could have on our museum.

The crest of the Big Sioux River, as predicted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is expected to reach 110.3’, the highest crest since 1969. This crest could leave multiple areas of the museum with standing water and damage to valuable artifacts and exhibits.

Volunteers can help with tasks such as sandbagging, relocating gift shop items, preservation gallery materials, tools and other contents of the museum, wrapping buildings in sandbags and plastic, and general cleanup both before and after the cresting.

The museum will be completely closed to non-volunteers through this weekend, June 20-22. If you need to contact the museum regarding rescheduling of visits, questions about the reopening, etc., please call (712) 233-6996, and a staff member will return your call as soon as possible.

If you would like to aid in the flood preparation and cleanup process at any point, please contact Matt Merk at (712) 253-7531, or call the museum for more information.

Thanks for your help and support during this time. We're doing our best to protect and preserve our museum and its history. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Rail Walk 101 - Telling the Story

In association with the Western Iowa Technical Community College (WITCC) Lifelong Learning Program we will be hosting Rail Walk 101 on Saturday, June 7th from 10 am - Noon. If you are interested in participating please contact WITCC to register for this unique walking tour of the Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District.

Telling the Story
Saturday, June 7; 10 a.m. to noon
Location: Meet at the Milwaukee Railroad historic district, 3400 Sioux River Road,
Iowa Hwy. 12, two miles south of Stone State Park.
Fee: No charge Max: 50
Lifelong Learning membership required
Guided tour with walking
Course #14/FY-CPDV-2371-02
A Tour of the Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District

Join fellow Lifelong Learners for a private guided tour of this unique railroad historic site. You’ll
discover how the railroads built their infrastructure to transport people and goods across North America and hear about the fascinating information that came to light when the rail yard was being nominated for a listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The story of the Milwaukee Road Roundhouse complex in Sioux City’s Riverside neighborhood is the story of the railroad industry and how it shaped Sioux City into the nation’s tenth largest railroad center during the 1920s and early 1930s. When the complex began operations in 1918 as the Sioux City Engine Terminal and Car Repair Shops, its design was revolutionary, combining all the
railroad’s cutting-edge facilities in one place.

This walking tour will give you a chance to view the surviving buildings and structures and learn about the architecture and their functional design. You will also be able to visit the ruins of over ten other buildings and structures.

The complex was built in 1917 by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railway Company, more commonly known as The Milwaukee Road. It was the second largest shop complex in the Milwaukee’s system. In its heyday, the site covered more than 50 acres of land and included more than 25 buildings. It employed over 500 people and served an average of 72 trains per day. The complex was finally closed in 1981when the railroad went bankrupt. It only employed two people when the doors were shut for the last time.

Over the following years the complex was converted into a salvage yard and all the buildings fell into disrepair. In 1995 the City of Sioux City awarded the Siouxland Historical Railroad Association a grant to purchase the complex and clean-up/restoration work has been ongoing ever since. Thanks to federal, state, and local grants and donations from businesses and visitors the past few years have
seen unprecedented building and grounds restoration. On this tour, you will see the progress that’s been made to date and learn about ambitious plans for the future.

Note: Please dress appropriately for weather. Please wear protective shoes – no open toe or high heels – for walking and slacks to protect your legs. Tour proceeds rain or shine.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that attended and supported our Rails & Cocktails fundraiser Thursday night May 15th at the Sergeant Bluff Community Center. The entertainment provided by Matt D, Garie Lewis, and Mike Langely was spectacular. A very special heart felt thank you goes out to these three individuals for volunteering to donate their time and talents to help us out. If you ever hear of any of these very talented gentlemen performing near you; they are definitely a MUST SEE performance. You will be so very happy that you went to see them.

A good time was had by everybody in attendance and those that participated in the auctions were rewarded with some truly amazing great deals. Also, and I cannot stress this enough, this entire event could not have happened without the wonderful support and generosity of our community business'  that provided auction items, food, and beverages.

WalMart, Rays Midbell Music, Vac Shack, Complete Nutrition, Cookies BBQ, Glazer's, Sioux City Bandits, Sioux City Explorers, River City Amusements, Jolly Time Popcorn, Thinker Toys, Palmer Candy, Awesome Biker Nights, Indigo Pallet, Hannel Cellars, Odell & Dorothy Overgaard, Two Rivers Golf Club, Whispering Creek Golf Club, Braungers Meats, Jiffy Lube, Rocket Auto Wash, Hamilton Touchless Auto Wash, Carmike Cinemas, Scheels, Greenberg's Jewelers, Aggies Restaurant, Direct PC, Bush Cleaners, Roosters Harley Davidson, Fareway, Subway, and Massage & Body.

The next time you stop in and visit any of these wonderful sponsors please tell them how much you appreciate their help of our museum and give them a heart felt thank you for us. This museum is a result of each and everyone in our community lending a hand and pitching in. Whether it is though volunteer labor, visiting as a paying customer, or supporting us through donations and good will gestures such as this fundraiser we are all making Sioux City a better place to raise our families and enjoy our free time together.

Please be sure to keep checking back with this blog site for the latest updates and news about The Railroad Museum, Sioux City and checkout our web site for a list of upcoming events and more information about the museum and the Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District at

Here are some pictures from the event for you to enjoy.

Here's the room almost set-up and ready to go.

Matt D started off the evening with a fantastic set.

Some of the crowd enjoying the nights entertainment.

Garie Lewis cracked up the audience with his comedic wit and also played a couple tunes with Mike Langley

 Iowa Music Hall of Fame inductee Mike Langely had the crowd clapping, tow tapping and singing along to the music. A fantastic way to end the evenings entertainment.