Unlike the Northern Pacific, Union Pacific, and many other railroads, the Great Northern never celebrated a centennial as it was formally created in 1889 and merged into the Burlington Northern in 1970, a mere youngster of 81. However, its predecessor, the St. Paul & Pacific, put its first locomotive, the William Crooks (named after the railway’s chief engineer), to work building the railway in 1862. Based on that date, this booklet commemorates “a century of service.”
The booklet notes that Great Northern formally gave the William Crooks to the Minnesota Historical Society on June 28, 1962, exactly 100 years after it was delivered to St. Paul. Despite the change in ownership, GN kept it on display in St. Paul Union Depot, where it had been since 1954. In 1975, four years after Union Depot closed, the locomotive was moved to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth, where it can be seen today. With its two wooden passenger cars, it is one of the finest examples of Civil War-era trains in existence.