Skip to main content

The end of the line for the woman who created a small town railroad museum

A southwestern Minnesota town says goodbye to the woman who turned an eyesore into a roadside attraction.

Louise Gervais had a keen eye for both the past and the future. That's what allowed her to lead a group of 4-Hers as they turned an eyesore in their southwestern Minnesota town into a roadside attraction that tells visitors from near and far about their community and its ties to the railroad.

Murray County's Board of Commissioners announced the death of Gervais on Friday, calling the founding director of the End-O-Line Railroad Park and Museum an enthusiastic visionary.

It was 1972 when Gervais led a 4-H group in their Community Pride Project, cleaning up the old railroad yard in their town of Currie (population 233).

The Museums of Minnesota website recounts how the 4-H group then bought the abandoned Chicago and Northwestern Railroad depot for one dollar and moved it to the cleaned up rail yard. Over the years a couple locomotives, a caboose, the railroad foreman's home, a general store, and a one-room schoolhouse were moved there, too. Along the way the county began managing the park and museum.

Currie's railroad history

The museum gets its name because Currie is as far as the Chicago Northwestern Railroad went.

As Forgotten Minnesota explains, a plan to extend it into South Dakota was abandoned, so Currie became the end of the line. In 1901 the railroad built what's called a turntable, which was used to turn the steam engines around so they could pull a train back east again.

Currie's turntable was operated not by horses or steam power, but manually. Two people pushing 11-foot poles turned the engine around, Forgotten Minnesota says.

End-O-Line Museum says Currie's is the only railroad turntable in Minnesota anymore. It's still at its original site and it still works. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places a few years after Gervais and her 4-Hers cleaned up the site.

Next Up

Governor Tim Walz

Walz, judge in dispute over Feeding Our Future case

A Ramsey County judge disputed Walz's claims that the Minnesota Department of Education was ordered by the court to resume payments to Feeding Our Future.

ambulance

2 dead, 1 with life-threatening injuries in Hwy. 7 crash

Both drivers were not wearing their seatbelt, according to the State Patrol.

Screen Shot 2022-09-25 at 11.50.33 AM

15-year-old Richfield football game shooting suspect arrested

A 16-year-old accused of instigating the altercation is also in custody.

Police tape

3 arrested after homicide, burglary in Inver Grove Heights

Charges of first-degree murder and first-degree burglary are pending.

fire, firefighter

Woman dies after becoming trapped in Waseca house fire

Police tried to enter the home but heavy smoke prevented them from getting inside.

ambulance

1 dead, 2 with life-threatening injuries in Minnesota crash

The crash happened just after 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Image (1)

School bus carrying students plunges into river southwest of Fargo

None of the kids suffered life-threatening injuries, though some were taken to area hospitals.

Richfield High School

Richfield High School cancels weekend events after shooting

Two men were shot outside the school's football stadium

Screen Shot 2022-09-23 at 10.21.38 PM

Sound of shots, mass panic at Richfield football game streamed live on YouTube

Gunfire caused panic at a varsity football game Friday night.

J. Gordon

K-9 search leads to $36K fentanyl seizure during traffic stop

A traffic stop was made after the vehicle was seen speeding through the area.

Related

The end of the line for the woman who created a small town railroad museum

A southwestern Minnesota town says goodbye to the woman who turned an eyesore into a roadside attraction.

Small-town MN marching band part of big Pearl Harbor ceremony

On the 75th anniversary of the attack at Pearl Harbor a Minnesota high school band will be part of the ceremonies

73 years later, a World War II soldier is awarded his medals

His remains are headed home after they were identified in an unmarked grave.

73 years later, a World War II soldier is awarded his medals

His remains are headed home after they were identified in an unmarked grave.

Meet the Minnesotan who designs clothes for every woman

A Twin Cities fashion icon who designs clothes for every woman.

An ax-murdered family that was nearly forgotten is revived in a new book

The sad fate of a western Minnesota farm family is the basis of historical novel by a former state lawmaker

The snowmobile's 'Founding Father' has died in Roseau

David Johnson, a co-founder of Polaris Industries, cobbled together the company's first snow machine out of parts including car bumpers 60 years ago.

The snowmobile's 'Founding Father' has died in Roseau

David Johnson, a co-founder of Polaris Industries, cobbled together the company's first snow machine out of parts including car bumpers 60 years ago.