Yellowstone Mallet shines in spotlightRestoration of the Yellowstone Mallet #229 Locomotive celebrated its completion Friday, May 4.
Restoration of the Yellowstone Mallet #229 Locomotive celebrated its completion Friday, May 4.
A crowd of 40 to 50 people gathered to mark the finish of work on the locomotive, built in 1943. Local government officials and organizers of the project spoke about how much the engine meant to the Two Harbors community.
“It’s a historically significant engine,” said Two Harbors resident Thomas Koehler. “There’s only a small number left and of the ones left, this is one of the finest.”
The campaign to restore the engine has been going on since 2005, when the Lake County Historical Society applied for a Federal Transportation Enhancement Grant. Overall, the costs for the Yellowstone Mallet Locomotive will be about $203,000; the Historical Society contributed about $53,000.
Restoring the kiosk for the engine display will cost about $11,000 and is being paid for through donations and by the Historical Society.
“It’s extremely weird to be done because it’s been such a part of my life,” said Historical Society Director Mel Sando. He said he was grateful for the support he received on the project.
“I was blown away at the support we received,” Sando said. “Not just the attendance, which was great, but also by the support that came online. People sent e-mails and thank-you’s.”
He said the Yellowstone Mallet restoration came at the right time.
“We got to it right before it got a critical point where people might start to question if it should be repaired,” Sando said.
Tim Larson of Northern Painting and Drywall, a painter on the project, said he enjoyed working on the Yellowstone Mallet.
“It’s the largest steam locomotive! I was proud to be a part of it,” he said.
Two Harbors local historian Todd Lindahl, who put 528 hours into the Yellowstone Mallet’s restoration, was presented with a key to the city of Two Harbors for his hard work and dedication. Lindahl said he had a special connection the engine, citing his family’s history of working for the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway Company.
“It’s a big part of my life,” said Lindahl. “It’s a reflection of the community here.”
Perhaps the person most affected by completion of the Yellowstone Mallet was former engineer and fireman Warren Symons, who had actually helped operate the locomotive.
“It’s very good,” said Symons. “It’s the most wonderful thing I’ve seen in a long time.”
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