The Story Behind These Cedar Rapids Pictures

    I was on my way to work one morning in May of 2003 heading for I-94 in West Allis, WI when I got stopped for a train at some all but abandoned tracks. (The tracks were later abandoned and their right of way is now the Hank Aaron State Trail.) I thought it unusual but what could I do but wait.

    All of a sudden an east bound engine comes into view along with the Milwaukee Road Cedar Rapids! I was flabbergasted. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Five minutes earlier or later and I would have never seen it. Wow.

    That Cedar Rapids Skytop Lounge was on my mind all day. I couldn't help but wonder where was it going... So before I left work I looked on Google maps satellite view and traced where those tracks went. Turned out they headed for Milwaukee's downtown lake front.

    It just so happened that my normal work route was Lincoln Memorial Drive along the lake front from Kenwood Ave on the north southbound into downtown Milwaukee. Right in the general area where those tracks led. So on my way home from work I went driving around the south end of downtown Milwaukee determined to find a Cedar Rapids.

    I don't remember how long it took but I found it. Sitting all my itself in a parking lot that happened to have railroad tracks running through it. I realized in order for it to get there it had to traverse a swing bridge crossing the Milwaukee River that was open for river traffic and probably hadn't seen a train or been operated in years. But that bridge had to work for the Cedar Rapids to be where I found it.

    I ran home and grabbed my camera realizing this was a once in a lifetime photo opportunity. I returned and shot a lot of pictures. Capturing as much close up detail as I could with the thought in mind it would be useful if ever to accurately model this car.

    Turns out while I was shooting the pictures my eye caught movement in the car. That surprised me. Curious, but trying not to look nosy, I peeked into the car and saw someone sitting in the car at a table eating dinner. Then it dawned on me. A security guard. Made perfect sense.

    The whole time there I was wondering what the Cedar Rapids was doing there? Why was it there? Then I happened to notice a semi truck with a flatbed trailer parked a short distance away. It wasn't an 18 wheeler though. Noo... It was a 62 wheeler. I realized the Cedar Rapids was going someplace. But where?

    When I got home I did some research. Turns out the Milwaukee Art Museum, which is on the lake front, was preparing a Brook Stevens exhibit, he being a home town boy. And they brought in the Cedar Rapids, one of his crowning achievements to be displayed at the event.

    You can see the pictures I took that day here. These images are all JPEG's, the originals are all TIFF's persevering the clarity and detail.

Hope you like them.