Burlington Route Historical Society - Archives

How you can help - The Archive Legacy Fund Raising Campaigns
Learn about our Archives Located in the Lake States Facility, Baraboo, WI

Last update 2024-06-01
Thank you for your support!

The Archive/Legacy Fund had donations of $13,428 for the year 2023!

Sustaining Members and all those contributing at the Conductor’s
Club Level are over and above that. We have raised over $179,000 and incurred about $17,000 in fund raising costs with additional donations to Lake States and C&NWHS in the last 6 years.

Smug Mug is a Photo Archive service that allows the users to Search, View, and to Download or Order prints of photos in the BRHS Archives collection. Our first group will be largely uncirculated CB&Q Company Photos taken by Fred Lehmann from the late 1930's to 1963 when he retired. The photos were used in Engineering Projects,  Accident Investigations, and regulatory filings. Images were largly in 4x5 nagative format.

In due time more categories of Photographers and subjects will be added. Be patient with our volunteers as this is a learning process with them as well.

Policies Concerning Material
in the Archives of
Burlington Route Historical Society

Open PDF Document Click HERE

Archive Overview:

The BRHS Archives has a reasonable collection of technical and historic material. The Societies Archive efforts really only started in the late 1990's. At no time during the society's existence did it truly receive donations directly from the railroad( BN or BNSF). From the late 1990's to about 2007 "the Archives" consisted of two 4 drawer file cabinets and approximately 20 records boxes. A very limited number of timetables, and some empenmera.

Since the late 1990's the Archives has been financially supported by a portion of the Sustaining/Conductors Club dues dollars. This has been generally in the area of between $3000 to $9000 dollars a year with approximately $6000 as an average. Since 2015 with our cost sharing arrangement with Lake States in Baraboo on the Building we pay $3000 ( $250 a month) during the year for common facility items( lawn maintenance, snow removal, heat, electricity, etc. for our 1000 sq. ft.of archival storage area in their 5000 sq. ft. building . Pretty reasonable and cost effective for both organizations.

Collections continue to be donated and while our space looks full sometimes we are only using about 1/2 our Drawer space and we continue to shed duplicates and unrelated materials.  Sometimes the aisles are filled with projects awaiting sorting and Volunteers to place materials into assigned locations. Please review the upcoming Work Days to see if you can attend one of our sessions.

During the Summer of 2022 the CB&Q Company Negative collection as well as Drawings in the Masterson Collection were transported to the Societies Archives. As work continues on those projects many of the negatives are being scanned and will be the focus of our initial Smug Mug launch during the Summer of 2024. Drawings in the  Flat File Masterson Collection have been logged , located and scanned for use. 

During 2023 and 2024 we worked with Archive teams from other societies to promote "A Day for the Archives" to support additional awareness of our activities and fundraising support. Both events were very successful and raised additional dollars for supplies and equipment. 70 t0 75 people attended a day of programs and a day of rail travel on Metra sharing rail history.

A Day for the Archives trip on Metra to Manhattan, Illinois.
Former CB&Q Bi-level car 747, on April 5th 2024.
Rich Gortowski photo

Dick Kasper reviews BRHS member roster
and Who's Who in Railroading.

Al Kamm III Reviews a listing of the many
questions the Archives receives to attempt to answer.
They are not a simple google search.

Ken Tucek and Steve Holding at a recent work session.

New Safco flat file cabinets ready for assembly( now completed). Purchased with support from the Tom E. Dailey Foundation ($1000) and our fantastic member contributions. Now ready for placement of the Parks Collection of steam service drawings.

Our Company Store material temporarily outside the Baraboo facility for working room to assemble our new flat file cabinets for the Parks Collection at a recent work session.

Upcoming 2024 Archive Work Days

Baraboo Archive Work Dates Winter 2024

  • Wednesday, June 19th
  • Tuesday, July 23rd
  • Tuesday, August 20th
  • Tuesday & Wednesday September 17th & 18th

Please email archives@burlingtonRoute.org if you are considering attending.

All work day hours are 11am - 5pm
Location: 330 Lynn St, Baraboo, WI 53913

We do not take a lunch break.  Feel free to bring along lunch or a snack to get through the day.

Monthly scheduled Work Sessions have been disappointing since Covid.  Jerry Hamsmith, Bill Hirt, Steve Holding, Al Kamm III, Jim Sandrin, Jack Schroeder, Gene Tacey and Myself continue to work remotely on Archive auctions and fundraising activities.

Archive scanning team of Lloyd Rinehart, Rich Gortowski,
Paul Swanson and Al Kamm III are reviewing progress 
on the CB&Q company negative scans and prepping 
for future Smug Mug release 

Al Kamm III is leading the effort/coordination between our scanning, locating, and electronic file naming convention of our drawing collection. Glen Haug and Steve Holding have been inputting drawings into our online database remotely from Washington state and South Carolina.

Steven Fye assembles our new book shelves to store our collection of CB&Q Form A Annual Reports.

Glen Haug entering Data Input into the system.

Mike Smeltzer assisting in the arrangement of storage units

Bill Drzal assisting in the arrangement of storage units