Minneapolis, St. Paul Rochester and Dubuque Electric Traction Company Stocks & Bonds - Ghosts of Wall Street

Minneapolis, St. Paul Rochester and Dubuque Electric Traction

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    Marion W. Savage, owner of the race horse, Dan Patch, planned an electric railroad that would connect the Twin Cities to his farm and stables south of the Minnesota River. The savvy Savage purchased Dan Patch for $62,000 — a fortune in 1902 — and then lavishly pampered and promoted his equine protégé.

    Savage and his backers chose 54th and Nicollet, at the time the Richfield-Minneapolis border, as the starting point for the new railroad. Minneapolis' Nicollet streetcar line ended at that spot, so passengers could easily transfer to the adjacent Dan Patch system. Its owners named their new firm the Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester and Dubuque Electric Traction Company, but no one used the full name. Instead, they preferred the nickname "Dan Patch Line." Construction began in 1908, eventually reaching Northfield in late 1910. Grading began on an extension to Faribault in 1911, but the company never secured an entrance into Faribault and abandoned the project.

    The new railroad built four stations in Richfield, with platforms along the Nicollet Avenue corridor – on the Bachman's farmstead spur at 62nd, Goodspeed's farmstead at 66th, Irwin's farmstead on 72nd and Wilson's farmstead on the southwest corner of 78th. They also completed a company-developed picnic destination named Antlers Park, now part of the Lakeville city park system. Richfield gardeners and farmers used the Dan Patch railroad for shipping produce, dairy products and other goods. Passengers shared the platforms with farmers.

    Original plans called for the Dan Patch Line to be electrified, but that concept never became reality. The company used steam engines for their freight trains, while gas-electric locomotives and motorcars handled passenger traffic. However, Savage's penchant for first-class style did produce luxurious coaches – red, plush seat cushions and fringed shades on windows added a touch of Victorian elegance.

    Management struggled to make the rail route profitable without consistent success. According to some reports, the railroad had an abysmal operating ratio of 147%. However, it persisted in operation until, less than a week after the sudden deaths of the horse Dan Patch and his owner, Colonel Savage, it slumped into receivership on July 16, 1916.

    Four days after the bankruptcy, Charles P. Bratnober (president of the Minneapolis, Anoka and Cuyuna Range Railroad) was appointed receiver. The Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern Railroad, incorporated during June 1918 in South Dakota, bought what was left of Savage's former company at foreclosure on August 6, 1918. The new owners promoted the Dan Patch's route from Northfield to Minneapolis, and successfully marketed the reconstituted railroad as a bridge line around the congested Twin Cities freight yards.
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    Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester and Dubuque Electric Traction Company Stock Certificate Signed by Marion W. Savage
    Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester and Dubuque Electric Traction Company Stock Certificate Signed by Marion W. Savage
    Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester and Dubuque Electric Traction Company (Signed by Marion W. Savage)
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