Created By: Great River Energy
General W.D. Washburn formed the town in 1899, and a railroad in 1900.
Original Soo Line Depot is on National Register of Historic Places – unusual construction – upper story is shaped like an oriental pagoda. It is thought that the wife of the town’s founder – after accompanying her husband to China – was influential in its architecture. It is now used as a railroad and mining museum.
A mine, located one mile east, began full operation in 1901. By 1907 it was the largest underground lignite mine in the world. Many of the early miners were Ukrainians, Austrians and Hungarians. At times, the mine had more than 900 men on the payroll.
Traux-Traer took over the mine in 1930, and began open pit stripping with large machines. In the mid-1940s, the company moved its equipment to Hazen. You can see huge ridges of spoil piles if you drive east of town.
Wilton High School's mascot is a miner, reflecting the heritage of the local area.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Great River Energy's Coal Creek Tour