Brookfield Junction - MISSING JUL 2015  LbNA # 15068 (ARCHIVED)

OwnerWisconsin Hiker      
Placed DateMay 14 2005
LocationBrookfield, WI
Found By samwashere
Last Found Aug 28 2012
Hike Distance1-2 mi
Last EditedMay 15 2016

Last found/checked: 8-OCT-10 Box replaced & clues updated.

Time: 45-60 minutes
Terrain: Level but overgrown

Location: Travel to approximately 2830 N. Brookfield Road (~5 blocks north of North Avenue). Park your car in the gravel parking area on River Road, just west of Brookfield Road and north of the railroad tracks.

The first railroad in Wisconsin ran between Milwaukee and Waukesha and was completed in 1851. Two years later, in 1853, the first railroad depot was built in Brookfield. Subsequently destroyed by fire, the depot was replaced with this structure in 1867 (located between the two tracks). A community known as Brookfield Junction grew up here in the mid 1800s, at the point where the Milwaukee and Waukesha Railway tracks crossed the Milwaukee and Mississippi Railroad tracks. The community included a post office, saw mills, hotels, saloons, blacksmith shops and stores. Some of these buildings can still be seen in the area today. Fare from Brookfield to Waukesha was once about 10 cents.

In later years, the Hiawatha train (lounge cars designed by Brook Stevens) also traveled on these tracks. The Milwaukee Road had a corporate commitment to pure speed. It invested in locomotives and tracks able to rush trains for mile after mile at speeds above 100 mph. The heyday of Hiawathas began in the 1930s. With the end of global war in 1945, The Milwaukee Road set about asserting anew its access to the Pacific Northwest. It publicized its excellence and market access with an Olympian Hiawatha train, named for the state of Washington mountain range shielding Puget Sound. (The current Amtrak train that passes this station, the Empire Builder, travels from Chicago to Seattle.)

Another noteworthy train that traveled on these tracks was the “Cannonball”. Originally it ran from Chicago to Milwaukee then on to Watertown, Wisconsin, where it divided into two sections, one going to Madison, the other to Portage. Eventually the train was reduced to a commuter run, east in the morning from Watertown to Milwaukee and back to Watertown in the evening. The regulars considered it a rolling social club, especially on Friday nights when a festive atmosphere prevailed, complete with iced drinks furnished courtesy of specified commuters. Its last run was on July 31, 1972.

All Aboard!

To start on your quest you must head south and cross the two active railroad tracks used by the Canadian Pacific Railway and Amtrak. The railroad depot constructed in 1867 is across the street, between the two sets of tracks.

Enter the Brookfield Recycling Center and walk along the roadway for a few minutes until you see an abandoned railroad track on the side of the road (before you reach the main gate). This track belonged to the Soo Line and was purchased by Waukesha County in the early 1980's. The spur went into Waukesha and serviced a Vitamin Products factory on Barker and North Avenue that was torn down to make way for Wynfield Estates, a subdivision.

Follow the tracks on the left (south) for approximately 15-25 minutes until you come to a trestle over the Fox River. WARNING: The tracks are somewhat overgrown – long pants are recommended!

When you reach the trestle, cross over it and then look carefully in the left (south) corner. The box is on a small shelf behind and near the top of the first trestle. Please reach in carefully so you don't push it too far in or knock it off.

You can return the way you came.