A Midwest News Exclusive!
A little over a hundred years ago, before cars, planes and paved roads, the driftless area depended on railroads to move farm products to market. The Kickapoo Valley had the Kickapoo Valley Line, locally called, 'The Stump-dodger' that connected Wauzeka with La Farge, WI, a 51 mile run that followed the path of the Kickapoo River.
One can imagine how important the train was in opening the valley to a greater market for lumber, cattle and farm products, providing mail service and as a means to go beyond the next town.
Today, there are few traces of the train left that ran up and down the valley. The tracks were taken out, the depots demolished for salvage along with the bridges over the river, when the railroad company abandoned the line. If you know where to look, there are a few traces of the rail bed left here and there.
The Stump-dodger still lives as folklore in songs and in the hearts and minds of generations who remember their parent's or grandparent's stories. It's an important part of the history of the valley and even though almost all traces of the railroad are gone, it lives on.
Midwest News Productions collected old photographs, interviewed old-timers who remember riding the train as youngsters and video taped various locations to provide an overview of what it was like in the days of old.