610 Lincoln Avenue, Fennimore, Wisconsin
Museum phone: 608-822-6144
2022 Hours of Operation
The Fennimore Historical Railroad Society Museum will open May 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Train rides will be available for the holiday weekend on May 28- 30. After the holiday, the Museum’s normal operating hours will be Thursday – Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with train rides available on Saturday and Sunday.
There is no set admission fee to visit the museum. Donations are appreciated and used to help cover operation expenses and maintenance of the museum. Miniature train rides for the youth will be offered on Saturday and Sunday weather permitting for a small fee.
Bus tours welcome! Our museum is air conditioned and is handicap accessible with a bus unloading zone. If you know you are visiting, let us know ahead of time so we can make any necessary accommodations by calling the museum contact numbers.
Ride the Dinky Bike Route between Fennimore and Woodman.
About the Fennimore Railroad Historical Society Museum
The Fennimore Railroad Historical Society Museum, home of the “Dinky“, is located in the former city power house and utility building. The building has been remodeled inside and out to resemble a turn-of-the-century depot. The replica loading platform was built with sand and brick, just the way it was originally built, using brick from the original depot.
The museum also showcases an excellent collection of antique farm tools and equipment, military uniforms and war memorabilia, and home appliances and tools from the 1900 era. Many of the items on display were donated by families from Fennimore and the surrounding area. This is an attempt by Railroad Society members to better appreciate how our relatives lived in that time period.
Similar in general appearance and size to the original narrow gauge Dinky, a 1907 Davenport 2-6-0 locomotive was obtained through the efforts of the members of the Fennimore Railroad Historical Society. The Dinky* and tender now reside on the museum grounds. Visit this delightful railroad museum and talk with friendly folks who will help bring this charming part of history alive. Take a look at selected photos of the Dinky and narrow gauge railroading.
- Ticket booth replete with telegraph paraphernalia, ticket window and potbellied stove
- Telegraph switchboard
- Blacksmith Shop
- Pictures tracing the history of the narrow gauge railroad
- Miniature 15″ gauge 4-4-0 steam locomotive where you can watch moving parts
- 2 sets of G model trains with replica buildings featuring Fennimore in the early 1900’s
- Gift case offering souvenirs
The Wilkinson Collection
Miniature Train Rides on an operational 15″ gauge rail with 700 feet of track sits south of the railroad museum. Scale buildings complete the miniature layout. Rides are available ($1.00 for a train ride) on the 15″ miniature train system on weekends and scheduled holidays. (Please call before traveling a long distance.)
This miniature train layout was purchased from the late Vern Wilkinson who spent most of the spare time of his adult life creating the layout. It was Vern’s greatest hope to share this system with the public.
The Wilkinson Railroad consists of a depot, engine barn, water tower, gondola, 2 hopper cars, coach, two engines and a caboose. The engines, a diesel locomotive and a 4-4-0 steam locomotive, took up to three years each to build. The diesel locomotive pulls the outdoor train, while the 4-4-0 steam engine is on display inside the museum. It is set up on a trestle using compressed air to show how moving parts of a steam engine operate. A steam boiler is set up to show how it is constructed. Other displays include patterns used for casting the various parts for the equipment.
Wisconsin State Historical Society Historical Marker
The State Historical Society Marker recognizes the importance of narrow gauge trains in rural Wisconsin communities. Noted for its versatility in servicing the area and its economical construction and maintenance costs, the narrow gauge trains were a critical link between small communities and larger cities. Here is the complete text of the Railroad Historical Marker. (10Kb)
Fennimore Railroad Historical Society
The Fennimore Railroad Historical Society Museum is operated by extremely dedicated Historical Society members. The museum is a non-profit venture subsisting strictly on donations of money, materials and faithful volunteers. The volunteers assist in operating the museum 7 days a week during the summer season between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
The Fennimore Railroad Historical Society is looking for volunteers to help staff the museum throughout the summer months. If you are interested in greeting visitors and helping keep the museum open daily, please contact Sharon at 608822-6858 or Rob at 608-822-6872. No experience necessary, will train!!
Historical Society Officers and Directors
Click on thumbnail images for larger photos.
Photo Credits: Vicki Marish, Bob Felton, Tom Newberry
* The original Dinky locomotive is owned by the city of Pioche, Nevada, and is on display in a park there.