The legend of this wreck is interesting. My father moved here as a 10yo in 1942. He was facinated with railroads his entire life, esspecialy with the Milwaukee Road, which is the railroad that once occupied the south bank of Rock lake. Prior to his passing a few years back if one were to have gone into any of the model railroad shops in town and started asking for someone who would ba a good historian to have spoken to about the Milwaukee you would likely have been directed to him as much as to anyone. As with historians in any field, there are the real go-to guys, and he was considered by his peers to have been one of them.
He had heard of this wreck, but was never able to find any written or photographic evidence of it, nor any direct witness to it. The collection of Milwaukee records (most taken from railroad facilities prior to their demolition, when the records would have been lost) that he and a few others here possessed would have likely shown it in the form of non or late arrivals, wreck train dispatches, etc. He was able to find the train, with arrival time, engineer's name, locomotive number, etc, of the train he and his family arrived on in 1942, just to give an example. He was never able to determine when this wreck occured. Some minor drailments, but not this big wreck.
Now it is entierly possible that it happened prior to any of the dispatch/arrival records he and his friends ever accumulated, which admittedly are not 100% complete. But given that model-T production ended in 1927, and the railroad only had built through there in 1912, that leaves a farily narrow window for it to have occured in. Certainly by the late 70's or early 80's the list of anyone who could have seen it first hand had to have gone from few to begin with, to extremely few, so it is little wonder he never spoke to any railroad men who were there.
Given his lack of evidence after decades of deliberate looking, and the underwater survey done of the entire south bank from surface to bottom by a team who were later able to find the bodies of two drowned children 328' down, that completely failed to find anything larger than a piece of a brake assembly, I have to doubt that it ever actualy occured. The railroad would have been unable to recover the wreckage if it were more than a short distance underwater. Given the steep angle of the underwater bank, which would have been condusive to everything heading down deep, and the depth of the lake, it would have made recovery nearly impossible. If the wreckage were not recovered then it would still be there. This survey team, which deliberately looked for this wreckage, would have found it, and yet found next to nothing.
This is not to negate the memory of the gentleman you spoke to, but unless he were very old, it is likely something he heard from someone else who also heard it from someone else, etc. Can we say with 100% certainty that it never occured, no, but the hard evidence suggests that this myth is busted.
Profanity is the crutch of the illiterate mind.
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Just remember......Theres no need to fear....Unnnderdog is here!!! Well, scrappy anyway.....