Locomotive "Minnetonka." The 0-4-0, wood-burning, Saddle Tanker "Minnetonka" was the first locomotive to see service for the Northern Pacific Railway. Weighing a scant 12 tons, this little engine was built by Smith and Porter of Pittsburgh in 1870. She was first put to work on the Northern Pacific transcontinental railway construction at Carlton, MN, twenty miles west of Duluth, pulling car loads of ties and rail behind track construction gangs. Once the railroad was finished, Minnetonka was transferred by rail and boat for construction work between Kalama and Tacoma, Washington.
The Minnetonka remained on the western end of the Northern Pacific until she was sold in 1886 to a logging company. It was the logging company which added the small tender you see behind her, which carries only the fuel supply. In 1895, she was resold to the Polson Logging Company of Hoquiam, Washington, and became known as “Old Betsy.” She was finally retired and abandoned in 1928. Years later, Northern Pacific went looking for their old #1 and discovered her in the woods near Hoquiam, WA. She was sent back to St. Paul for restoration and was later exhibited at both the Chicago and New York Worlds Fairs in the 1930s. She was also under steam at the 1948 Chicago railroad fair. In 1970, the ownership of the engine was transferred from Northern Pacific to Burlington Northern when NP merged with that line, and in the mid-1990s, she became property of the BNSF after the Santa Fe merger. She is currently on a long-term, custodial loan to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, where you can see her today.