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Idaho Railroad News Photos

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Idaho Railroad News Photos

April 2005

Big Mike Moving Fund

The Boise Depot Party on April 16 and 17, 2005 was also the kick off for the Big Mike moving fund to raise monies from the public to match the city provided funds ($13,500) and augment the federal grants ($309,000) to move Big Mike to the area near the Boise Depot. Big Mike is Union Pacific Mikado Mk-9 class (2-8-2 wheel arrangement) #2295 currently on display in Julia Davis Park near the entrance to Zoo Boise.

I have been trying to get involved with Big Mike since June of 2004 mainly to help with the maintenance for the Idaho Historical Museum. I contacted them and was put in touch with Norm Adrian of Boise who was overseeing maintenance. I called him and after chewing me out for calling at the late hour of 8:30 PM he said 'I'm to old to do this anymore, talk to Ken at the Museum'. I called the Museum for several months after that and was never able to get a hold of Ken until after the Depot party previously mentioned. I was informed that Norm was deceased and Big Mike is in process of going to Parks and Recreation with no more maintenance is planned before the proposed 2007 move.

Though the details are in the newspaper article and press release below, Mike has been in Boise since 1959 when it was decommissioned and put on display. He came in over the Boise River railroad bridge and was moved on portable pieces of track to his location in the park. The railroad tracks ran to within a couple hundred yards of his final resting place so it wasn't too far to go. He was put away in good shape and is possibly restorable without replacing the boiler.

In talking to Boise Park and Rec. folks the last few days they are considering all options for moving him, at this point they are doing a study of the capacity of the two possible bridges (Broadway and Capitol) using a 36 wheel hauler. Another real possibility (according to Parks and Rec.) is the use of an industrial dirigible!

Imagine the sight of this thing flying a locomotive over Boise! Just might make national news!

My suggestion was to move it back over the old railroad bridge, it's paved and accessible, just need to redo the ramps up to the bridge and the area where the grade was cut into by the new connector. This too would be quite a sight but might involve moving a house or two!

What follows here is directly from the Idaho Statesman and Boise Parks and Recreation.

From the Idaho Statesman 4/15/05

About the steam locomotive called Big Mike

A chain-link fence wraps around the old steam locomotive Big Mike, which sits near the northeast corner of Julia Davis Park in downtown Boise. The black and gray engine once moved between Pocatello and Boise, according to Phil Ulmen, one of the event organizers.

Big Mike was one of the Union Pacific Railroad's smaller freight engines and is considered a Mikado-class locomotive because the first of its type was built for export to Japan, according to a sign attached to the fence in Julia Davis Park. When the railroad industry shifted to diesel trains, Big Mike &emdash; built in 1920 by the American Locomotive Co. &emdash; was donated to the city of Boise in 1959 and stationed in the park. For a period of time, Ulmen says, a plywood box covered the steam engine because of fear that it released asbestos into the air.

The Federal Highway Administration awarded the city of Boise a $336,000 [actually it is $309,000 -ed.] grant to move Big Mike from Julia Davis Park over to the Boise Depot, said Amy Stahl, Boise Parks and Recreation spokeswoman.

As part of the grant, the city will pay $13,500 and will need to raise a matching $13,500 in donations [for a TOTAL of $336,000 -ed.]. Big Mike is scheduled to be moved in 2007. It's supposed to get a shelter and explanatory signs.

City of Boise - Parks & Recreation - News Releases

News - 4/25/05 


The 80th anniversary Boise Depot celebration April 16-17 generated $3,710 in funds from direct contributions and souvenir sales to move the Big Mike locomotive out of Julia Davis Park.

 The event featured model railroad displays, vintage automobiles, free tour train rides, story time, McGruff the Crime Dog and elevator rides to the bell tours. Boise Mayor David Bieter and several City Council members joined an estimated 2,000 people per day at the event.

 The Big Mike move is targeted for 2007. The city received a federal Transportation Enhancement Act grant of $309,000 for the project. The city has committed $13,500 to this project and is asking for matching funds from the community. Total cost is $336,000, which will cover the relocation of Big Mike, construction of an open-air covered shelter, interpretive signs and other features.

 A former Union Pacific train depot, the Boise Depot is a Spanish-style building located at 2603 Eastover Terrace on the Bench overlooking Capitol Boulevard. Owned by the City of Boise, the historic building is operated by the Boise Parks & Recreation Department.

 To contribute to the Big Mike Heritage Fund, send donations to Boise Parks & Recreation, 1104 Royal Blvd, Boise ID 83706 or contact Ginger Jewell or (208) 384-4060 ext. 321.




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