Siouxland Historical Railroad Association

A nonprofit organization

10 donors

Thank you for taking the time today to visit our webpage; and for allowing us to share some information with you about the Sioux City Railroad Museum and our bold vision for the future. There’s a new project I want to discuss that I believe you will find particularly intriguing.

Without our donors, last year, more than 51,000 children and their family members would not have had the opportunity to understand and appreciate what the work life was like for railroaders who lived in a different time and labored in a place like the Milwaukee Railroad Shops. This is the central purpose of why we are teaching industrial railroad history; as it provides today’s generation and future generations with a clear perspective about their own time and work places.

Visiting the Sioux City Railroad Museum exposes our visitors to a historic place that was once the epicenter of steam locomotives and rail cars being shunted in and out for maintenance and repairs. Over 850 shopmen and women toiled in hot and cold weather to ensure the railroad had engines and cars for their trains to transport people and goods across the plains and Dakotas. On any given month, over 850 steam locomotives and thousands of rail cars would pass through the Sioux City-based Milwaukee Railroad Shops.

One of the defining work spaces in the complex was the roundhouse building. Built in 1917 as a half donut-shaped 30 stall building, the roundhouse was the servicing garage for the locomotives. Shopmen and women would wipe down the steam locomotives, lubricate the valve gear, clean the coal ash out of the fire box, and inspect the engines for wear and tear. Major repairs would include retubing the flues in the boilers, welding fireboxes, and turning the driving wheels and putting new tires on them to ensure the locomotives were road worthy.

Over its sixty-five years of service, the roundhouse building went through several transitions as it aged. Although today, being one-fifth of its original size the roundhouse building has weathered through a major fire in 1925 that destroyed 15 repair stalls (all were rebuilt); the demolition of 24 stalls in 1954 when the railroad became totally dieselized; and its misuse as a salvage junk yard warehouse. That neglect left the building in a major state of disrepair. City plans called for its razing.

In 2001, the Siouxland Historical Railroad Association launched its initiative to renovate the roundhouse building into a Rail Science & Technology Center that will eventually feature interpretive exhibits and the display of large-scale railroad locomotives and rolling stock. Over the next fifteen years, historic preservation work involved the construction of a new roof, tuck-pointing and repairing the brick masonry, and the installation of new windows.

However, there is still some historic preservation work that needs to be completed. Our plans call for the construction and installation of new doors; reconstructing the upper roof clearstory; and adding electrical systems and lighting. Our timetable calls for the work to begin in spring 1917 with completion scheduled for late fall 2017. This work will allow the roundhouse to be completely renovated by the 1918 Centennial Celebration of the Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District.

Through this webpage, we are launching our $1-million Centennial Campaign for the Roundhouse; the largest comprehensive fundraising campaign in the history of our organization. 

In preparation for the Roundhouse’s centenary year, we would like to invite you to partner with us with a contribution to the $99 for 99 years Giving Celebration.

For your support, we would like to thank you with an exclusive collectible gift. When you make a gift of $99 to help preserve the roundhouse building, we will send you a section of rail that is preserved from the original tracks laid in the Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District.

We’ve cut 1,000 limited edition slices of the original rail that once line the historic site’s rail yard. These sections of rail were cut from rail forged by the Illinois Steel Company with a date stamp of 1903. Each rail segment features the logo of the Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District and comes with a Card of Authenticity.

Organization Data


Organization name

Siouxland Historical Railroad Association

Tax id (EIN)



Children & Family


PO BOX 1355


(712) 233-6996