old61 Historic U.S. 61: Rail Crossing Between Barnum and Mahtowa

Rail Crossing Between Barnum and Mahtowa

Located In: Mahtowa Township, Carlton County.

Bypassed: 1951

Length: 1.30 miles (total, none drivable, 0.25 miles of potential surviving pavement).

Also Marked As:

Until 1934

Remains of two pieces of the original paved highway between the Twin Cities and Duluth survive on either end of the County Road 61 bridge over the Willard Munger Trail (a former rail grade) in central Carlton County near Mahtowa.


The rail overpass was originally built in 1925 as part of the grading of the first modern trunk highway between Barnum and Carlton. The road was paved with 18 feet of concrete in 1926.

Bypass History

The original concrete highway was not replaced until the 1951 modernization of U.S. 61 between Barnum and Carlton. The 1951 project retained the old bridge over the railroad tracks, but lessened the severity of the curve on either end, leaving two pieces of the old road behind (the bridge over the tracks wasn't replaced until 1995!).

Current Status

Sadly, both sections are no longer public roads and are mostly overgrown. They are visible as clearings in the trees from County Road 61 if you know where to look. More is visible from the Munger Trail. Sections of original concrete pavement appear to be intact on the northern segment.

Photos - taken in November, 2009

Looking south on County Road 61 towards the clearing that marks the path of the south segment (indicated by the arrow).

A culvert under the grade of the south segment of the old highway, visible from the Willard Munger trail (photo looking east).

View Larger Map
The clearing marking the north segment, looking north from County Road 61.

Back to >> U.S. 61: Articles