Welcome to Lake States’ On-Line Photo Archive. Most of the collections are subdivided by railroads and/or subject matter. Our goal is to make these collections available to researchers for the benefit of documenting and sharing railroad history. Prints or downloads may be purchased and publication permission granted, following the policies shown below. All proceeds go directly to supporting LSRHA’s archives. We certainly hope you will find our On-Line Archive of great value and thank you for your support of LSRHA!

PLEASE NOTE: Our web host’s printing service forces a crop to full bleed of the paper size you select when ordering prints. Image formats with a wide aspect ratio (e.g. 116, postcard) will require cropping off the ends of the image. Unfortunately we cannot change this but suggest as an option to order a larger 8×12 print to minimize the crop or order a smaller 4×8 print and crop out the top and/or bottom (which often is a benign sky or foreground). When placing your order, you can select the area to print (see below) by moving the Printing Area Mask. Also, the printing service is not able to print metadata on the photographic prints. We strongly recommend that if you wish to retain this information, you copy it yourself when you receive your order. The same is true for digital downloads. A monogram will be located in the lower right-hand corner of all prints and downloads. Lastly, our Use Policy outlined below supersedes in entirety the Personal Photo License language on the host’s site.


Each photo scan has a filename that contains specific information regarding that image. We also embed many photos with additional keywords identifying objects seen in the photos.

An example of the filename “2009.026.01.13142–ritzman 5×7 neg [Casey Jones]–C&NW–steam 4-8-4 H-1 3008 on freight train action–DeKalb IL–1942 0102” and how to interpret its metadata:


Metadata keyword searches may be done within individual collections or globally across the entire site. This is controlled by the page from which you conduct the search. The search bar is located at the upper righthand corner of the page. Examples:

  • To search globally across all collections, perform the search from the main archive page
  • To search only within a specific collection, start at that collection’s home page
  • To search only within a gallery, start at that gallery.

See individual collection descriptions for details on the scope of metadata for the individual collections. Examples of keywords would be railroad initials (e.g. C&NW, CMStP&P) or subject matter (e.g. depot, roundhouse, coal chute, water tank, wigwag, signal, boxcar, steam, action, passenger). For an index of keywords used, click here. Searches may even be made for specific dates (years), locations (city or state), and film formats–any word that is contained in the image filename. Metadata keyword searches can be refined by adding more than one keyword. For example, to search for every water tank on the C&NW in Wisconsin, you would enter “C&NW water tank WI” in the search bar.


The main home page showing all collections is HERE. Or you may enter specific collections by clicking on the banners below. A list of the latest image uploads is maintained HERE.

The Ritzman collection comprises about 6,700 B&W negatives (116, postcard, 4×5, and 5×7 sizes) of the C&NW and Milwaukee Road (plus a small number of other roads) in the upper Midwest, spanning from the 1920s to 1972. Floyd Ritzman (1885-1975) lived in DeKalb, Illinois and focused his attention on structures and right-of-way scenes, but also photographed equipment and train operations in the steam and diesel eras. This collection has a robust metadata database that includes railroad, location, subject matter, and date. Ritzman kept a detailed diary which was used to add additional information to many images. Status: complete.

Wauwatosa-native Edward P. Wilkommen (1930-2017) had a lifelong interest in railroads throughout the U.S. and was very active in the railfan world, serving as a director of the Wisconsin Association of Railroad Passengers, president of the Milwaukee Road Historical Association, and long active in NRHS in Iowa and Wisconsin. He photographed a wide variety of subjects: steam and diesel locomotives, interurbans and streetcars, railfan trips, and 1960s-era freight cars. His favorite railroad was the Milwaukee Road. His B&W collection is mostly 616 format, but also contains some 6×9 and 120 format negatives from later years. He also traded negatives extensively, and these are included in the collection, identified by photographer [in brackets] where possible. B&W metadata is somewhat robust, with additional information about trains included where possible. Status: complete.

Ed Wilkommen’s color photography follows his B&W work, covering the same and similar subjects through the years. He shot almost exclusively on 120 medium format film with a mix of Ektachrome, Kodachrome, and Anscochrome. Early transparencies (pre-1960s) suffer from varying color shift. We have attempted to color-correct scans on the more severe cases. Metadata is minimal beyond date and subject, where it was available. Status: Scanning and processing ongoing.

Bruce Meyer (1935-2006) was a prolific Chicago-area photographer from the twilight of steam (mid-1950s) until the early 2000s. Steam locomotives were his main subject, but he also shot Amtrak and diesel trains and locomotives. His best known work was in the B&W 120 format (2-1/4″ square). He began shooting in 1954, concentrating on steam locomotives and trains, often meticulously recording details close-up to aid his drafting and modeling activities. Bruce also purchased others’ negatives (all 116/616 and PC format) to supplement his own locomotive roster photo documentation. As such, any negatives larger than 120 may be assumed to be others’ work. Negatives are arranged by railroad and subdivided by subject matter where quantity dictates. Mr. Meyer’s negative numbering system has been retained, so images are sorted generally by age from older to newer. Metadata is well documented and includes location, dates, and train information where applicable. This is a large collection. Our digitization will concentrate on the pre-1980 era. Status: Scanning and processing ongoing.

Bruce Meyer (1935-2006) was a prolific Chicago-area photographer from the twilight of steam (mid-1950s) until the early 2000s. He supplemented his B&W work with 35mm color slides numbering over 10,000 and spanning a wide variety of subjects and geographical locations. Bruce traveled extensively in search for steam, and also had his camera with him while working in the field for EMD, observing testing of new diesel locomotives and technology. Images are sorted by railroad. Metadata is minimal and will contain railroad, location, and date, if known. Color correction has been completed on images with moderate to severe color shift (e.g. early Ektachrome), although the majority of the slides are Kodachrome. Digital ICE (Ektachrome only) and some manual dust/scratch digital cleaning have been applied. We have begun chronologically at the beginning of this collection and will concentrate on material dating before 1980. Status: Scanning and processing ongoing.

William S. Kuba (1938-2012) was a lifelong resident of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He began photographing the railroad scene in his hometown around 1950, initially capturing everyday scenes downtown at the depot, and engines switching in the nearby Quaker Oats yard. He even rode the local C&NW passenger train, hopping off at towns along the way to record life along the railroad. His attention soon turned to locomotives and the trains they pulled, embarking on a quest to collect negatives of most every steam and diesel locomotive that was rostered on hundreds of railroads. The result was over 44,000 B&W negatives ranging from the 1920s to 2010. The vast majority are 116 and smaller. Bill traded or purchased negatives extensively to fill in gaps in his roster, but most of these are not labeled as such. There is a small group of images of structures and he purchased postcard-size action negatives taken in the 1930s by Joseph Sleger. We will work to complete entire railroads before 1980 at a time, but most larger roads will be curated for the subjects of most interest. His early scenes and Sleger’s action photography are featured in separate galleries. Status: Scanning and processing ongoing.

Francis Cole (1895-1957) was a traveling businessman based in the Chicago area. He started photography in the early 1900s and mostly concentrated on the C&NW and Milwaukee Road in Illinois and Wisconsin. For a time, he was a close friend of A.W. Johnson, accompanying him on forays to record freshly-shopped C&NW steam locomotives on breaking-in runs on the mainline west of downtown Chicago. Initially he used a smaller format camera creating images of lesser quality, but the subject matter is of great interest. He paused his photography during the Great Depression through WWII but returned in the late 1940s with a better camera to document the last days of steam, particularly on the C&NW. His widow passed his collection on to Clint Jones who in turn has donated it to Lake States. here are a small number of trader negatives by other photographers. Every view is well identified by location and date. Status: complete.

James A. Neubauer (1933-2013) was a life-long Chicago resident with a passion for passenger trains and steam locomotives. His photography reflects this passion. Jim started shooting at an early age of 16 when he visited the Chicago Railroad Fair. Armed with a 120-format camera, he documented the parade of C&NW (his favorite road) steam commuter trains passing near his house on the city’s near west side. Soon he switched to a Kodak Pony (828) and then 35mm, documenting passenger operations in the Chicago area and traveling with fellow enthusiasts. His focus was and remained passenger operations and he followed steam wherever he could find it. Jim hired on with the Rock Island in the 1950s, working in the public relations department. He finished out his railroad career with the C&NW as a clerk in Chicago. In the 1960s he rode many passenger trains to experience and document the twilight of the pre-Amtrak era. Jim’s collection received at Lake States consists mostly of 35mm color slides, plus about 400 black & white negatives from his early era. Most of Jim’s photos are organized by railroad, chronologically. He switched exclusively to color by 1955. We have digitized about 60% of Jim’s collection that was received at Lake States. His Mid-Continent, later steam museum/excursion, and post-1980 photography will not be scanned at this time but may be viewed in person by appointment. Status: complete.

Lee Allen Hastman (1946-2011) was a well-known Chicago-area based enthusiast, historian, and photographer. He worked for the Illinois Central Railroad in train service before becoming a load supervisor and dispatcher for many years, eventually retiring from Metra. His own photography residing at Lake States centered mostly on the Chicago-area, shooting 4×5 and 120 format, but also includes some color 35mm photography of a few specific subjects. Lee actively collected negatives and slides of other railroads from other photographers, which comprises the bulk of this collection. There is also a small group of cabinet card prints covering right-of-way improvements along the Panhandle line near Brighton Park, Illinois from 1903, and also a selection of B&W prints of Illinois Central steam locomotives featuring many rare older images. Metadata is basic, identifying location and date when known. This is a large collection that will take time to complete. Status: ongoing.

Raconteur and entrepreneur Clint Jones was born and raised in the Milwaukee area. His interest in railroading began with trips to via the C&NW and Milwaukee Road to the Upper Peninsula to visit relatives in his teen years. Thus began his long and storied railroad career which continues to this day. After a brief stint studying business at Michigan Technological University, he hired out as a diesel locomotive mechanic for the Milwaukee Road at their Milwaukee shops. But his passion and pluck led him to form his own company Trans Northern, Inc. to operate a steam passenger tourist railroad in Michigan and act as a dealer of vintage railroad equipment. Clint later worked for the C&NW in train service and also served as a trainmaster for Wisconsin Central Railway from 1987 to 1997, supervising train operations and train crews from Marquette, Michigan. He currently owns Mineral Range, Inc., a railway equipment, industry switching, and transportation consulting firm. Over the years, Clint has assembled a personal collection of photographs (many taken by himself) and paper documents, mostly focused upon railroads of the Michigan Upper Peninsula. This collection will significantly grow in the near future. Status: ongoing.

Philip A. Weibler is a well-known photographer and collector based in West Chicago, Illinois. His railroad career began in 1956 in a roundhouse full of steam locomotives on the Norfolk & Western. Upon graduation from college in 1960 he went to work for the Rock Island and by 1964 was in the Assistant Mechanical Engineer’s office at Silvis, Illinois. In 1972 he moved over to the C&NW and was qualified as a locomotive engineer in 1975, retiring in 1999. The collection of photographs here were donated by Phil and are grouped by subject matter. Status: complete.

Madison-native Gilford Heath’s railroad photographs number about 1,000 B&W and color negatives. They center mostly on C&NW, ICRR, Milwaukee Road, and even some museum and Circus Train views, taken in the 1960s and 1970s in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. He photographed trains, but concentrated on locomotive roster shots and depots. Heath was primarily a camera enthusiast, using a variety of film formats in the medium format, including 120, 620, and 116 (616). We have attempted to cull duplicate views (he often shot multiple images while testing his cameras), keeping the highest quality images. Color scans were color-corrected as best as possible, but as these were made on negative film, their color shift varies and was, in some cases, severe. Images are organized first by railroad, then by subject matter. Metadata is minimal and will contain railroad, location, and date. Status: complete.

This potpourri of photographs is from smaller collections and organized by photo formats and subject matter as appropriate. See the gallery for details. Status: ongoing.

In the early 1970s, the Illinois Central corporate headquarters moved from its long-time location at 12th Street in downtown Chicago. Corporate photographic records deemed surplus were offered to employees. Over the years, Lee Hastman accumulated additional prints from fellow employees to supplement his own inventory which today exists as this collection. Most images for which we possess glass plate or sheet film negatives are not included here as they appear in the Glass Plate and Sheet Film galleries. Prints of right-of-way and construction are organized to illustrate the ICRR by geographical location starting at South Water Street in Chicago. There are additional subjects such as scenes, structures, trains, and equipment. Metadata is minimal, determined from identification on the original images and visual inspection. Status: complete.

Philip A. Weibler was working for the Rock Island’s Mechanical Engineering Department at Silvis, Illinois in the mid-1960s when management decided to move the department to Kansas City. Phil was in position to save files that were deemed obsolete and discarded by the Rock Island. These included drawings, photographs, correspondence, and equipment files, which he hauled home in his Chevy Nomad station wagon. Over the years, the files moved with him and his family as he eventually ended up in West Chicago working for the C&NW. Phil has chosen Lake States as the new home for these valuable remnants of the Rock. We have scanned the photographic portion of this collection (B&W 8×10 prints, a few are larger), which contains mostly builders photos from various suppliers, but also some in-house documentation of the department’s work over the years. As these prints are original survivors from the era when they were created, many wear a coat of steam-era office environment coal dust and soot as a badge of honor. Some of the images may show additional deterioration from their age. Status: ongoing. Anticipated complete by April 2021.

James Everett “Buster” Brown (1882-1949) was a Rock Island draftsman and shop foreman at their Silvis, Illinois shops for many years. From 1914 to about 1922, he documented work performed at the shops on 5×7 glass plate negatives. Silvis was a huge facility performing major steam locomotive and car rebuilding for many years. His work documents the scale of operations, employees, the tools they used, and environment they worked in. Phil Weibler saved these priceless images from destruction in the mid-1960s when the Rock Island discarded them. In later years, more of Brown’s glass plates surfaced. All were reunited back together and donated to Lake States by Phil. Each image was reviewed by Gary Bensman to add metadata describing equipment and procedures illustrated. Status: complete.

This collection comprises company photographs of the Illinois Central Railroad dating from 1894 to the mid-1920s in the glass plate format. The early plates (pre-1895) are 6.5″ x 8.5″. The remainder are 8″ x 10″. Metadata is minimal and contains a brief description of the subject, and the date if it was engraved on the negative. We welcome additional information on images. Contact us at our email address. These plates were saved and preserved by Chicago-area rail historian Lee A. Hastman (1946-2011) when they were discarded by the railroad in the early 1970s. Status: complete.

This collection comprises company photographs of the Illinois Central Railroad dating from the 1890s to about WWII, made on nitrate and acetate (Kodak Safety) sheet film. Almost all are 8″ x 10″ size. There are a few older images that appear to be copies. Many of these sheet negatives have begun to chemically deteriorate. As such, image quality may vary. After scanning, the negatives were placed in freezer storage to preserve them. As with the glass plates, metadata is minimal and contains a brief description of the subject, and the date if it was marked on the negative. We welcome additional information on images. Contact us at our email address. Lee A. Hastman (1946-2011) was a Chicago-area rail enthusiast who acquired these negatives when the railroad disposed of them in the early 1970s. Status: complete.

This small collection of builders photos from 100+ years ago were donated by Glenn Guerra. The Ohio Falls Car Manufacturing Company was located in Jeffersonville, Indiana starting in 1895. In the 1910s, they merged into American Car & Foundry. The Jeffersonville plant closed in 1930. Earlier prints in this collection are mounted on cabinet cards. Subject matter ranges from wooden freight and electric railroad cars to steel passenger cars (exteriors and interiors), various parts, and a few shop scenes. Status: complete.


LSRHA makes these images available with the understanding that they are solely for personal private research purposes. Use in print publications, film, any internet websites or blogs, or video requires prior written permission. Download Permission Form HERE. Additional fees apply, see below. LSRHA makes no warranty of Copyright ownership. Determination of copyright is the responsibility of the user. Any other copying, selling, sharing, displaying, public exhibition, or any distribution via email, uploading to internet sites, or social media is prohibited. We do encourage sharing links to our Photo Archive and its individual images.


Most all of our negatives and 120-format color transparencies are scanned at 1200 or 2400 dpi, and saved as uncompressed 16-bit TIFF files. 35mm color slides are scanned at the maximum resolution possible with a Nikon Coolscan 5000 scanner yielding an image about 5300 pixels wide. Adjustment of levels (95% maximum, 4% minimum black, midtones as needed) is done in Photoshop. For color (RGB) images, those that have moderate to severe color shift are adjusted, however, color will not be perfect. It is understood that color and levels may need to be adjusted by third-party for publication. Scratches, dust specks, and blemishes on images have been manually removed as time allows. Ektachrome and other single-emulsion color 35mm slides have digital ICE applied at time of scanning to help remove dust and scratches. Our download option will provide you with a high quality un-cropped 4Mpx JPEG (image is about 3300 pixels wide) file. However there will be a small “Lake States” logo monogram in the lower right-hand corner of the image. With receipt of publication fee, Lake States grants permission to crop this logo out when using in print publications as per our policies. A TIFF file is available to qualified parties for publication use only if the full image is desired without the logo, and/or a higher resolution file is required, and/or a TIFF file format is preferred over JPEG. The digital file may be special-ordered using our prescribed form. There is an additional fee per image. Files must NOT be used for ANY purpose other the original one-time print publication by original requestor. Special request TIFF files may be transmitted by dropbox, or burned to CD, or copied to a flash drive. Allow up to 2 weeks to process your special order.


Prints ordered on-line: NOTE: We are now offering a 5% discount for photo orders $100 to $199 (code: 5discount2021) and 10% for $200 and up (code: 10discount2021). Offer expires September 1, 2021:

  • 4×8: $9.25
  • 5×7: $8.75
  • 8×10: $10.00
  • 8×12: $11.50
  • 8.5 x 11: $12.00

Downloads: NOTE: We are now offering a 5% discount for photo orders $100 to $199 (code: 5discount2021) and 10% for $200 and up (code: 10discount2021). Offer expires September 1, 2021:

  • 1 Mpix: $6.00
  • 4 Mpix: $10.00

TIFF PRE-PRESS SCANS (Special Orders for Qualified Parties Only)

$15 surcharge per image (in addition to download fee), plus $10 per order for media (CD or flash drive) and shipping (no media/shipping charge for orders if transmitted electronically)

PUBLICATION FEES (One-Time Use Only, in addition to Download Fee)

  • Film and Video: $200 for first image, $50 per image after
  • Print (books and magazines, circulation <2500): $10 per image
  • Print (books and magazines, circulation >2500): $25 per image
  • Print (brochures, pamphlets): $15 per image
  • Non-Profit Print (501(c)(3), by organization representative only): $5 per image
  • Advertising (any media): $50 per image
  • Large quantity discounts available, please inquire.

revised 4/26/21