McHugh: Part One

McHugh: Part One

This is a closed section of Old Highway 10 near Detroit Lakes.  It was bypassed and abandoned when Highway 10 was widened and improved.

Terry and I made a trip to the “Lost Highway’ in May of 2011.  The buds were just barely showing on the trees after a cold spring.  Within moments of our arrival, the owner showed up, graciously gave us permission to photograph the property, and clued us in to the history of the place.

This section of old highway 10 is one of the last remnants of a railroad stop known as McHugh, Minnesota.  He also told us one of the final standing structures from the town that was once McHugh collapsed in the winter of 2010 under heavy snow.

McHugh, Minnesota

A vacant home stares down the railroad tracks from a ridge overlooking McHugh.

McHugh, Minnesota

McHugh, Minnesota

I had explored this part of the Lost Highway before, in the fall of 2010.  You can see the pictures from that visit here.  However I was unaware there was another section of Old Highway 10 yet to be photographed.  See it in part two.

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

17 thoughts on “McHugh: Part One

  1. My great grandparents lived in McHugh. It’s interesting to see how it’s going back to the wilderness I heard in my youth.

    1. Dan, who were your great grandparents? I grew up in the McHugh area and have researched its history. Maybe we could share information. Thanks.

      1. My grandparents moved to McHugh in 1936. They were Roland and Greta Lovelace. Do you have any information on the residents of the area or any businesses? They only lived there for a few years and then moved to Cotton Lake. I appreciate any help you can give me.

        1. In the late 1800s and early 1900s McHugh had a post office, train depot, hotel, school, general
          store, brick yard, and bicycle factory. I have many names of families which are in a history I’m
          putting together…I’ll let you know when it’s done. Do you know where exactly your
          grandparents lived, or who they bought land from or sold to? What was your grandfather’s
          occupation? Thanks.

          1. Gary, I would love to see the history you have uncovered. Will you be sharing it in a blog post or book? A bicycle factory? Any idea of the brand name of the company?

          2. Corey, to answer your question, the history will be in book form. I’ll post on here when it’s finished. The bicycle business, which was short-lived, was called the Harper Bicycle Company. As far as I can tell, they made both bicycles and unicycles. The owner Lewis Harper invented the Harper Unicycle, in which he broke a world speed record. Then he had a severe accident while riding one, which is probably what brought about the end of his business.

  2. Can you possibly show the highway on map? I would like to find it on google Earth but I have no idea where to look.

    1. I can see an old section of hwy 10 on the south east side of the lake. As you are driving south on hwy 10 look for McHugh Rd. Old Hwy 10 is a short distance down the road on the left.

  3. The reason the highway was abandoned was back in the 70’s Highway 10 was widened and made a 4 lane road. In most places they used the existing roadbed for one side and built a new one adjacent to the existing one. there were places however where the existing 1920’s era road bed had to be abandoned in order to facilitate the higher road speeds that the 1920’s road wasn’t able to handle. The new 1970’s era Highway 10 was designed to handle 65-70 m.p.h road speeds. However there were some areas that they felt were either too close to the rail road bed, or too sharp of curves, or no where to build the new adjacent road bed so they moved the whole thing over. To my knowledge the entire highway 10 project in Minnesota was finally completed (with the exception of Wadena) in the 1990’s with the completion of a the stretch between Wadena and Verndale.

  4. I drove on that abandoned stretch of road in the late 80’s. It didn’t go anywhere, just a dead end. I don’t think you can drive on it now. I had no idea that there had been a town site there at one time. I remember a few old buildings nearby.

  5. That vacant house wasn’t always a house. It was a train depot at one time. I’ve been searching for information on it, but haven’t been able to locate anything. Somebody thought it was the old Johnson Depot in McHugh. Do you have any information on it?

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