As you may have read before, my Great Granduncle Louis F. Slaker worked for the “Omaha” railroad. The Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Omaha Railway was later part of the Chicago and North Western Railway system. In his position as a Superintendent, one of his tasks was naming a railroad station in Mendota (Dakota County), Minnesota. He named it Cliff Station, though it was simply known as the Mendota station to many. If you stand in the town of Mendota, you look up a big cliff to the rest of Mendota. Turn around and a bit further there is a cliff towering over the Minnesota River. I am only assuming these cliffs were in his mind.
This is where ancestral families converge — in a way. My late mother-in-law and her siblings were raised at the top of the cliff in Mendota. I can picture them or their parents and other Rowan and Fee relatives boarding the train at this station. Little did she know that the station where she and others waited for the train was named by a relative of three of her future grandchildren.
This entry is from Minnesota Place Names: A Geographical Encyclopedia. 3rd Revised & Enlarged Edition. Saint Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press 2001. Much has been added to Warren Upham’s original excellent compilation that was published in 1920, Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and Historic Significance.
© 2018, Paula Stuart-Warren. All rights reserved.