- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 23, 2014

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City complex that was once home to a repair and maintenance terminal for steam locomotives will be the site of an archaeological dig next month.

The Siouxland Historical Railroad Association hopes the dig will boost efforts to have the complex placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Sioux City Journal (http://bit.ly/1rARiI8 ) reported. The museum’s steam engine, nicknamed Iron Horse, is already is on the national register.

The complex built in 1917 was a repair and maintenance terminal for steam locomotives, passenger cars and cabooses on the Milwaukee Railroad. Now known as the Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District, it is home to a rail museum that brought in about 47,000 visitors last year.

Larry Obermeyer, president of the nonprofit association, said the complex is one of only about seven in the country left in such good condition. He said a place on the registry would bring opportunities for grant funding and also help preserve the history of the site.

Cindy Peterson, a researcher from the Office of the State Archaeologist at the University of Iowa, said she expects the dig might find items such as ancient bolts, buried coal cinders and broken tools.

She was there Tuesday to survey an area before new public restrooms are constructed.

“I hope we’ll find traces of all the buildings that were once standing here that we can no longer see above the ground,” Peterson said.

The district received about $315,000 in grant funding from the Vision Iowa Community Attraction and Tourism Program last year for the project, which includes a parking lot and trail.

A bigger team will arrive early next month to expand the dig where the trail will be built. The dig should be done by late August or early September.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com