Skally Line



The Skally Line steams its way around the curves and bends of early American music:  Stringband blues, Appalachian ballads, fiddle tunes, early country and bluegrass, and Tin Pan Alley music. Along the way, the duo will tell forgotten stories about old Minnesota, play original music rooted in that history, and have a rip-roaring good time.

Skally Line’s main line-up, Fred Keller (mandolins) and Bill Cagley (guitar, banjo, and limberjack), are dedicated to creating an experience through old-time music and song with a focus on Minnesota history and story.

The Skally Line was a passenger rail started by the St. Paul and Duluth Railroad. While the ownership changed over the years, the line ran from 1877 to 1967 connecting the Twin Cities with Duluth for nearly 100 years.

But the Skally Line connected older roads. It paralleled the Government Road, a corduroy road finished in 1861 from Point Douglas to Superior. That road followed still older trails up the St. Croix River used by Dakota, Ojibwe, and older peoples going back thousands of years.

There are a number of stories about how it got its name but the one that sticks with me is that Swedish people, looking to travel north to meet relatives, would go to the ticket booth and say “Jag skulle ga till Duluth”: I would go to Duluth.

Over the years it connected Minnesota’s mines and woods with its farmlands, it connected the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River, and it brought widely scattered towns and people a little closer together. Isolated communities suddenly had access to goods, services, and ideas from all over and city folks from far and wide learned the enchantment of the lakes, rivers, and wilderness. People stayed in touch with distant friends and family for the price of a ticket.

Monday, April 3
6:30 p.m. Jackson County Library
Tuesday, April 4
2:00 p.m. Lakefield Library
5:30 p.m. Heron Lake Library
Wednesday, April 5
10:00 a.m. Lamberton Public Library
4:00 p.m. Wabasso Public Library
Thursday, April 6
12:00 p.m. Redwood Falls Public Library
7:00 p.m. Morgan Public Library
Monday, April 10
2:00 p.m. Fulda Memorial Library
6:30 p.m. Slayton Public Library
Tuesday, April 11
2:00 p.m. Siverson Public Library-Hendricks
7:00 p.m. Meinders Community Library-Pipestone
Wednesday, April 12
3:00 p.m. Rock County Library-Luverne
6:30 p.m. Tracy Public Library
Thursday, April 13
10:00 a.m. Lake Benton PublicLibrary
2:00 p.m. Ivanhoe Public Library
6:00 p.m. Tyler Public Library
Friday, April 14
1:30 p.m. Nobles County Library-Worthington
3:30 p.m. Edgerton Public Library

This program is made possible through the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund