Steam locomotive used to power Minnesota's first passenger line for the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. Named in honor of William Crooks, the St. Paul and Pacific's chief engineer. Though the original William Crooks was nearly destroyed by fire in 1868, a rebuilt version went on to provide personal service for James J. Hill and appear at events publicizing Hill's Great Northern Railway.
The St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, or St. P & P, was one of Minnesota’s first major railroads. It was created in 1862 from the remnants of another bankrupt line and strengthened by valuable land grants. It survived financial hardships to become a cornerstone of the Great Northern Railway system, a legendary transcontinental route and an integral part of Minnesota railroad history.