Homepage of "Mr. Lincoln, Route 66, & Other
Highlights of Lincoln, IL"
A Long-Range Plan to Brand the First Lincoln
Namesake City as the Second City of Abraham Lincoln Statues
Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration in Lincoln, Illinois
Abraham Lincoln and the Historic Postville
including a William Maxwell connection to the Postville Courthouse
About Henry Ford and the Postville Courthouse,
the Story of the Postville Courthouse Replica,
Tantivy, & the Postville Park
Neighborhood in the
Route 66 Era
The Rise of Abraham Lincoln and His History and
Heritage in His First Namesake Town,
also the founding of Lincoln College, the plot to steal Lincoln's
body, and memories of Lincoln College and the Rustic Tavern-Inn
Introduction to the Social & Economic History of
including poetry by William Childress & commentary by Federal Judge
Bob Goebel & Illinois Appellate Court Judge Jim Knecht
"Social Consciousness in William Maxwell's
Writings Based on Lincoln, Illinois" (an article published in the
Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, winter 2005-06)
Peeking Behind the Wizard's Screen: William
Maxwell's Literary Art as Revealed by a Study of the Black Characters in
Billie Dyer and Other Stories
Introduction to the Railroad & Route 66 Heritage
of Lincoln, Illinois
The Living Railroad Heritage of Lincoln, Illinois:
on Track as a Symbol of the "Usable Past"
Route 66 Overview Map of Lincoln with 42 Sites,
Descriptions, & Photos
The Hensons of Business Route 66
The Wilsons of Business
Route 66, including the Wilson Grocery & Shell
Route 66 Map & Photos Showing Lincoln Memorial
(former Chautauqua site),
the Historic Cemeteries, & Nearby Sites
Route 66 Map & Photos Showing Salt Creek &
the highway bridges, GM&O bridge, Madigan State Park, the old dam (with
photos & Leigh's memoir of "shooting the rapids" over the old dam), &
the Ernie Edwards' Pig-Hip Restaurant Museum in Broadwell
The Historic Logan County Courthouse, Past &
Route 66 Map with 51 Sites in the Business &
Courthouse Square Historic District,
including locations of historical markers
(on the National Register of Historic Places)
Vintage Scenes of the Business & Courthouse Square
The Foley House: A
Monument to Civic Leadership
(on the National Register of
the Route 66 Era
Arts & Entertainment Heritage,
the Lincoln Theatre Roy Rogers' Riders Club of the
Cars, Trucks & Gas Stations of the Route 66 Era
Churches, including the hometown
churches of Author William Maxwell & Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr
Factories, Past and Present
Food Stores of
the Route 66 Era
Hospitals, Past and Present
Hotels & Restaurants of the Railroad & Route 66
Lincoln Developmental Center
(Lincoln State School & Colony in
the Route 66 era), plus
debunking the myth of
Lincoln, Illinois, choosing the Asylum over the University of Illinois
Mining Coal, Limestone, & Sand & Gravel; Lincoln Lakes; & Utilities
Museums & Parks, including the Lincoln College
Museum and its Abraham Lincoln Collection, plus the Heritage-in-Flight
News Media in the Route 66 Era
The Odd Fellows' Children's Home
Memories of the 1900 Lincoln Community High School,
including Fred Blanford's dramatic account of the lost marble
fountain of youth
A Tribute to the Historians and Advocates of
Watering Holes of the Route 66 Era
The Historic 1953 Centennial Celebration of
The Festive 2003 Sesqui-centennial Celebration of
Lincoln, Illinois, including photos of LCHS Class of 1960
dignitaries & the Blanfords
Why Did the State Police Raid Lincoln, Illinois,
on October 11, 1950?
The Gambling Raids in Lincoln and Logan County,
During the Late Route 66 Era (1950-1960)
in this section tell about Leigh Henson's Lincoln years, moving away,
revisits, and career:
About Lincoln, Illinois;
This Web Site; & Me
A Tribute to Lincolnite Edward Darold
Henson: World War II U.S. Army Veteran of the Battles for Normandy and
the Hedgerows; Brittany and Brest; and the Ardennes (Battle of the
For Remembrance, Understanding, & Fun: Lincoln
Community High School Mid-20th-Century Alums' Internet Community
(a Web site and
email exchange devoted to collaborative memoir and the sharing of photos
related to Lincoln, Illinois)
Leigh Henson's Pilgrimage to Lincoln, Illinois, on
July 12, 2001
Review of Dr. Burkhardt's William Maxwell Biography
Leigh Henson's Review of Ernie Edwards' biography,
Pig-Hips on Route 66, by William Kaszynski
Leigh Henson's Review of Jan Schumacher's
Glimpses of Lincoln, Illinois
Teach Local Authors: Considering the Literature of
Web Site About
Leigh Henson's Professional Life
in this section are about the writing, memorabilia, and Web sites of
A Tribute to Bill and Phyllis Stigall:
Exemplary Faculty of Lincoln College at Mid-Twentieth Century
A Tribute to the Krotzes of Lincoln, Illinois
A Tribute to Robert Wilson (LCHS '46): Author of
Young in Illinois, Movies Editor of December Magazine,
Friend and Colleague of December Press Publisher Curt Johnson, and
Correspondent with William Maxwell
Brad Dye (LCHS '60): His Lincoln, Illinois, Web
including photos of many churches
Dave Armbrust's Memorabilia of Lincoln, Illinois
Fikuarts of Lincoln, Illinois, including their
connections to the William Maxwell family and three generations of
family fun at Lincoln Lakes
Jerry Gibson (LCHS '60): Lincoln, Illinois,
Memoirs & Other Stories
Dave Johnson (LCHS '56): His Web Site for the
Lincoln Community High School Class of 1956
Sportswriter David Kindred: Memoir of His
Grandmother Lena & Her West Side Tavern on Sangamon Street in the Route
Judge Jim Knecht
(LCHS '62): Memoir and Short Story, "Other People's Money," Set in
Hickey's Billiards on Chicago Street in the Route 66 Era
William A. "Bill" Krueger (LCHS '52): Information
for His Books About Murders in Lincoln
Norm Schroeder (LCHS '60): Short Stories
Stan Stringer Writes About His Family, Mark
Holland, and Lincoln, Illinois
Thomas Walsh: Anecdotes Relating to This Legendary
Attorney from Lincoln by Attorney Fred Blanford & Judge Jim Knecht
Leon Zeter (LCHS '53): His Web Site for the
Lincoln Community High School Class of 1953,
including announcements of LCHS class reunions
(Post yours there.)
Highway Sign of
The Route 66
Association of Illinois
State Historical Society
The Railroads at Lincoln, Illinois
Lights of the Lincoln Theater, est. 1923, Lincoln, Illinois
The Living Railroad Heritage of Lincoln, Illinois:
on Track as a Symbol of the "Usable Past"
Most recent update (3-14): Click
this text to see links below to information about high-speed rail
development in Illinois and through Lincoln and Logan County.
Intersection of Amtrak/Union Pacific and Illinois Central Railroad Tracks;
Former Stetson China Company Water Tank in Background
(Leigh Henson photo, 7-2004)
four things from the past seen in the above photo. Then identify the one that may
provide a key resource for Lincoln's future growth and development. Answer: the Stetson China Company water tank, the concrete block wall from one of
Stetson's buildings, the utility poles (which date to the early 20th
century), and the railroad tracks of Amtrak (formerly the GM&O)/the Union
Pacific and the Illinois Central
Railroads. These enduring railroads, an example of the "usable past," may hold the key to substantial development of
Lincoln's future economy.
The GM&O, the Illinois Central
the Illinois Central Gulf (ICG), and
the Illinois Traction System (ITS) passenger and freight services were crucial to
business and industry in Lincoln. Now in 2004, according to a Courier
article by Paul Ayars (link below under Sources Cited), "because of ready
access to two railroads, a site just north of Lincoln suddenly is a serious
contender for construction of an ethanol plant by the Springfield-based
cooperative, Illini Bio Energy."
7.2: Intersection of the
Illinois Central Tracks with Amtrak/Union Pacific Tracks
Near the Former Stetson China Company Water Tank
(Leigh Henson photo, July, 2004)
The location shown in the above present-day photos
can also be seen in the historical photos 7.9 and 7.10 below. The purpose of
this page is to portray and celebrate the great railroad heritage of
Lincoln, Illinois, and to suggest that the potential of this resource truly
demonstrates that "the past is but the prelude." The information on this
page covers the following:
Summary of rail history in Lincoln, Illinois, including forthcoming
high-speed rail service,
· The crossroads of three railroads in Lincoln, Illinois,
· The streetcar (trolley) in Lincoln,
· Abraham Lincoln, the railroad, and the town he named,
· The railroad and the Abraham Lincoln legend,
· The railroad heritage of Lincoln, Illinois, in the route 66
· LCHS alums' remembrances of the railroads of Lincoln, Illinois
Some of the mail-to links and hyperlinks may be obsolete and dysfunctional.
I have no special knowledge of railroads, and a year after I first
announced this page, I began to receive email messages from railroad historians
whose technical reviews have resulted in corrections and additions to this
page. I appreciate all constructive feedback, both past and future.
Collaborators include Mr. Richard
Leonard, Ph.D., of Kirkland, IL, (he lived in Bloomington, IL, from 1954 to 1960),
Mr. Skip Gaterman of Bloomington, IL, Mr. Tim McSwiggin of Springfield, IL,
and Mr. Mike Fortney. They have contributed substantially to this site, and
I am most grateful for their help. For example, Dr. Leonard has provided
several rare photos, including the one of the crossing guard tower near the intersection of Pulaski and
Sangamon Streets and clarifications to distinguish among a
crossing guard facility, an interlocking facility, and a switching facility.
Skip Gaterman, a high school
geography and civics teacher, was formerly a freelance writer with special
interest in the history of St. Louis. He admits, "I have a passion for
trains. My mother went into labor with me on an ITS train in Edwardsville,
IL. However, I was born in a hospital much to my dismay!" Skip has
generously provided a technical edit to point out that Amtrak took over
private railroads and to correct some of my faulty railroad
Richard and Skip have created Web sites that present many images concerning
railroad history, and these Web site addresses appear in the Sources Cited
Summary of Rail History in
Three rail systems and a streetcar line fostered
growth and development in Lincoln. The most detailed history
of railroads in Logan County, and most likely the main source for subsequent
accounts, is "Chapter XX: Transportational" in Judge
Lawrence B. Stringer's History of Logan
County Illinois (1911). An excellent contemporary history of
transportation in Lincoln, Illinois, including the railroads and streetcar,
is Paul Gleason's Lincoln: A Pictorial History, pp. 20-29.
The first railroad in
Lincoln was the Chicago and Alton in
1853. The Chicago and Alton was absorbed by the GM&O in 1947. In 1972 the GM&O merged with the Illinois Central, forming the
Illinois Central Gulf (ICG), which was taken over by Amtrak in 1971. For more
detailed history of the GM&O, see Jim's Railroad Page and the Web site of
the GM&O Historical Society (Web site addresses in Sources Cited below).
From: Zimmer, Ronald [mailto:Ronald.Zimmer@jacobs.com]
Sent: Thu 9/27/2007 7:22 PM
To: Henson, D Leigh
Subject: Lincoln, Illinois
In the second paragraph on Railroads in Lincoln, IL you mention
AMTRAK taking over rail service from Illinois Central Gulf (ICG).
It would be more accurate to say that AMTRAK took over all passenger
service from ICG (and most other railroads). ICG continued to own
the line and all Right-of-Way, and provided freight service. Today
that line is own by the Union Pacific Railroad by virtue of its
acquisition of the Southern Pacific Railway. Union Pacific provides
freight service on this line and AMTRAK continues to operate
passenger service on this line. As of 2007, State of Illinois
supplemental funding supports the operation of five AMTRAK trains a
day in each direction on this line between Chicago and St. Louis.
The second railroad, the
Illinois Central (IC), was apparently descended from two other companies: the Pekin,
Lincoln, and Decatur Railroad, which was completed through Lincoln and Logan
County in 1871 (Gleason, Lincoln: A Pictorial History, p. 20). Col. Robert B. Latham, a founder of Lincoln, Illinois, was the main
proponent and president ("Illinois Central Railroad Had Influence in
Developing Lincoln from a Pioneer Settlement to Thriving City of Today,
Courier, Centennial Edition, Section Six, 8-26-53, p. 10). This Courier
article describes the adversities of the early, "short line" railroads:
The "track was laid with
iron rails weighing fifty pounds to the yard. Weeds flourished in
abundance on the ground without foundation work. Consequently, after a
heavy rain or thaw the rails would sink down nearly out of sight under the
weight of a train. Rarely were passenger or freight schedules
maintained. Profits were often non existent" (Courier,
Centennial Edition, Section
Six, 8-26-53, p. 10).
In the 1880s, several
railroad companies merged, including the Pekin, Lincoln, and Decatur line.
These several companies were acquired by the Illinois Central in the late
1880s and 1890s. One of these acquired lines was nicknamed the "pea
nut line," and it ran from Champaign to Havana through Lincoln, which thus
gained an east-west route.
The photos below, taken
in 2005, show that the ICC is part of the usable past railroad heritage of
Lincoln, Illinois. The date of bridge construction is unknown, but the
wooden tressel bridges were typically erected many decades ago.
7.3: Top of ICC Wooden Tressel
Bridge Over Deer Creek Two Miles East of Lincoln
Parallel with IL Rte. 121 and Looking West Toward Lincoln
7.4: ICC Wooden Tressel Bridge
A third railroad was the
Illinois Traction System (interurban), called the Illinois Terminal System
(ITS) after 1937 (Nancy Gehlbach, Our Times, fall
1998, pp. 2-3). Incorporated in 1895 at St. Louis and opening in
1896, the Illinois Terminal Company "was built to supply terminal facilities
to the railroads entering the Alton district, and to develop the
manufacturing interests of the Alton industrial area" ("Illinois Terminal
Railroad Serving Area Over 50 Years," Lincoln Evening Courier,
Centennial Edition, Section Five, 8-26-53, p. 10). ITS
passenger service lasted from 1907 to 1956; ITS freight service ended in
1962 (Gehlbach, pp.
2-3). The freight service locomotives were diesel, not electric (Gehlbach,
Emerging from Creek Bridge
(unknown exact location and date)
7.6: Crossing Salt
South of Lincoln @ 1900
(photo from Lincoln Evening Courier Cent.
Ed., Sec. Two, August 26, 1953, p. 4)
The photo above at right
indicates a peril of train travel, regardless of century. This photo
appears in the Lincoln Evening Courier Centennial Edition, and the
caption reads, "Precarious position aptly fits this scene as a Chicago and
Alton locomotive wends it way across a trestle in the vicinity of Salt Creek
during a flood 'sometime prior to 1902.' Notice the old-time front
on the locomotive which would place the event in an early era."
Visible from this bridge were the county road that would become Routes 4 and
66 and the old covered bridge over Salt Creek.
The caption of the above
photo left that attributes the location as Lincoln, Illinois, had long
puzzled my dad and me. We could not identify the bridge in the background
that allegedly connects the locomotive to Lincoln, Illinois, or anywhere
Logan County. A couple of years after I published this photo, I received
email messages from Mr. Tim McSwiggin of Springfield, Illinois (12-05). His messages
are below, and they correct the caption that mistakenly attributes the
location of the locomotive in 7.3 to Lincoln, Illinois:
From: Tmcswigg@aol.com [mailto:Tmcswigg@aol.com]
Sent: Sun 12/18/2005 1:51 AM
Subject: Railroads at Lincoln, Illinois-Correction
across this page during a search for articles about GM&O trains and was very
impressed by the variety of photos you gathered for it. This page is
well deserving of I.S.H.S. Web site of the year award. One thing I'd
like you to know though, is that one of the pictures you have listed is
not really near Lincoln. Article 7.3 titled "Emerging from Creek Bridge
(Unknown exact location and date)" is actually Chicago & Illinois Midland
#701 which appears to be crossing the Sangamon River bridge near
Springfield. #701 was a 2-10-2 type locomotive that was part of a
series that the C&IM purchased from the Lima Locomotive Co. in 1931.
They served on the railroad until late in 1955, so this picture would have
been taken sometime in that range. Note that the cars it is pulling
are hopper type coal cars, which is primarily what this road carried.
Coal from mines in the Taylorville area was hauled north to supply
Commonwealth Edison power plants. The road still runs today, but is
now called just Illinois & Midland and now hauls coal from Wyoming in the
other direction to supply the power plant at Powerton near Pawnee. The
bridge that crosses the Sangamon River on the line is still there and looks
much the same today as it does in your picture. I hope this has been
I'm glad I could shed some light on this for you. I have come
across several pictures myself, particularly ones that were donated to
libraries, that have things written on them that leave me thinking that it
just doesn't sound right for a particular picture. I guess we
shouldn't always believe everything we see. I would be honored to have
my addition be included on your page if you wish to do so. Illinois
has a very rich railroad heritage that you have only just touched on.
I have researched much of it for my own personal interest over the years,
and have found that many people share the same interest in this history.
It makes perfect sense to me that this part of your site has garnered the
most response. I hope you have enjoyed putting this together for us to
enjoy as many of us have had reading about it. Happy Holidays!
Respond to Tim at Tmcswigg@aol.com
Photo from full-page
ad of the Illinois Terminal Company in Dooley, ed., The Namesake Town,
p. 78. In their prime technology, interurban trains were able to
reach 60 mph (Gehlbach, p. 4).
Early 1950s Interurban in Lincoln
Click photo for larger version. Photo from Karl
Krotz, LCHS Class of 1956. The location is Chicago Street. Note the profile
of the GM&O depot at the left and the "L" Tavern at the right.
Railroad Historian Skip Gaterman points out
that "an interurban has to have overhead traction wires, and a diesel does
not. After March 3, 1956, the ITS ceased to be an interurban railroad and
became strictly a diesel railroad" (email of June, 2004).
Last ITS Locomotive, a Diesel,
Through Lincoln, Illinois (1962)
Photo from Beaver, Logan County History 1982,
p. 30. The above location is Chicago Street, downtown Lincoln, one block
south of the scene in the above photo showing the 1950s interurban.
According to a map
published in Paul Gleason's Lincoln: A
Pictorial History (p. 23), the ITS connected Peoria, Lincoln,
Bloomington, Urbana, Champaign, Danville, Decatur, Springfield, and
Carlinville, Hillsboro, Staunton, Edwardsville, and St. Louis. A separate
ITS line connected Princeton, LaSalle, Ottawa, Joliet, and Chicago. Lincoln also had a streetcar system provided by another company.
7.10: Two Illinois Terminal
locomotives (Electro-Motive GP-7 model) at
the Corner of Broadway (foreground) and Chicago Streets (with tracks in its
This photo is provided by Dr. Richard Leonard, and he says it dates
to 1958, "apparently around Christmas (note greenery on pole at left)."
Links to Information About High-speed Rail
Service Through Lincoln
citing Illinois, Lincoln, and/or Logan County:
Video of construction near Lincoln:
The Crossroads of Three Railroads in
7.11: 1960 View
of Stetson China Company West Side Showing the Alignments and Intersections of
the Illinois Central, Gulf Mobile & Ohio, and Illinois Traction System
identifications to the above photo from Paul Gleason, Lincoln: A Pictorial History, p. 41.
The photo was taken to show the relationship between the Stetson China
Company and the railroads.)
7.12: Rare, Undated Picture
Postcard Showing the Illinois Central Railroad Passenger Depot (long
demolished) on Kickapoo Street
Across from the Stetson China Factory (also long demolished)
On February 25, 2018, Judy Simpson Saylor emailed the above photo to me with
this message: "I was going through some of my Grandpa Jess Simpson's
pictures and came across this postcard!! It is on Kickapoo and the building
across the street was Grandpa's sister-in-law's restaurant (his brother
Harry and she was Frances, lived behind there on McLean St.). I remember
Aunt Frances telling me about all the trains that came through there." The
photo, taken from or near Kickapoo Street, looks eastward. Notice the rail
in the lower-left corner of the photo. The IC tracks ran northwest/southeast
through Lincoln's north and east regions. The picture postcard below shows a
view from west of Kickapoo Street and corresponds to the lower portion of
Picture Postcard of ATHOL Interlocking Tower and Illinois Central Depot
Looking East Down the IC Tracks
Where They Intersect with the GM&O Tracks
"interlocking" tower appears in the images above and below (Dr.
Richard Leonard clarifies the term ATHOL in a message quoted below the
following photos). Dr. Leonard says that an
interlocking tower is a facility for operating signals where tracks
intersect. The picture postcard above shows the side of the interlocking tower to which
the white arrow points in the aerial photo two photos above. The foreground
of the above photo
appears to show an unpaved street crossing the Illinois Central tracks. The street has ruts, and wheels have tracked mud on the boards between the
Interurban, ATHOL Interlocking Tower, and
Stetson Water Tower
(undated, courtesy of Fred Blanford)
Unidentified Operator Inside the
ATHOL Interlocking Tower
(undated, courtesy of Fred Blanford)
the photo above at right, I had originally called the person an "attendant."
In an email message to me of 2-26-06, Dr. Richard Leonard corrected this
inaccurate language and clarifies the term ATHOL. His message is as follows:
In a photo caption
you refer to the "attendant" of the interlocking tower north of Lincoln
("Athol"). The proper term would be "operator." As to the name "Athol,"
names were given to railroad junctions, interlockings or other crossings at
grade (i.e., where the tracks cross on a "diamond" rather than an overpass)
by various railroad officials, and there was no standardization as to where
the names came from. Perhaps the official who named the interlocking had
been originally from Athol, Massachusetts, or perhaps the name was just
"picked out of a hat." For example, a now-nonexistent crossing of the Santa
Fe and the Minneapolis & St. Louis near Monmouth was called "Nemo," and the
former crossing of the Peoria & Eastern, the Nickel Plate and the Illinois
Central southeast of Bloomington was called "Dean." These crossing names
were (or in some cases still are) posted on the interlocking towers or on a
sign next to the tracks, and are shown in the railroad line station and
milepost listings in employees' timetables.
Schematic of Safety Crossing Gates at Downtown Lincoln Streets
(undated, courtesy of Fred Blanford)
Streetcar (Trolley) in Lincoln
The fall 1998 issue of Our Times contains a history of the streetcar system in
Lincoln, Illinois. The Lincoln Electric Street Railway Company existed
from "Christmas Day of 1891" to May 15, 1928. The station was at 211
S. Kickapoo, the power house on Clinton Street near Washington School. The streetcar originally "ran to
the new Woodlawn subdivision, the Illinois Asylum for Feebleminded Children
[later the State School & Colony and then the Lincoln Developmental Center],
and the Illinois Central depot on North Kickapoo St." In 1907, the
line was extended from the Asylum over a mile to the Chautauqua grounds.
Larry Shroyer describes the
streetcar route: "The street car lines originally operated from
the barns on Clinton Street up Kickapoo to the I.C. Station, curved west
and south of the depot to Davenport, crossed the I.T.S. and C and A west
to North Logan, south to Keokuk, west to Ottawa, south to Peoria, west
to Union, north to 17th Street (now Woodlawn Road) west to Palmer Avenue
and stubbed at the Rosenthall Hill.
The return trip was
down Union to Broadway and east to Kickapoo. The Eighth Street
extension [beginning at the intersection of Eighth, Broadway, and Union]
ran west to College, west on Sixth, south on State to Lincoln State
School and Colony, on to the south side of the institution ground west
across Stringer Avenue and the Pfau orchard where the tracks turned
south to Union Cemetery and on west to the entrances to the
Chautauqua grounds" (Beaver, p. 9).
In June of 2002,
my father, Darold
Henson then at the age of 84, explained to me that in the early streetcar days mischievous kids
would grease the tracks on the College Street hill, halting cars
climbing the grade (he assured me that he merely watched the older guys
do this). He said that devices were later added to the locomotive so
the operator could sprinkle sand on the tracks for added traction that prevented stalling.
Streetcar on North Kickapoo Street at Intersection with Tremont Street
Note the horse and carriage at
the left. (From Gleason, Lincoln: A Pictorial History,
7.18: Streetcar 91 at the
Chautauqua Grounds in Lincoln
The Lincoln Evening Courier, 1954. (Image
quality reduced because it's a scan from a microfilm printout.)
The streetcar was a
prominent part of life in Lincoln, Illinois, during the first and second
decades of the Twentieth Century. Shroyer says the most productive
days of the street car were during the Chautauqua era (first third of the
20th Century) (Beaver, p. 9). Some of William Maxwell's prose in this
setting contains references to the streetcar and railroads there.
Maxwell in "The Man in
the Moon" describes his
maternal Uncle Ted Blinn, who "was the superintendent of the Lincoln
Electric Street Railway [streetcar company]. My grandfather [Judge
Edward Dunallen Blinn] must have put him there, since he was a director and one of the
incorporators of this enterprise. One spur of the streetcar tracks
went from the courthouse square to the Illinois Central Railroad
depot, another to a new subdivision in the northwest part of town, and
still another to the cemeteries.
In the summertime the
cars were open on the sides, and in warm weather pleasanter than walking. Except during the Chautauqua season, they were never crowded. The
conductor stomped on a bell in the floor beside him to make pedestrians and
farm wagons get out of the way, and from time to time showers of sparks
would be emitted by the overhead wires. What did the superintendent have to
do? Keep records, make bank deposits, be there if something went
wrong, and in an emergency run one of the cars himself (with his mind on the
things he would do and the way he would live when he had money). The
job was only a stopgap, until something more appropriate offered itself. But what if nothing
ever did? [italics his]" ("The Man in the Moon," p. 253).
Maxwell's undergraduate years at the University of Illinois (late
1920s), his Uncle Ted "on the strength of his experience with the
streetcar company, . . . had managed to get a job in Champaign, working
for a trolley line that meandered through various counties in central
and southern Illinois" (p. 258). [This "trolley line" would have
been the Illinois Traction System, described above.]
7.19: Picture Postcard Showing Streetcar Just Past the
Corner of Kickapoo and Pulaski Streets (Looking South on Kickapoo)
beyond the streetcar on the left, behind the bank, was the streetcar
car barn, near Washington School.
The red-brick building housed the German-American Bank. Paul
Gleason notes this name was changed to the American National Bank during
WW I (Lincoln: A Pictorial History, p. 48).
In later years in Lincoln, "somebody had found him
[Ted Blinn] a job running the elevator in the courthouse -- where
(as people observed with a due sense of the irony of it) his father had
practiced law" (p. 259). You may want to read this story to discover
Maxwell's comment on his hapless Uncle Ted as compared to Ted's prominent
father (p. 264).
Ted Blinn and his wife, Edna Skinner Blinn, rest in Old Union Cemetery, and the
Blinn family markers are pictured at
Route 66 Map & Photos Showing Lincoln Memorial Park
(former Chautauqua site,
the Historic Cemeteries, & Nearby Sites. There, scroll
German-American National Bank at
Kickapoo and Pulaski Streets (1914)
orientation is the same as in two photos above (red-brick bank building): The street with the vehicles
is Kickapoo, and south is to the right (toward Lincoln Lakes). The trolley
tracks are visible at the side of the convertible. Today this building is
used as a senior citizens' center, and a large dark panel hides the original
name of the building barely visible above the top row of windows in the
The picture postcard below, postmarked 1906, shows the same intersection
viewed "kitty corner," looking north on Kickapoo Street, which appears to be
unpaved. In the top center is a streetlight suspended over the center of the
intersection by a long arm extending from a utility pole.
7.21: Trolley on Kickapoo
Street with the Griesheim Clothing Store in the Background (left)
At the left is a man with his foot resting on the top of a fire hydrant. In
the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, the structure behind him on that corner was
Undated Picture Postcard of Broadway Street
Looking West with Streetcar in
7.23: Lincoln's Last Trolley
(Lincoln Evening Courier photo,
September 9, 1954)
The headline of the photo is "Trolley Moved Down on the Farm." The caption
reads, "Lincoln's last link to the street car era was removed from the city
this week from the W.E. Russell and Son grocery store by George White. The
grocery has been using the abandoned car for many years as a warehouse.
White intends using it for similar purposes on a farm."
Abraham Lincoln, the Railroad, and the Town He Named
The naming of this town for and
by Abraham Lincoln was a result of his growing law practice: "In the 1850s, the Illinois legislature chartered railroads, and many of
them soon began construction. These events increased litigation over issues of
right of way, stock subscriptions, fencing, and damages to real property.
Lincoln generally supported the development of railroads all over the state,
but that did not prevent him from opposing the railroad companies in the
courtroom. He became involved in railroad litigation and represented
individuals nearly as often as railroad corporations. The Illinois Central
Railroad secured his legal services more often than any other railroad, and
Lincoln opposed them in only a few cases" (Web site of the Illinois
Historic Preservation agency, address below).
Like many of his contemporaries, Lincoln was
proud of American technology, including railroads: "Russia has
called on us to show her how to build steam-boats and railroads -- while in
the older parts of Asia, they scarcely know that such things as S.Bs & RR.s.
exist" (Abraham Lincoln, Second Lecture on Discoveries and Inventions, Jacksonville,
Illinois, February 11, 1859).
An account of Abraham
Lincoln christening the city of Lincoln near the railroad tracks and depot
3. The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln and the Founding of Lincoln, Illinois,
also the Founding of Lincoln College, the Plot to Steal Lincoln's Body, and
Memories of Lincoln College and the Rustic Tavern-Inn.
The railroad transported Mr. Lincoln
to and through
Lincoln, Illinois, on an unknown number of occasions. He must have
used it on his business and political trips to Bloomington and Chicago, and
the last two
occasions were --
November 21, 1860. President-elect Lincoln spoke to
citizens from the rear of a train taking him to Chicago. The New York Herald on November 22 printed the
brief speech (six sentences), which is reproduced in Paul Gleason's
Lincoln. Lincoln thanked the crowd for its "kindness toward me"
and asked to be excused from political comment (Gleason, p. 16).
May 3, 1865. Lincoln's funeral train stopped at the train
depot at approximately 7:00 a.m. On May 4th the New York Herald
printed this report: "Lincoln, Ill. contains between two and three
thousand inhabitants. Lincoln had a direct interest in its origin. The
depot is handsomely draped. Ladies, dressed in white and black, are
singing as we pass under a handsomely constructed arch, on each side of
which is a picture of the deceased President with the motto "With Malice to
none, with Charity for all." The national and State flags are
prominently displayed, and a profusion of evergreens, with black and white drapings make up the artistic and appropriate arrangements" (Raymond Dooley,
ed., The Namesake Town: A Centennial History of Lincoln, Illinois,
The Railroad and Abraham Lincoln
The GM&O Railroad descended from the Chicago
and Alton Railroad, whose location in Logan County led to the founding of
Lincoln, Illinois. In honor of Abraham Lincoln,
the GM&O named two of its five passenger "streamliner" trains the
the Ann Rutledge. The Abraham Lincoln was described as
the world's most modern train (with the Lincoln Tavern). These trains,
running from 1935 into the 1950s, provided premium passenger
service, featuring "observation parlor
cars, drawing-room parlor cars, buffet-lounge cars, dining cars, smoking
cars with individual reclining seats. Both had stewardesses and
registered nurses," according to the Web site of the National Railroad
Museum (address below). See this Web site for more detailed information about the GM&O streamliners,
including depiction of the trains' "drumheads" (logo-symbols).
7.24: The Locomotive of the GM&O Abraham Lincoln
(Chicago, heading south, July, 1971).
7.25: The Rounded-end Observation Car (not caboose) of the GM&O Abraham Lincoln
No place or date given.
7.26: Tail Section of
7.27, and 7.28 are from Dave Randall and Gene Glendinning's,
"Abe 'n Annie,"
GM&O Historical Society News, Parts 1 (photos 7.26 and 7.27) and
(photo 7.28) (1979-1980). The images here are scanned from
photocopied material and thus do not reflect the better quality of the
original photos. The caption of photo 7.25 in part reads, "Tail
section was reminiscent of one's living room with individual wing chairs,
comfortable couches and reading lamps" (Part 1, p. 17).
See Web site of the GM&O Historical Society (address below in Source Cited)
for information about ordering back issues of the GM&O Historical Society News
or joining the Society.
7.27: Typical Alton &
Chicago Dining Car
reads, "A hallmark of the Alton's passenger service was the popular dining
service in attractive surroundings Here, tables are set with crystal,
silver, and always-present fresh roses. ACF photo, author's
collection" (Part 1, p. 15).
Bar in Annie
Caption reads, "Bar end of Annie's
5751 combine after 1946 refurbishment." Photo from GM&O HS archives
(Part 3, p. 18)
The Abraham Lincoln
locomotive above in photo 7.24 bears the number 103A. My search of the Web reveals that the 103A was made by EMD as Model E7A. Seven EMD E7As were built beginning in 1945. This locomotive had a
12-cylinder, 2,000 horsepower diesel engine. The Web site titled the
GM&O Diesel Roster (address below) lists six EMD E7As
as sold for scrap to Premium National in March of 1975. One EMD E7A
was retired in 1971 and cannibalized. Good news, however, is that the
National Museum of Transportation, located at Kirkwood, MO (suburb of St.
Louis), is reported to be
restoring two passenger cars of the Abraham Lincoln.
The 103A was not
the original locomotive of the Abraham Lincoln. The Web site of
the National Railroad Museum (address below) describes the
original as first named the "Lady Baltimore, a unique 4-4-4 originally
designed for the B&O [Baltimore & Ohio] Royal Blue service [and it] was
transferred to the Alton and assigned to the yet to be inaugurated Abraham
Lincoln. Dedication of the locomotive occurred on May 15, 1935, at
Springfield, IL. The first run of the Abraham Lincoln occurred on July
In response to my inquiry about the Abraham
Lincoln locomotive, I received the following detailed history on March 6,
2002, from Mr. Gene Glendinning, treasurer of the GM&O Historical Society. He was unaware that I did not know
that the 103A was not the original locomotive of the Abraham Lincoln. He describes the original:
"I believe the diesel you're referring to was
the B&O's box cab, which, along with two units the Santa Fe received from
Electro Motive Co., then of Cleveland, the first road engines produced. It
operated between Jersey City and Washington, D.C., in the B&O's Royal Blue
service before being transferred to the Alton to head the Abraham Lincoln in
1935. It was numbered 50. In 1937 a slanted nose was fabricated and added to
the unit for added crew safety. The 50 continued to head the Abe until the
early 1940's when the slanted nose was removed and no. 50 was paired with a
B&O E6 (originally no. 52) as a "B" unit which lasted for the remainder of
the war years.
Around 1945, as the Alton began receiving its
six EMD E7's, no. 50 was shopped and emerged as the no. 1200. It held down a
local passenger run and local freight runs out of Bloomington before being
used for a while in the 1950's as the power for the single GM&O suburban run
between Chicago and Joliet. The unit was then retired and delivered to Pilot
Bros., McCook, Illinois for scrap.
The unit was saved from scrap and delivered
to the National Transportation Museum at St. Louis, where it rests today. It was refurbished and painted in its original B&O dress. The
museum is near Kirkwood and easily accessible. I hope this answers your
question. Let me know if there's anything else I might provide. Regards,
Gene V. Glendinning"
Photo 7.29 below is an artistic drawing
of the1935 Abraham Lincoln showing its original B&O 50 locomotive (Gleason
and Beaver, Logan County Pictorial History, p. 8). (The drawing
below has been enlarged through computer technology.)
The right side of the light on the top clearly shows the number 50, and the
drawing also depicts the slanted front that had been added in 1937 when this
unit was modified for the Abraham Lincoln.
7.30 below shows a 1982 photo of this
locomotive at the National Museum of Transportation before restoration. Again, the right side of the light shows the distinctive 50, but the slanted
front had been removed in its post-Abraham Lincoln years. This photo is a cropped version of a full photo at a Web page by S. Berliner
(Web site address below). Mr. Berliner's Web site has
a detailed history of this locomotive and a second photo of the B&O 50 prior
to its restoration.
Drawing of the 1935 B&O 50
(Gleason and Beaver,
Logan County Pictorial History, p. 8.)
7.30: 1982 Photo of the B&O 50
Visit the Web site of the National
Transportation Museum (Kirkwood, Missouri, Web site address below) to see a photo of the restored B&O 50, the original locomotive of the
The Railroad Heritage of Lincoln, Illinois,
in the Route 66 Era and Beyond
three rail lines in Lincoln continued as viable transportation sources into
the Route 66 era (1920s-1960s). The two rare photos below depict railroad
scenes from downtown Lincoln in the Route 66 era. Click on these images to
access larger versions. The photo at the left comes from a Web site
about the GM&O by Richard Leonard of Bloomington, Illinois. He has
copyrighted this photo, and here I use it and his corresponding text with
his written permission.
The left photo below
shows a two-story tower of the GM&O on Pulaski Street, the dual tracks, Elm
Park, and the passenger depot in the background. The right photo below shows
a GM&O train stopped at the passenger depot: the locomotive is blocking
Broadway Street. This scene is just one block north of that in the left
Richard Leonard describes
his photo at left as follows: "This view looks northward from a point a
block south of the depot in Lincoln, Illinois. During my junior year of
college I had a church assignment here and would often take the train from
Bloomington, so this photo was probably taken in the spring of 1959. Notice
what appears to be a street crossing guard tower on the left. The Illinois
Terminal (by then diesel-powered) still did street running through Lincoln,
and the IT, GM&O and Illinois Central crossed at an interlocking north. . .
." (Richard Leonard, G.M.&O. Gallery: Central Illinois in the 1950s," Web
site address below in Sources Cited).
In email correspondence
with Richard, I suggested the tower may have been used for switching. He
responded, "Regarding the 'tower' structure in my photo, I don't recall that
there was any large yard or switching operation on the GM&O in Lincoln that
would necessitate such a building. Only very large railroad yards needed
such a tower from which the yardmaster could direct operations. (One appears
in the distance in my photo of the Bloomington yard.) I am only guessing
that it was a place where a road crossing guard was posted for the safety of
motorists or pedestrians in downtown Lincoln. My Web site has been up for
two years and has been seen by many GM&O 'buffs," but no one has suggested
the tower was anything else. The tower in your photo of the crossing of the
three railroads north of town [7.9 above] is an interlocking tower (an
'interlocking' is a crossing of railroads at grade, where the signals of all
lines are interlocked so that trains do not collide at the crossing). That
tower really wouldn't have much to do with yard switching operations of the
three railroads. Only a few interlocking towers are left in the U.S. now,
most now being controlled by remote dispatchers."
I appreciate Richard's
clarification. Respond to Richard Leonard at
Double Tracks, Depot, and Elm Park
(1959 photo ©Richard Leonard.
Click image for larger version)
7.32: GM&O Engine 100A on
Broadway Street in Lincoln, Illinois
(Undated photo provided by the Krotz
brothers of Lincoln.
Click image for larger version.)
The 100A locomotive,
shown above right, often pulled the Alton Limited (or, the
Limited)--one of the GM&O passenger
trains similar to the Abraham Lincoln and the Ann Rutledge. In
the photo of the 100A, to the right out of sight were the passenger cars loading/unloading at the
depot. According to the GM&O Diesel Roster (link below in Sources Cited), the GM&O had EMD rebuild this EA unit,
the 100A, as an E8 in March, 1953.
The 100A was wrecked in August of 1971 and sold for scrap to Precision
National in March of 1975.
7.33: GM&O 880-A: Alleged
Anne Rutledge Heading South and Blocking Broadway St. in Lincoln, IL
The above image is undated, but the Ford at the right is probably a 1955 or 1956.
According to Carl Weber, the 880A was still in service in May of 2006 as
Metro-North 413, "the oldest 'F' in regular service on a Class I railroad."
For a 1970s photo, see
Block is at left.
The First Lincoln
Namesake Town's Main Claim to Rock 'n' Roll Fame: A Mystery
images below show the cover of an album containing a hit single by the Traveling Wilburys in
1989, and the train is the GM&O Ann Rutledge at the depot near
Broadway Street in Lincoln,
Illinois. This location is only a few yards from where Abraham Lincoln in
1853 used watermelon juice to christen the town in his name.
According to Wikipedia, "The Traveling Wilburys were a
supergroup consisting of George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty
and Bob Dylan. During the short time they were together [1988--1990], they
recorded two albums, the first of which was nominated for a Grammy Award for
Album of the Year" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traveling_Wilburys).
"'End of the Line'" is the last track from Traveling Wilburys' first
Volume 1, released in 1988. Its riding-on-the-rails rhythm suggests
its theme and the on-the-move nature of the group"
Listen to "The End of the Line':
Traveling Wilburys apparently did not tour, so the cover album below is
strictly artwork. The record cover features the Anne
Rutledge in Lincoln, Illinois, allegedly in 1953--Lincoln's centennial
year. How and why this photo was chosen for the cover is the greatest Rock
'n' Roll mystery of the first Lincoln namesake town.
7.34: Cover of End of the
Upside Down Cover of End of the Line
Showing the GM&O Depot in Lincoln,
The upside down cover clearly shows the same scene as that of the mid-1950s in 7.33 above.
* * * * * * *
One of the largest
commodities produced in Lincoln, Illinois, by weight and volume was sand and
gravel. Below is one of the most distinctive reminders of this industry. The
photo below was obtained from the Web site of Mr. Don Ross (address below in
Sources Cited). According to Mr. Ross, this locomotive is a "44 ton locomotive
built by Davenport in 1940, #2301, for Morrell Meat Packing Co. In
1975 it was donated to the Monticello Railroad Museum." Mr. Ross's Web
site shows a second diesel locomotive used by the Lincoln Sand & Gravel Co.
Many Lincolnites who
visited Lincoln Lakes will remember the strange-looking workhorse below. The noise of its diesel engines carried far. I used to ride my bike
to and from the Lincoln Lakes beach on the road parallel to the Sand &
Gravel Co. spur track. Then, the thunder of this locomotive's laboring engines interfered with the
whispering cottonwoods, their leaves dancing in the wind. Yet now the beast's photo is a
7.36: Locomotive of
the Lincoln Sand & Gravel Company Used at Lincoln Lakes
The locomotive above is now located at the
Monticello Railway Museum, which is east of Decatur, IL, on I-72 north of
the city of Monticello. Web site address below.
Amtrak Turboliner Northbound Streaking
Over Kickapoo Creek About Four Miles North of Lincoln, Illinois (November,
was one of the
two French-built Turboliners. (Several yards behind these tracks and
parallel with them is I-55, which had been Route 66.) Amtrak
continues to serve Lincoln, Illinois, representing a railroad tradition that
dates to the founding of Lincoln in 1853.
In addition to the
following structures, a building that served as a streetcar depot still
stands at the edge of Old Union Cemetery with a photo of it at
Route 66 Map
& Photos Showing Lincoln Memorial Park (Former Chautauqua Site), the Historic Cemeteries, & Nearby Sites.
7.38: Picture Postcard of the 1911 Chicago and Alton Passenger Depot
Spanish Mission Design (later the GM&O Depot)
7.39: The GM&O
Near Christening Site (south side)
(Leigh Henson photo, 6-02)
7.40: The Passenger Depot
Entrance (east side)
Henson photo, 6-02)
7.41: GM&O Car as a
Restaurant Dining Room
(Leigh Henson photo,
7.42: The Sign Between Twin Cabooses
Reads "End of the Trail"
(Leigh Henson photo, 6-02)
7.43: The GM&O Freight Depot
at Pekin and Sangamon Streets (south end)
(South end view, Leigh Henson photo, 7-01)
7.44: The GM&O Freight Depot
(North end view, Stu Wyneken photo)
7.45: Close Up
GM&O Freight House Sign
(Adapted from Stu Wyneken photo in 7.37)
7.46: A Freight Train
Speeds from the North, Passing
Next to the Old GM&O Freight
(Leigh Henson photo, 8:30 a.m., 6-9-02)
7.47: The ITS
(interurban) Passenger and Freight Depot (1909) at 216 S. Chicago Street
Note the courthouse dome at mid left.
(Leigh Henson photo, 6-02)
7.48: Rare 1913 Picture
Postcard of ITS Depot (right) and Passenger Car (center)
Foreground shows the depot
that is pictured in 7.46. The Commercial Hotel is immediately
behind the depot. The Lincoln House hotel is visible in the
background. At left is lumber stored on the yard of Spellman Lumber
the Commercial Hotel, now demolished, behind the depot. One spur track, possibly two, ran between
the depot and the hotel. Lincolnite Willie Aughton said that from this
spur track train cars could unload coal for the hotel.
Historian Nancy Gehlbach
writes that passengers' luggage could be moved from the depot to the hotel
by way of a "second-floor runway between the two buildings" (p. 2). A
close view of a larger-sized photo of which 7.45 is a condensed version reveals an old wagon wheel in the right-front
The picture postcard below, undated, offers a rare close-up view of both the
ITS Depot and Commercial Hotel and the covered walkway connecting them:
Enclosed Walkway Between the
Commercial Hotel (l) and the ITS Depot
(Postcard image provided by Ron Lessen, LCHS Class of 1959, 7-9-03)
The photo below shows the spur track from the interurban line
curving toward the south side of the Commercial Hotel. The interurban
track ran in the middle of Chicago Street (see my anecdote below). In the center of the
picture is the intersection of Chicago and Pulaski Streets. On the
corner on the other side of Pulaski is the Kerpan Building and at the far
end of the block on Chicago Street is the Lincoln House Hotel. Lumber
from Spellman's appears in the lower left. The photo was apparently
taken from the Spellman elevator.
7.50: Chicago Street
and Interurban Tracks in 1916
with the Commercial Hotel at Right
(Photo from Fish, Illustrated Lincoln, 1916)
Facilities at the South End of Chicago Street
7.51: ITS Power Substation
(Leigh Henson photos 7-02)
7.52: Ceramic Fixtures Used to Transmit Electricity Through Power
to the Locomotive
The above photos
show structures used beginning in 1907 when the first interurban came into
Lincoln on tracks laid in the middle of Chicago Street (Gehlbach, p. 2). The
buildings shown above are at the south end of Chicago Street.
According to Mike Fortney
of the Illinois Traction Society, the structures shown above were "a
combination freight house/substation, a design unique to Lincoln. The
freight motor shown below in 7.53 is sitting in what was called Wyatt
Siding, which served as the freight house track. The carbarn was located due
east of the freight house and was reached by trackage not shown in the
photos on this page. The carbarn was demolished (ca. 1920s) and
replaced with sharply curved wye and spur tracks known respectively as Wyatt
Wye and Wyatt Spur. After the line was dieselized in 1956, the wye and spur
tracks were removed and replaced with a short straight spur more able to
handle the diesel engines.
In the above photo at the left, the side with the vines (west) appears to have a ramp and
dock. These photos were taken from the southwest.
The amazing photo below shows the same buildings
in 1948. The photo below was taken from the northeast side-- directly
opposite of the angle used to take the above photos:
7.53: Interurban Scene in Lincoln (1948):
Streamliner (l;), Freight House (c), and Freight Motor (r)
(Photo by Paul Stringham; see "special note" below.)
History is challenging. When I first saw the above photo, I did
not recognize the location. I showed the photo to my 87-year-old father, who
said that the old facility did have tracks on two sides. He believed the photo was taken in
Lincoln, but I still was not convinced the photo was taken there, so I
emailed Dr. Richard Leonard to ask if he could verify the photo as taken in
Lincoln. His response of 8-25-06, which I slightly edited, is as follows:
photo of the Illinois Terminal streamliner and a freight motor. The three
streamlined trains were delivered by the St. Louis Car Co. in 1948, the last
such equipment to be manufactured in the U.S. They would have run through
Lincoln on the way to Peoria.
The track curving to the left may have been a siding to a business; it
has a high degree of curvature that suggests such an industrial spur
rather than a running track.
There may well have been a connecting track at the IC crossing, but it
would not have been used to route trains between the two railroads; it
could, however, have been a transfer track where freight cars were set
out for the other railroad to pick up. [Leigh's note: in Lincoln, the
ITS crossed the IC in two places: (1) as shown in 7.10 above and (2) just
south of the freight house-power station shown above].
Dr. Leonard could not say
for sure that the photo was taken in Lincoln, and he suggested that I
communicate with the Illinois
Traction Society (Web site address below in Works Cited) to see if someone
there could help identify the location of the photo. On the Yahoo! Groups
Web site of the Illinois Traction Society, I saw another photo of the
substation and freight depot taken by us66railfan that confirmed the photo
of 7.51 was
indeed taken in Lincoln, Illinois. After I emailed the Illinois Traction
Society to tell its members of my discovery, I received additional
information, reported above, from Mike Fortney, one of the Society's
members. I am most grateful to Dr. Leonard and Mr. Fortney.
Also, I'll be happy when I learn to listen to my dad. You'd think
at 64 I would have learned to do that by now.
Special note: In an email to me from Dr. Leonard on 12-8-11, he kindly shared additional information about the above photo:
"I just came across the April 1989 issue of
Passenger Train Journal, in which the same photo appears that is on your
railroad page. I have copied a portion of the page that has the photo and
caption. Note that the photo at Lincoln is credited to Paul Stringham, in
the Dale Jenkins collection (I have no idea who owns it now, 22 years
later), and was taken October 29, 1948. The late Paul Stringham was an avid
Peoria rail photographer and author, or co-author, of a number of books on
The caption for the above photo from its publication in Passenger Train
Journal identifies the train at the left of the photo: "Newly delivered
City of Decatur streamliner set pauses at the Lincoln freighthouse on
Oct. 29, 1948, during a northbound display trip. Normally passenger trains
called at a storefront depot on Chicago Street [probably the Lincoln Office
Supply, corner of Chicago and Broadway Streets] in downtown Lincoln across
from the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio passenger station (now a restaurant; the Amtrak
station shelter stands nearby). The IT freighthouse still stands, on the
south side of town and just to the east of the Chicago, Missouri &
Western/Amtrak main line. The Class C electric switching the house track
exemplified Illinois Terminal's interurban freight motors of the period.
They would be partially supplanted by upgraded streamlined versions
designated Class Ds in a few years--and eventually EMD Geeps."
7.54: Interurban at the Interlocking House on South Kickapoo
(undated photo, courtesy of Fred Blanford. Click on the above image to open a stunning,
screen-wide photo of the full length of the train.)
7.55: Interlocking House on South Kickapoo
(Leigh Henson photo, 7-01)
The interlocking facility
shown above was used to direct loaded cars from the Lincoln Sand and Gravel
to the main tracks. The locomotive in 7.36 above was one of two that transported
sand and gravel cars to the main line. Nancy Gehlbach refers to this
building as "the little interlocking plant on the road to Lincoln Lakes. . .
. Manned by the Lincoln Sand and Gravel crews, it was lined for the
interurban except when a LS&G train was crossing. Lincoln Sand and
Gravel shipped partly over the ITS, which had an active freight division." She says that the interurban tracks were removed in the summer of 1978
("Riding the Rails," p. 3).
The photo below was taken by Patrick
Doolin on June 21, 2013. The photo shows Interurban tracks exposed by
excavation required for sewer construction at the intersection of Chicago
and Tremont Streets in Lincoln.
7.56: Interurban Rails Buried
on Chicago Street
Note: Patrick Doolin's brother, David, emailed me this photo, adding: "You
can clearly see the old interurban tracks and wood ties still buried under
the pavement! Evidently, they just cemented over the tracks. I know we have
seen photos of the old brick streets with the cement going down the middle
where the old tracks would have been. Some have asked me if they were still
there and I didn't know. Now we know that they just covered over the
recall that streets had been topped with asphalt. Even before they were
buried, the tracks thus became recessed below street grade as layers were
added over time. The recessed tracks made ruts used by young drivers in
sporting adventures, as described below on this page at
LCHS Alums' Remembrances of the Railroads of Lincoln, Illinois
I was a Junior or Senior, I think, (graduated in 1956) and had gone "uptown"
to eat lunch. I was walking back to the high school when a train
pulled in to the station. I recognized the man in the engine and went
over to talk to him. He took me up those long, and very high, steps to
see inside that engine. We talked for about five minutes and I gave
him a big hug and kiss and went back to school. I was called in to Mr.
Mac's office almost as soon as I got there (somebody "squealed"). He
was the principal at that time. I got chewed out royally for even
talking to a man in the train, not to mention giving him a big hug and kiss!
I let Mr. Mac "get it all out of his system" before telling him why I did
That man was my great uncle and worked for the RR for many years. I
was very proud and happy to see him. Now, I don't know what the order
was for those men but he was the Engineer and more importantly, he was my
uncle! Thanks for bringing back that memory Fred.
When you go down
Tremont Street, will you please take a picture of one of the houses? I
remember that it was 217 and that Judge McCullough lived close to us
(maybe even next door) and Dr. Trapp lived on the other side. We rented
the upstairs apartment and I can't even remember the name of the lady that
we rented from.
I have a lot of
memories of Lincoln and each time someone writes, it brings back more.
Thanks everyone! Nancy (Hatfield) Eichelberger Odessa, Florida (email,
Respond to Nancy at
My step-brother, John Moore, during the 40's and 50's would take
the mail in bags from the Post Office to the train station to be picked up
by the train while passing through Lincoln. I believe there was some type
of a hook he put the bag on so it could be picked up at night. Pat Kindred
Respond to Pat at
Leigh Henson asked me to
write about my "excitement with a train" while I was a student at LCHS. I
wholeheartedly support the great work Leigh has done on the Internet about
the history of Lincoln, Illinois and the electronic community he has created
for all of us to enjoy, so here is my story. I hope this will encourage
others to share some of their memories as well.
I have always had this fear of being laughed at, so I
havenąt told this story to very many people. I was the new kid in school at
the old High School on Broadway Street in 1957. We had moved to Lincoln from
Fairfield, Illinois. My dad had a new a job managing the Avery & Comstock
furniture store and my mom opened a little Beauty Shop downtown. Since they
both worked, and we lived out at łThe Lakes˛--it was too far to go home for
lunch--I had to find a place to have lunch near the school. Of course, the
łold˛ High School didnąt have a cafeteria like the new one did.
My all-time favorite place for lunch was the Gem Lunch
Room on Pulaski Street. You may recall that Harry Giannakopoulos worked
there as a co-op student. They had these wonderful plate lunches with a
terrific selection, and their famous bowl of Chili too. I think their plate
lunch specials cost about fifty cents in those days. Itąs strange, there are
so many things that I canąt remember, but I sure do remember that Chili.
The Gem got pretty crowded at lunch time so I would
hurry to get there because if I had to wait for a place to sit, I wouldnąt
have enough time to eat and make it back to school for my next class. My
favorite place was a stool at the counter. One important part of making it
there early was to get across the train tracks before the express train came
roaring through town at noontime. I believe these express trains ran from
St. Louis to Chicago and were called the Abraham Lincoln and the Ann
Rutledge. She was his first girlfriend and they were engaged to be married,
but she became sick and died. I am sure you know the story.
So, one day I saw the train coming and decided to run
and get across the tracks before it got there. If I had to wait, I might not
get a seat. At 15 years old, I thought I could do just about anything. So I
ran. The train appeared to still be far away. As I got closer to the track I
noticed that the train had suddenly gotten a lot closer than I had thought
possible. I had misjudged its speed. The engineer was blowing the whistle
like mad and when I got to the track I slipped and fell right in front of
the train. I looked up at the train and stared into the headlight and heard
its deafening noise, as it got closer. My leg hurt and it was all I could do
to get up and get out of the way in time. The train passed at what seemed
like inches away. I limped on to the lunch counter, quite shaken but glad to
I had this horrible fear that someone might tell everyone at
school and they would all laugh at me. So here we are 47 years later and I
am telling the whole school myself!
About a year later, I ran along side of one of those
express trains in my dad's car, out on route 66, and confirmed that it
traveled at well over 100 miles per hour. They were supposed to slow down a
little, coming through town, but I doubt that they ever did. Many years
later I met a young man who had lost a leg because of falling under a
streetcar. I almost knew how he felt--at least the feeling stupid part.
One thing I have learned is, the best way to deal with
fears is to tell people about them. So now you all know. Have I run in front
of any trains lately? No, not exactly, but I have continued to do some dumb
things in life. One of the definitions of experience is: experience allows
us to recognize our mistakes when we make them again. (email, 11-04)
P.O. Box 2265
Portsmouth, VA 23702-0265
Brad, I really don't think anyone
could possibly laugh at you. Those trains do move pretty fast!
Okay, now I remember
another train story and this time I really have no idea how I EVER forgot
It was my wedding day
in 1957 and my Mom and Glenn were taking me to the Methodist church on
Broadway, just across from the high school. At that time we lived in the
country on Route 121, so we had to cross the tracks. We had plenty of time
to get to the church so we weren't worried. How did we know a very long
freight train would block all city streets at just the wrong time? It
ended up that Glenn had to drive clear out to Route 66 to get around the
train and naturally I was late to my own wedding!
My poor brother-in-law was still singing when we got there and had to sing
several extra songs. When it was time for him to sing the "Lord's Prayer"
his voice broke and I looked up at him as he was a wonderful singer.
He told me later he thought I was crying. Afraid not but I was sure trying
NOT to laugh.
The memories of those
trains are wonderful. I'm sure more of you have memories.
Nancy Eichelberger (email, 11-04)
D. Leigh Henson
My tale tells of youthful
misadventure (but one not as serious as Brad Dye's "brush with death"). In
the winter of 1959, I was riding with high school junior classmate David
"Ukluck" Lovelace as he drove the family station wagon around town and
gave rides home to some of his friends. Dave was the son of high school
principal Royce Lovelace, who was also one of the school's driver-ed
teachers. Several inches of snow had accumulated during the day, and a light
We newly licensed young
bucks liked to take advantage of winter conditions to show off our driving
skills in front of our peers. For example, we liked to fishtail on ice and
snow, whipping this way and that and usually staying on the road. As Dave
drove north on Chicago Street parallel with the GM&O depot, he tried a new
maneuver, which he probably had not learned from his dad.
Dave drove down the
center of the street, aligning the wheels of the station wagon on top of the
interurban tracks. The ice and snow build-up formed ruts that kept the
wheels of the station wagon on the railroad tracks even when Dave let go of
the steering wheel. From my back-seat position, I felt the pleasure of the
vehicle moving in "automatic pilot." We coasted through the intersection of
Chicago and Pekin Streets (braking was ineffective). Just as we were next to the Lincoln Monument
Company (grave stone retailer), we noticed a large, single white light
shimmering through the snowfall straight ahead about three blocks away.
Coming right at us, an interurban locomotive had rounded the curve at the
Stetson China Company -- its light was the menacing eye of an iron Cyclops.
The beast was not moving
very fast as it headed for a stop in downtown Lincoln, but we began to hear
its blaring call. Dave grabbed the wheel and frantically turned it one way
and then another, struggling to get the vehicle out of the rutted tracks. We
continued to move forward longer than we wanted. Then, Dave successfully
jerked the vehicle out of the ruts in plenty of time, but not before I had
conceived a plan to open the door and jump to safety.
My high school classmates
tell me that Dave attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and later
had a career with the railroads.
Beaver, Paul. History of Logan County 1982.
Published by the Logan County Heritage Foundation. Dallas, TX: Taylor Publishing Company, 1982.
Dooley, Raymond, ed. The Namesake Town:
A Centennial History of Lincoln, Illinois. Lincoln, IL: Feldman's Print Shop, 1953.
Elwood, George. "GM&O
Dr. Richard Leonard writes to explain that this Web page "is part of George
Elwood's "Fallen Flags" site (http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/).
This is an immense collection of historical railroad material. 'Fallen flag'
is a term used in the railfan world to indicate a railroad company that no
longer exists (has been abandoned or merged into another company). For
example, the Alton Route, the GM&O, the Illinois Central Gulf, the Chicago,
Missouri & Western, and the Southern Pacific (all of which successively
operated the main line through Lincoln) are all "fallen flags" now.
Gehlbach, Nancy. "Riding the Rails:
Interurbans, Streetcars, and Steam Trains." Our Times, fall 1998.
Gleason, Paul E. Lincoln, Illinois: A Pictorial History.
St. Louis, MO: G. Bradley Publishing, 1998
Gleason, Paul E., and Paul J. Beaver, Logan County Pictorial History.
St. Louis, MO: G. Bradley Publishing, 2000. Mr. Gleason's material used in this Web site is with permission from the G. Bradley Publishing Company, 461 Des
Peres Road, St. Louis, MO 63131. Call 1-800-966-5120 to inquire about purchasing Lincoln, Illinois:
A Pictorial History (1998) (200 pages of rare photos and text) or Logan County Pictorial History
(2000) (also 200 pages of rare photos and text).
GM&O Historical Society Web site:
Historical Society Web site:
"Illinois Central Railroad Had Influence in
Developing Lincoln from a Pioneer Settlement to Thriving City of Today,
Courier, section six, 8-26-53, p. 10.
"Illinois Terminal Railroad Serving
Area Over 50 Years," Lincoln Evening Courier, centennial edition,
section five, 8-26-53, p. 10.
Traction Society: http://www.illinoistractionsociety.org/.
Jim's Railroad Page:
Lincoln Evening Courier Centennial
Edition, Wednesday, August 26, 1953, section two, page 4.
Leonard, Richard. Rail
www.railarchive.net. "G.M.&O. Gallery: Central Illinois in the 1950s":
Maxwell, William. "The Man in the Moon" in All the Days and Nights:
The Collected Stories. NY: Vintage Books, 1995. William Maxwell's works
are available at www.amazon.com and
National Railroad Museum: http://www.nationalrrmuseum.org/.
Randall, Dave, and Gene Glendinning, "Abe 'n
Annie," Part 1, GM&O Historical Society News 1979.
Glendinning is the author of The Chicago & Alton Railroad: The Only
Way. Dekalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 2002.
This book is available at www.amazon.com
Ross, Don, website:
http://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net/. Access and scroll to Lincoln Sand &
Stringer, Lawrence B. "Chapter XX: Transportational" in History of Logan
County Illinois (1911). Reprinted by UNIGRAPHIC, INC., Evansville, IN:
St. Louis Museum of
http://transportmuseumassociation.org/. Access the following and scroll
to "Baltimore & Ohio 50" to see a magnificent machine that moved countless
times through the namesake town of Lincoln, Illinois:
Email comments, corrections, questions, or suggestions.
Also please email me if this Web site helps you decide to visit Lincoln,
"The Past Is But the