Category Archives: Railroads

‘Diamond Special’ train hijacking, 1913

Two audacious robbers hijacked the Illinois Central Railroad’s “Diamond Special” train near Glenarm on June 18, 1913. The northbound train, which ran between St. Louis and Chicago, was due in Springfield from the south, bearing 150 passengers and an American … Continue reading

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Ridgely family

Nicholas Ridgely, a Maryland native who moved to Sangamon County in 1835, was the father of 13 children by two wives (both named Jane). Here is a look at several Ridgelys who played prominent roles in 19th-century Springfield. *Nicholas Ridgely … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Business, Industry, Local government, Prominent figures, Railroads | 6 Comments

Two days in May: The funeral of Abraham Lincoln

As the funeral train carrying the coffin of President Abraham Lincoln pulled into Springfield’s Chicago & Alton station the morning of May 3, 1865, dozens of special trains had already disgorged visitors from all points of the compass. Thousands more … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Historic Sites, John T. Stuart, Lincoln Tomb, Lincoln, Abraham, Local government, Railroads | 2 Comments

Springfield in 1912 (‘General Facts’)

Above is a page from Springfield: The Capital of the State of Illinois (1912), published by the Springfield Commercial Association, a forerunner of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. Perhaps the most illuminating “general fact” to the modern reader is … Continue reading

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Chatham railroad history

In the early 1800s, like many other places on what was then “the frontier,” lack of reliable transportation was an impediment to the growth of Sangamon County. The Sangamon River was an outlet to the Illinois River, but was too … Continue reading

Posted in Buildings, Communities, Historic Sites, Museums, Railroads, Transportation | Tagged | 3 Comments

The interurban railway

The Illinois Traction System, though originally an electric railway, was far more than a trolley. The ITS, also widely known as “the interurban” or “the traction,” was, in fact, a lifeline for many in central Illinois during the first half … Continue reading

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Cornelius Flagg Farmstead, Sherman

                                                  Flagg Farmstead, 2013 (SCHS photo) The Flagg Farmstead , 500 Old Tipton Road in Sherman … Continue reading

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Northern Cross Railroad

The Northern Cross Railroad, the first railroad in Illinois, briefly operated from Springfield to Meredosia, giving central Illinois long-coveted access to the Illinois River and then the Mississippi. The line was one of eight railroads called for in the state’s … Continue reading

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Pawnee Railroad

As railroads became vital to community development in the late 19th century, Pawnee farmers and businessmen took the unusual step of financing and building their own rail link. The line originally ran west from Pawnee to connect to the north-south … Continue reading

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Springfield in 1867 (map)

Although not to scale, the 1867 bird’s-eye view of Springfield drawn by A. Ruger for the Chicago Lithographing Co. is considered accurate in its placement and depiction of city buildings and streets. Note that the map is oriented with north … Continue reading

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