Wabash Railroad Employees Hospital

wabashrrhospWabash Railroad employees injured on the job were brought to Springfield for treatment from 1884 to 1902 at a hospital dedicated to them.

The infirmary was established in the former James Conkling mansion at Sixth Street and Lawrence Avenue.  The hospital, the first operated by the railroad east of the Mississippi River, was maintained by contributions from all employees of the Wabash.

“A familiar site thirty years ago was the horse-drawn ambulance which jogged down to the station to meet every Wabash passenger train,” according to a 1928 newspaper article. “The hospital contained fifty beds and generally was taxed to its capacity.”

Despite protests from Springfield city fathers, the railroad moved the hospital to Decatur in 1902. The Catholic Diocese of Springfield bought the property, and St. Joseph’s Home for the aged opened there in 1903. When the diocese constructed the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in the 1920s, the bishop’s home was built on the site of the former railroad hospital.

More information: Fever  River Research’s Aristocracy Hill survey, 2003; Sangamon Valley Collection, Lincoln Libraryschs logo (2)

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3 Responses to Wabash Railroad Employees Hospital

  1. Stephanie StantonPayment says:

    Hi. Do you have any records of Theodore C Little? He was crushed between two trains while working on the railroad in 1905. He is my 96 year old grandmas grandfather. She is looking for any information on him or his family. Thank you.

    • LINDA JONES says:

      I looked in Newspapers.com for Theodore C Little and did not find anything in Illinois in 1905. Perhaps the date was different? Or maybe it didn’t happen in Illinois? I can look further if you would like. LSJRJT@YAHOO.COM

      • editor says:

        Ms. Stanton-Payment/Ms. Jones: Sorry I didn’t follow up on this sooner. But using Findagrave.com and Ancestry.com, I did find a death certificate for Mr. Little (1873-1905). It states he died in the Wabash Railroad Hospital in Peru, Ind., and is buried in New Baltimore, Mich. Cause of death was a fractured pelvis and internal injuries.
        The Wabash Hospital in Springfield closed in 1902, three years before Mr. Little’s accident. After first being moved to Decatur, it apparently moved again to Peru.
        I’ll try to email a copy of the death certificate to Ms. Payment.
        Again, sorry for not checking sooner.

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