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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Union in McHenry County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

The Elgin & Belvidere Electric Company/Rebirth of the Elgin & Belvidere

 
 
The Elgin & Belvidere Electric Company Marker - Upper image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., September 6, 2010
1. The Elgin & Belvidere Electric Company Marker - Upper
Inscription.
Upper:
The Elgin & Belvidere Electric Company
The Elgin & Belvidere interurban line carried passengers and freight between its named endpoints for more than two decades, until growth in private auto ownership, better roads, and the Depression drove the E&B (and many other interurban routes) out of business.

The E&B was completed in 1907. Connections were available at Belvidere for Rockford, Freeport, and Janesville, and in Elgin for Aurora and Chicago. Passenger locals stopped at crossroads and farmhouses, often carrying children to school or picking up the cans of fresh milk that gave the rural line its "Dairy Route" nickname.

Union was a favorite destination during the 1920's, as its taverns never shut down during Prohibition. Union was also the site of the world's first (1915) automated electrical substation, converting high voltage transmission line AC to 600 volt DC for the E&B's overhead.

With competition from the new Grant Highway (U.S. 20) and bus lines, the E&B closed down and ended all service in March, 1930.

Lower Marker:
Rebirth of the Elgin & Belvidere
By the early 1960's, the Illinois Electric Railway Museum had outgrown the original North Chicago location used since 1953.

IERM members investigated potential
Rebirth of the Elgin & Belvidere Marker - Lower image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr.
2. Rebirth of the Elgin & Belvidere Marker - Lower
new sites near Joliet, Batavia, Union, and East Troy, Wisconsin. The organization (renamed Illinois Railway Museum in 1962) eventually selected a portion of the abandoned Elgin & Belvidere interurban line between Union and Coyne Station Road, and purchased the vacant right-of-way for back taxes. IRM also bought an additional 20 acres of farmland on Olson Road to provide room for a permanent building and storage yard.

In 1964, the museum's collection of 42 cars moved to the site, where members constructed over a mile of track on the old E&B right-of-way east of Union. Electric passenger operations began in 1966.

Since then, IRM has expanded to more than 120 acres, with over a dozen buildings, ten miles of operating and display track, and nearly 400 pieces of rolling stock -- all accomplished by our volunteers!
 
Erected by Illinois Railway Museum.
 
Location. 42° 13.759′ N, 88° 31.669′ W. Marker is near Union, Illinois, in McHenry County. Touch for map. Marker is about 30 feet WNW of the East Union Station, on the grounds of the Illinois Railway Museum. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7000 Olson Road, Union IL 60180, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 1851 Marengo Station (within shouting distance of
The Elgin & Belvidere Electric Company/Rebirth of the Elgin & Belvidere Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., September 6, 2010
3. The Elgin & Belvidere Electric Company/Rebirth of the Elgin & Belvidere Marker
this marker); Indiana Harbor Belt 1181 (within shouting distance of this marker); Simplex Type Automatic Coupler (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Couplers (about 300 feet away); Railroad Brakes / Westinghouse Automatic Air Brakes (about 300 feet away); Railroad Standard Time (about 300 feet away); Spaulding Tower / Towers and Interlocking Plants (about 300 feet away); Railroad Rails (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Union.
 
Also see . . .
1. Don's Rail Photos of the B&E. (Submitted on December 16, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. History of the Illinois Railway Museum. (Submitted on December 16, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceRailroads & Streetcars
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 16, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 814 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on December 16, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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