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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
 
 

Union, Illinois Historical Markers

 
1851 Marengo Station and Marker image, Touch for more information
By William Fischer, Jr., September 6, 2010
1851 Marengo Station and Marker
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — 1851 Marengo Station
Chicago's first railroad, the Galena & Chicago Union, began building westward from Chicago in 1848, through Turner Junction (now West Chicago) to Rockford and Freeport. That railroad later became part of the Chicago & North Western and (in the . . . — Map (db m39048) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — Chicago and North Western 9933 — 1950 RDC-1 Rail Diesel Car
The self-propelled Rail Diesel Car (RDC) was introduced in 1949 as a low-cost alternative for branchline and commuter runs, available in five combinations of coach seating and baggage and mail space. Power was provided by two diesel engines and a . . . — Map (db m39254) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — Chicago Railways Company Date Stone — ca. 1908
This date stone came from the Chicago Railways Company "West Shops" complex located in Chicago at Maple and Harding Ave. Streetcars were built there and the shops survive to this day serving the Chicago Transit Authority. This stone was part of a . . . — Map (db m39262) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific 37A — 1961 E9A Diesel-Electric Cab Unit
Along with long-distance passenger service from Chicago to Milwaukee, the Twin Cities, Omaha, and the Pacific Northwest, the Milwaukee Road also ran an extensive commuter service to Chicago's Western and Northern suburbs. Electro-Motive's . . . — Map (db m39242) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — Chicago's Passenger Stations
In the 1920's, Chicago had six major "steam road" passenger depots, along with numerous rapid transit and electric interurban stations. The main building, or "headhouse," of only one of the six grand old stations (Dearborn) has survived, though . . . — Map (db m39155) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — Couplers
The earliest cars were joined together with chains or iron bars. Later cars used many different types of couplers, including the "link and pin." A foot-long iron oval, or link, fit into horizontal slots on the ends of adjacent cars, and was held in . . . — Map (db m39129) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — Early Railroad Signals
In the earliest days of railroading, train movements were controlled by flagmen, station agents, or other workers alongside the tracks, using flag or lantern signals to stop or start trains as needed. The first practical mechanical wayside . . . — Map (db m39267) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — Indiana Harbor Belt 1181 — Gasoline Motorcar ("Speeder")
The earliest motorcars (often called speeders or section cars) appeared just after the start of the 20th century, using many of the same mechanical components as the first automobiles. The first speeders used single-cylinder engines connected . . . — Map (db m39077) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — Railroad Brakes / Westinghouse Automatic Air Brakes
Railroad Brakes Early railroad cars had hand-operated brakes. A lever (and later a brake wheel) near the top of each car applied the brakes only on that individual car. The engineer directed brakemen to apply or release brakes by whistle . . . — Map (db m39130) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — Railroad Cats
Cats have been a part of the railroad scene almost since the first rails were laid. Many railroad facilities, such as yard offices, rural stations, and interlocking towers, have had resident cats who have adopted (or let themselves be adopted by) . . . — Map (db m39224) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — Railroad Rails
The first rails for horse-drawn tramways and gravity-powered railroads were simple wooden stringers. Later, wrought-iron straps on top of the wood stringers, and then cast iron rails, gave greater durability. The predecessor of the modern . . . — Map (db m39266) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — Railroad Standard Time
Before 1883, clocks were set to local "sun time," where noon was the time when the sun was highest in the local sky. Use of sun time meant that each town's time was different; Chicago would be nearly 5 minutes ahead of Rockford, or 15 minutes . . . — Map (db m39265) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — Sanding Tower
A locomotive's motion depends on the friction between its wheels and the steel rail. When rails are wet or slick, friction can decrease to the point that the wheels slip or spin, like an auto on an icy road. To increase friction, each locomotive . . . — Map (db m39152) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — Simplex Type Automatic Coupler
This type of coupler is an improved version of the first automatic coupler. It was designed shortly after the Civil War but not used extensively until after 1890. It continued in heavy useage until the World War II era. Variations of this . . . — Map (db m39079) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — Soo Terminal Warehouse Limestone Entablature ca. 1912
Illinois Railway Museum obtained the limestone entablature displayed here in 1996. The Soo Line Freight House opened on April 1, 1914. It was located at Roosevelt and Canal in Chicago, Il. The entire complex which covered 11 city blocks was . . . — Map (db m39222) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — Soo/Milwaukee Road X-5001 — Caboose/Business Car
This caboose was built in 1929 at the Milwaukee Road shops, in Milwaukee. It was originally numbered MILW 01612, as part of an order for 15 drovers cars. They were the first steel cupola cabooses built by the Milwaukee. The car was rebuilt in . . . — Map (db m39231) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — Spaulding Tower / Towers and Interlocking Plants
Spaulding Tower For over 90 years, this classic Midwestern interlocking tower protected the junction of the Milwaukee Road and the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern at Spaulding, just east of Elgin, Illinois. Originally built around 1890 when the . . . — Map (db m39263) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — TCAX (Thrall Car Co.) 20306 — 1971 All-Door Boxcar
Boxcars made up the largest portion of most railroad's freight car fleets until nearly the end of the Twentieth Century. They were used to carry almost any type of non-perishable solid cargo, ranging from cartons, crates, and bags of merchandise to . . . — Map (db m39241) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — The Burlington Zephyrs / Articulated Trains
The Burlington Zephyrs The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy introduced the three-car Zephyr, the first in a series of lightweight stainless steel streamliners, in 1934. The Zephyr (later called Pioneer Zephyr) captured . . . — Map (db m39210) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — The Elgin & Belvidere Electric Company/Rebirth of the Elgin & Belvidere
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 . . . — Map (db m39045) HM
Illinois (McHenry County), Union — Union Pacific 18 — 1960 Gas Turbine-Electric Cab Unit
Early diesels had relatively low power (800-2000 hp). Beginning in 1948, the Union Pacific and GE developed alternatives for heavy freight. The resulting 55 units replaced the usual diesel prime mover with an aircraft gas turbine. The last . . . — Map (db m39230) HM

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