Monday, October 19, 2015

Following the Tracks Eastward…

In June following our visit to our son and his family in the Omaha area, Laurie and I took the 2 lane highways across Iowa, part of Illinois and Indiana as well as through Kentucky.  Wherever possible, we basically followed the highways that ran parallel to the rail lines… 

I’d located a number of old railroad depots along the way and we searched out as many of them as time allowed.  Our little side trips keep the drive more interesting…

This is one of 2 depots in Charlton Iowa.  We didn’t locate the other one… This restored Chicago, Burlington and Quincy freight depot was built in 1904.  As you can see, it was restored and most recently it has been used as an arts and cultural center and rental hall.

Charlton has a population of about 4,300 and it is the county seat for Lucas County Iowa.  The town was first laid out or platted back in 1850.

·       Controversial labor leader John L. Lewis, who was the President of the United Mine Workers Union from 1920 to 1960, was from Lucas County.  He was instrumental in the re-election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936.  However, during WWII he led strikes against the coal mining companies and the Federal Government which hampered the war effort.  He was a hero to coal miners across the USA.

This is one of the 2 depots that we found in Veedersburg Indiana.  This combination depot at 116 East 1st Street was built ca. 1880 by the Peoria and Eastern Railroad.  One wing of the depot has reportedly been removed…

The Peoria and Eastern Railroad’s route ran from Peoria Illinois to Indianapolis Indiana.  This railroad was ‘born’ in 1866 as the Danville, Urbana, Bloomington and Pekin Railroad.  When it merged with an Indiana line, the name changed to the Indianapolis, Bloomington and Western Railroad.  (It was fondly referred to as the “I Better Walk” Railroad)

This former depot now houses the Fountain County War Museum.  The museum features donations from the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and Desert Storm.

The second and very colorful Veedersburg passenger depot on US Hwy. 136 was built by the Toledo, St. Louis and Western Railroad in 1903.  Veedersburg currently has a population of about 2,100…

·       In 1909 brickyards helped to support the town’s 1,757 residents.  The Wabash Clay Company (Culver Blocks and The Veedersburg Paver) in Veedersburg had the contract to supply 3.2 million bricks for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Due to the large number of bricks and short time to deliver, 4 other brick yards were subcontracted to fill about 10% of the contract.

That’s about it for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by to check out the depots we viewed along the road…

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Another good history lesson! I'm beginning to think you were really a history professor. You present the info in an interesting fashion! It's easy to imagine how busy these stations were back in the day. And now we're down to them being newer and in major cities mainly. Just wondering, have you ever visited the old L&N RR station at 10th and Broadway in Louisville? Thanks for the interesting post and have a wonderful day!

  2. I like the idea of following the RR tracks.