Building an iron road to glory
Railroad corporate histories are notoriously complex, but few can match the bewildering maze presented by the Chicago, Peoria & St. Louis Railroad. I’ll attempt to share this story with a minimum of confusion.
Our saga begins in the 1850s when the envisioned construction of a railroad from Pekin down through Havana to Jacksonville made sound business sense. Well, at least it made more sense in the 1850s than it did by the time the 20th century rolled around.
You see, back then Pekin was an important river port. Some boosters thought it would eclipse Peoria. Jacksonville’s future also looked bright as manufacturers and commercial enterprises made it their home.