My friend Bert, who I've mentioned at my other blog, is a collector of ephemera and most especially photographs. Last week when I visited him he mentioned a story about his father at the Downers Grove train station. I remembered I had a post card of the station and emailed this to him last night.
Click on image to see it larger.
The card brought back the following memories for Bert:
"As a child in the late 1920"s and 1930"s. Bert used to stand on this station's platform and watch the freight trains go by. He would look at the many railroad signs on the freight cars and dream of those places that seemed so remote to his childhood visions of being there. Little did Bert know that his eventual home would be in the city of Oakland, CA where the Southern Pacific trains terminated its runs, then people took ferries across the bay to San Francisco and connected to Peninsula trains at the Townsend Street terminal, on journeys to all points south. But today, like dreams, that vast railroad junction in Oakland has vanished and changed into large ports-of-call for container ships to unload their cargoes. Has the Downers Grove railroad station survived, he wonders?"--Bert
Bert, the station is still there. Click here to see a recent photo. And here's a fun video of a steam engine going lickity split through the station.
Video by http://www.youtube.com/user/ryanrules281
From Wikipedia I find the following about Downers Grove:
Downers Grove was founded in 1832 by Pierce Downer, a religious evangelist from New York. Its other early settlers included the Blodgett, Curtiss, and Carpenter families. The original settlers were mostly migrants from the Northeastern United States and Northern Europe. The first schoolhouse was built in 1844.During the American Civil War, 119 soldiers from Downers Grove served in the Union Army; at least one of these was interred in the cemetery downtown. There was an abolitionist presence in the village, and some of the older homes are thought to have been stops on the Underground Railroad. However, there is no evidence to substantiate this claim.The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad was extended from Aurora to Chicago through Downers Grove in 1862, boosting its population. The town was incorporated in March 1873. Its somewhat unusual spelling ("Apostrophe-free since 1873") remains a minor historical mystery.In April 1947 the wreck of a Burlington Railroad Twin Cities Zephyr passenger train killed three people, including the engineer. The streamliner struck a large tractor which had fallen from a freight train and two passenger cars crashed through a wall of the Main Street Station.The construction of two major toll roads along the village's northern and western boundaries, I-355 in 1989 and what is now referred to as I-88 in 1958, facilitated its access to the rest of Chicago metropolitan area. Downers Grove has developed into a bustling Chicago suburb with many diverse businesses, including the headquarters for Rossi Furniture, FTD, Sara Lee, Arrow Gear Magnetrol, Dover, TMK IPSCO and Luxury tour operator, Abercrombie & Kent. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
It's funny where ephemera leads. I've had this post card for many years and never thought about posting it. Now it's linked forever with Bert. Thanks Bert!
More of Bert's railroad nostalgia:
At one point in my youthful years in Downers Grove we lived in a house alongside the railroad tracks. Next to the house was a railroad "Roundhouse" for locomotives to be turned around and face the opposite direction. As trains sped by locomotive "firemen" would sometimes shovel off coal along the railroad tracks for us "poor people" to pick up and burn in our stoves. People really helped each other then. When the Burlington Railroad Twin Cities Zephyr passenger trains were first put into service, a pair of them slowly rode "side-by-side" through Downers Grove. We watched them pass in awe of such beautiful art deco design and technical advances. Eat your hearts out Charles Lindbergh & Amelia Earhart for pioneering the demise of flights that put passenger trains to rest.