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Mt. Pulaski , Illinois
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July 13, 1961     Times
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July 13, 1961
 

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of its founding and growth down through the years. ployed by the Illinois Central. was called, would connect up i Peoria, Decatur & Evansville line. They earned nearly $100,000 for Mount Pulaski, Illinois The state of Illinois had devel- oped slowly until the middle of the 19th century. Cities and towns were almost exclusively located on rivers or lakes. Transporta. tion between these settlements was slow and difficult. The vast prairies on the interior of the state were unpopulated because of their inaccessibility. With the coming of the railroads in the 1840's rapid development of ag- riculture and industry took place. Markets for local goods were as close as the nearest railroad sta- tion. Industries, with newly created markets requiring more and more manufactured goods, sprang up throughout the state. The growth of Illinois was so rapid that only one other state ever equalled its record of ex- pansion and development. Chartered in 1851, the Illinois Central was planned to open the rich and fertiie land in Illinois. When its lines were completed in 1856, the 705-mile railroad was the longest in the world. Attracted Settlers In the building of the railroad the Illinois Central sent men to the eastern cities of the United States and to Europe to attract settlers and workers to Illinois. The Illinois Central was the first railroad to employ colonization agents and establish a land off- ice to sell land to settlers at low prices, on easy terms, and at low interest rates. With the rapid expansion tak- ing place in Illinois, industrial and agricultural centers began to appear and the competition be- tween the railroads for the right to serve these centers became very keen. Mt. Pulaski, because it was served by two railroads, the Gilman, Clinton & Spring- field, and, the Peoria, Decatur & Evansville Railroad, which con- nected several hundred industri. al and agricultural centers, had a ringside seat when the great em- pire builders clashed over rail- mad routes. Shortened Route Soon after the charter lines of the Illinois Central Railroad were completed, the railroad began to look for a more direct route be- tween Chicago and St. Louis. A- bout the same time, a group of; central Illinois business men filed, with the Illinois Central at Gil- man and the Springfield & St. Louis Railroad at Springfield. The Illinois Central agreed to lend financial aid to help in the con- struction of the new railroad in return for the use of these lines to run their trains to St. Louis. This route was substantially shorter than the mute previously used by the Illinois Central and put the railroad in a better posi- tion to compete for traffic be- tween St. Louis and Chicago. Official Opening Sept. 15, 1871 On Sept. 15, 1871, a special train carrying railroad officials and local dignitaries steamed into Mt. Pulaski to anounce the opening of the Gilman, Clinton & Springfield Railroad and the be. ginning of through service be- tween Chicago and St. Louis. With the opening of the line, residents of Mount Pulaski, had their first opportunity to use this new rail service. Special excurs- ion trains were run over the Ill- inois Central to Chicago to the scene of the great Chicago Fire. The Illinois Central was a pio- neer in offering luxurious service to residents of Mt. Pulaski travel- ing between St. Louis and Chi- cago. It was the first railroad to introduce cafe compartment cars on this line. Also, it was the first railroad west of the Alleghenies to introduce stateroom sleeping cars on its lines. Serving Mt. Pul- aski, such trains as The Lightn- ing Express, The Diamond Ex- press and The Daylight Express were known throughout the coun- try for their excellent service and their travel comfort. First Electric Head/tght Later in the same year that the Gilman, Clinton & Springfield railroad reached Mt. Pulaski an- other railroad began to serve the community. It was the Peoria, Decatur & Evansville. The history of the line includes no fewer than 28 companies, the oldest of which was the Peoria & Warsaw Railroad, formed in 1839 when there were only a few miles of railroad track in the state. It was on the Peoria, Decatur & Evans- ville Railroad that the first elec- tric headlight was installed, an event which created almost as much interest among the people along its line as the first stream- lined train created on the Illinois Airplane and Train Race No doubt many citizens of Mt. Pulaski remember the famous race in 1910 between the Illinois Central's Daylight Special and Walter Brookins in a Wright Brothers biplane, between Chica- go and Springfield. In this re- cord breaking flight, during which he averaged 33 miles per hour, Brookins followed the mute of the Illinois Central. The train carried a special car of mechan- ics, extra gasoline, a portable forge, tools, and duplicate parts for the bi plane. The overall time of the plane was 7 hours and 9 minutes, including time lost at Gilman and Mt. Pulaski where the aviator came down to wait for the" special train to bring him fresh supplies of gasoline. His time aloft was 5 hours and 45 minutes. The Daylight made the run in 4 hours and 47 minutes. Soybean "Special Train" Since 1855, when the Illinois Central promoted the first state agricultural fair ever held in Ill- inois, the railroad has been active in promoting agricultural de- velopment along its lines. Today the Illinois Central maintains the largest agricultural and forestry department of any railroad in the United State When the soybean plant was introduced to this country in the early 1920's, the Illinois Central became interested in the plant as a crop for farmers along its lines. In 1927 the rail- road operated a "soybean special" train throughout Illinois to ac- quaint farmers with the new plant. Today central Illinois is the soybean capitol of the world. Beef and dairy cattle programs were started by the Illinois Central and continue to be an active part of the railroad's program. More than 15,000 soil tests are made each year by the Illinois Central's testing laboratory as a service to farmers in the railroad's territory. New Industry Located Every third day a new industry is located along the lines of the Illinois Central. During the past five years 115 new industries, with the help of the Illinois Cen- tral industrial development de- partment, have found their homes along the Illinois Central lines in Illinois alone. Such companies as Valley Steel Products, Norge Division-Borg Warner and Libby, their service. Together F. K. Stanford, super- intendent of the Illinois Division with headquarters at Champaign, R. W. Busk, district traffic agent! at Mattoon, and C. L. Frazier,; agent at Mr. Pulaski, work to i maintain the high standard of] transportation service which the citizens of at. Pulaski look to Conrtant employmenl for ttvo given. Good hoard can be iolla, per week. This is a rate chance for Weet, being sure of n a hea]thy elimat,'. mug|it cheap, and f.r fertility n any part of the Ur.o,,. the Illinois Central tO provide and Men with famd,e, preferred. , which has earned for that rail- For farther inf,rmation in rel av Lt  C.4meJ Raroad Oce. road the distinctive title: "Main .K1,| Line of Mid-America". L3 BB.O00.Dw00 ! / A VXEW OF THE ILLINOIS CENTRAL DAYLIGHT probably about the time of the race with the Brookins-Wright airplane between Chicago and Springfield. / FIRST ILLINOIS CENTRAL SKMIANF. TRAIN "the ,,Green Diamond." The train was introduced in 1936 and continued in ser- vice until 1947 when equipment was replaced.