J. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) Currey.

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from Minnesota Junction, Wisconsin, to Fond du Lac, was built by the Rock River
Valley Union Railroad. The next year, 1855, the Illinois & Wisconsin Railroad and
the Rock River Valley Union Railroad were consolidated under the corporate name
of the Chicago, St. Paul & Fond du Lac Railroad, but the gap between Gary, Illi-
nois, and Minnesota Junction was not completed until 1859. The financial panic
of 1857 stopped further extension and the Chicago, St. Paul & Fond du Lac Rail-
road became bankrupt.


During 1859. the legislatures of Illinois and Wisconsin authorized the reorgani-
zation of the Chicago, St. Paul & Fond du Lac Railroad, and a new company was
formed called the Chicago & North-Western Railway Company, which secured all
the rights and privileges of the Chicago, St. Paul & Fond du Lac. This, then, was
the first corporate existence of the road which is the subject of this account. By
1862 the line was completed to Green Bay, Wisconsin, two hundred and forty-two
miles from Chicago, via Janesville. The road at this time owned thirty-three en-


gines and six hundred and seventy-four cars. In 1861 the line running west from
Kenosha, Wisconsin, to Rockford, Illinois, was purchased by the Chicago & North-
Western Railway Company.


That portion of the present Milwaukee Division of the Chicago & North-West-
ern Railway, in Illinois, was built by the Chicago & Milwaukee Railroad, and
trains commenced running as far as Waukegan, December 19th, 1854. A time
table published in the Chicago Daily Journal of Saturday, February 10th, 1855,
shows one passenger train in each direction between Chicago and Waukegan, and
time consumed two hours.

The road south from Milwaukee to the State Line was a part of the Green
Bay, Milwaukee & Chicago Railroad, chartered by the Wisconsin legislature March
13th, 1851. The name of this road was changed, *on March 6th, 1857, to the Mil-
waukee & Chicago Railroad, and, on June 5th, 1863, it was consolidated with the
Chicago & Milwaukee Railroad. The Chicago & Milwaukee Railroad in turn was
leased to the Chicago & North- Western Railway May 2d, 1866. It was finally
consolidated with the latter road on June 7th, 1883.

We have seen that the newly built Chicago & Milwaukee Railroad ran its first
train, after its completion, from Chicago to Waukegan, December 19th, 1854.
Soon afterwards through trains to Milwaukee commenced running, as will ap-
pear from a notice published in the Daily Democratic Press of Chicago, under
date of June 9th, 1855, as follows:

"Chicago & Milwaukee Railroad Opened to Milwaukee.

"Two trains daily each way leaving Chicago Station on West Side at 9 A. M.
and 4 P. M."


A local train service, for the convenience of residents on the North Shore, was
inaugurated on this line on November 13th, 1856, when the first train made its
initial trip from Chicago to Waukegan. The trains in this service did not run
through to Milwaukee, but ended the run at Waukegan.

The present Chicago & North-Western Railway system is in general the re-
sult of a great number of mergers and consolidations. The oldest corporation
among its various components was the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad. This
name disappeared at the time of the "Great Consolidation" in 1864, and was re-
placed by that of the Chicago & North-Western, though the name of the latter had
been in use only from June 6th, 1859, as previously stated. The details of the con-
solidation referred to are given on a succeeding page. During that year the legis-
latures of Illinois and Wisconsin had authorized the organization of a company
under this name, and its first official act was the purchase of the bankrupt Chicago,
St. Paul & Fond du Lac Railroad Company for $10,849,938. William B. Ogden
was the leading spirit in the affairs of the North-Western at this period, as he
had been in those of the Galena & Chicago Union, and became the first president
of the newly formed company.

The Galena & Chicago Union in the course of its career had absorbed a num-


her of lines as we have seen, as had also the Chicago, St. Paul & Fond du Lac.
The latter company with all its components had passed into the hands of the North-
Western in 1859, and these two great corporations became rivals in the territory
west and north from Chicago. It was therefore a wise policy on the part of the
managers of these two companies to work for a consolidation. Ogden had been
at the head of affairs in the older organization, and now having become the leader
in the newer one, possessed the necessary weight and influence to bring about this
most desirable result.


"We have now reached a point," says the author of "Yesterday and To-Day,"
"where we have to part company with the 'Pioneer Line.' In the future it has not
only to share the fortunes of another corporation, but is to exist, be maintained and
operated under another corporation's legal title. We have, in the preceding pages,
seen it grow from a mere name on paper until at last it became a fact, and soon
the leading railroad of the west. It was the leader in nearly everything that be-
longed to railroad operation. In financial standing and credit it was without a

"It had the best, largest, and most modern locomotive engines. Its cars were
inferior to those of no other road. It built the first and had the best passenger
depot in Chicago, and better facilities for handling freight than any other road
there. It had built and adopted the first railroad mail-car that was placed in
service. It also had the first contract for the use of Pullman sleeping cars that
was made by the Pullman Company. Its friends were legion and all of them saw
with regret the extinction of its name." 19


It was on June 3d, 1864, that the Galena & Chicago Union, and the Chicago &
North- Western, became united in one great corporation under the name of the
Chicago & North-Western Railway Company. "The union of the Galena corpor-
ation with that of the North-Western was much more than a seven-days' wonder.
It was talked about from the Atlantic to the slopes of the Missouri river, and
opinions were as varied about it as were the people that gave them. It is be-
lieved that this was the first really important railroad consolidation that had
taken place in the United States."

Upon the completion of the consolidation the directors of the new company is-
sued an explanatory circular from which the following is quoted:

"Among the reasons which influenced those who, on account of their large in-
terests in these roads, have given more particular attention to the subject and ad-
vised this course are the following: Much of the territory traversed by these roads
was so situated as to induce injurious competition between them. The union of
both gives greater strength and power, favoring more advantageous and extended
connections, and better relations with other railroads built and to be built; and
will aid to prevent the construction of such roads as would only serve to create

10 "Yesterday and To-day," p. 32.


injurious competition, without any adequate increase of the aggregate earnings of
the roads competing.

"Decided economy, material reduction of expenses, and increased and more
profitable service of engines and cars will also be the result of cooperation in the
place of competition, and of one management for both roads. The basis and terms
of this consolidation are substantially as follows: For each share of Galena &
Chicago Union Railroad Company's stock the holder will receive one share of the
preferred stock and one share of the common stock of the consolidated Chicago &
North-Western Railway Company, and three dollars in money.


"The preferred stock of this company to be issued in exchange for the stock of
the Galena company is entitled to preferences to the aggregate extent of ten per
cent in the dividends which may be declared in any one year, out of the net earnings
in such year, in the manner following, to- wit: First to a preference of seven per
cent; and after, dividends of seven per cent on the common stock; then secondly,
to a further preference of three per cent ; after, a further dividend of three per cent
on the common stock; both classes of stock shall be entitled to equal rates per share
in any further dividends.


"The principal reason for dropping the pioneer name of Galena & Chicago
Union Railroad Company in the consolidation," continues the circular above referred
to, "will be apparent when it is observed that no portion of either of the consolidated
roads touched Galena ; and to retain the name of the Chicago & North-Western Rail-
way Company involved no change of books or blanks, and is sufficiently comprehen-
sive to include the large territory now penetrated by the united roads." 20

Thus the Galena & Chicago Union, with its main line between Chicago and Free-
port, and its leased lines into Wisconsin, Iowa and points further distant, having
a total mileage of five hundred and forty-five miles, were joined to the Chicago &
North-Western, with its main line between Chicago and Green Bay and its leased
lines in connection therewith, having a total mileage of three hundred and fifteen
miles ; making a grand total of eight hundred and sixty miles after the Great Con-
solidation of 1864 had taken place. The following is a list of the officers of the
Chicago & North-Western Railway after the consolidation: W. B. Ogden, Presi-
dent; Perry H. Smith, Vice President; Jas. R. Young, Secretary; J. B. Redfield,
Assistant Secretary; Geo. P. Lee, Treasurer; G. L. Dunlap, Superintendent; J. H.
Howe, General Solicitor; C. B. Talcott, Chief Engineer; C. S. Tappan, General
Freight Agent; B. F. Patrick, General Passenger Agent.


The Winona & St. Peter Railroad, which began construction of a railroad west
of Winona in 1864, built as far as Rochester, Minnesota, that year received a vain-
able grant of land from the State of Minnesota. On October 31st, 1867, this cor-
poration passed into the control of the Chicago & North-Western Railway Company,

20 "Yesterday and To-day," p. 33.


President of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway
since 1887


and the same year the line was extended to Waseca, Minnesota, one hundred and
live miles west of the Mississippi river in Minnesota.


William B. Ogden, the first Mayor of Chicago in 1837, who had been president
of the Chicago & North-Western Railway and some of its predecessors from 1859,
was on June 4th, 1 868, succeeded by Henry Keep, who held the office until his death,
which occurred in July, 1869. Alexander Mitchell was elected president, Septem-
ber 1st, 1869, and he held that office until June 3rd, 1870. He was followed by
John F. Tracy, who held the office from June 3rd, 1870, until June 19th, 1873, when
Albert Keep was elected president.

In the report for the ninth fiscal year ending May 31, 1868, the president re-
ports the purchase from D. N. Barney and his associates of all their interests in
the Winona & St. Peter Railroad and the La Crosse, Trempeleau & Prescott Rail-
road. These roads were operated separately by the Chicago & North-Western Rail-
way, from the date of their purchase in 1868 until the completion of the Baraboo
Air Line Railroad from Madison, Wisconsin, to Winona Junction, a distance of one
hundred and twenty-nine miles, in 1 873, thus making a continuous line from Chicago
to Watertown, South Dakota.

In the tenth fiscal year ending May 31, 1869, the equipment of the Chicago &
North-Western Railway consisted of two hundred and fifty-five locomotives, one
hundred and fifty-five passenger coaches, and five thousand, four hundred and fifty-
eight cars of all kinds. The earnings from all sources were in round numbers, $13,-

During the fiscal year ending May 31, 1871, the line running from Geneva to
St. Charles, Illinois, a distance of two and one-half miles, was completed. During
this same period the purchase by the Chicago & North-Western Railway Company
of the Iowa Midland Railroad, extending from Lyons, Iowa, seventy-five miles west
to Anamosa, was effected. The line from Richmond, Illinois, to Lake Geneva, Wis-
consin, was completed in the fall of 1871.

The year ending May 31st, 1872, witnessed the completion of the line to Mari-
nette, Wisconsin, on the Menominee river. Operation of this part of the line com-
menced in February, 1872. On March 31st, 1872, John C. Gault resigned as general
superintendent, and was succeeded by Mr. Marvin Hughitt. The year 1872 wit-
nessed the building of the line from Geneva, Illinois, south to Batavia, a distance of
three and one-fifth miles.


During the fiscal year ending May 31st, 1873, the Mayfair "cut off" was com-
pleted which connects the Wisconsin Division and the Galena Division, starting at
a point between Mayfair and Irving Park in the twenty-seventh ward, and connect-
ing with the Galena Division five miles west of the Chicago station. This saved the
hauling to the Chicago yards of all live-stock destined for the Union Stock Yards,
and all freight going east and south.

The general office at 323 West Kinzie street (as at present numbered) was com-


pleted and first occupied December 1st, 1873. Trains commenced running regularly
between Fort Howard, Wisconsin and Escanaba, Michigan, during December, 1872;
the completion of this line secured to the Railway Company a land grant of a little
more than one million acres, most of it well timbered, which in later years furnished
a large tonnage for transportation. Two hundred and forty acres, five miles from
Wells street depot was purchased for the erection of new shops for the Company.

The Baraboo Air Line Railroad, or the Madison extension, was completed to
Winona Junction, and opened for business September 14th, 1873, thus completing
the line through to Winona, Minnesota. The North-Western Union, extending from
Milwaukee to Fond du Lac, a distance of nearly sixty-three miles, was completed
on September 7, 1873. This year witnessed the "Granger Legislation" in the vari-
ous states, and the financial panic of 1 873.


At the close of the fiscal year, May 31st, 1874, the total mileage of the Chicago
& North-Western Railway and proprietary roads was nineteen hundred and fifty-
two miles, and the gross earnings $15,631,000, being an increase in ten years of
nearly eleven hundred miles, that is, since the great consolidation of 1864. The
next few years show a steady increase in mileage as well as tonnage.

On May 23rd, 1881, trains commenced running into the new passenger station
located at the corner of Wells and Kinzie streets. This station when completed
was considered the largest and finest passenger station in Chicago, and allowed
all the passengers from the three divisions of the road to arrive at and depart from
the same station.


In November, 1882, the Chicago & North-Western Railway Company purchased
a majority of the capital stock of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Rail-
way, which consisted of eleven hundred and forty-seven miles of first class railroad
and equipment, extending in a northwesterly direction from Elroy, Wisconsin, to
St. Paul, Minneapolis and Duluth, Minnesota, and to Superior, Wisconsin, on Lake
Superior; and extending from Minneapolis southwest to Omaha, Nebraska, besides
many important branch lines.

During the fiscal year ending May 31st, 1882, the construction of a second track
from Clybourn Junction to Montrose (now May fair), and from Clybourn Junction
to Evanston, was begun. The year closing May 31st, 1884, saw the work on the
second track on the Wisconsin Division continued towards Des Plaines, Illinois.

In July, 1884, the Chicago & North-Western assumed control of the Sioux City
& Pacific Railroad, which owned one hundred and seven miles extending from Mis-
souri Valley to Sioux City, Iowa, and from California Junction to Fremont, Ne-
braska, also the control of the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad, which
consisted of three hundred and eleven miles of railroad running west from Fremont,
Nebraska, including branches. The gross earnings of the Chicago & North-Western
Railway for the year ending May 31, 1884, amounted to $25,000,000, and the total
miles operated three thousand, seven hundred and sixty-three, being an increase of


nearly $10,000,000, in earnings, and an increase of nearly one hundred per cent in
miles operated over that for the fiscal year ending May 31st, 1874.


During the year ending May 31st, 1885, the grade crossing at Chicago avenue
and Halsted street was eliminated by the erection of viaducts. January 1st, 1887,
the general offices of the Company were moved from Kinzie street to a remodelled
building on the northwest corner of Lake street and Fifth avenue. On June 2nd
of the same year Mr. Marvin Hughitt was elected president of the Company. Dur-
ing the year ending May 31st, 1887, a new iron double-track draw bridge was built
over the north branch of the Chicago river near Deering station, replacing a single
track wooden one. The construction of a connecting link between the Wisconsin
Division at Mayfair and the Milwaukee Division at North Evanston, now Central
street, Evanston, was commenced during 1889. During the year ending May 31st,
1890, the present commodious passenger station at Milwaukee was completed. The
year ending May 31st, 1891, saw the completion of the second track between Chi-
cago and the Mississippi river. On September 1st, 1893, the Chicago & North-
Western Railway absorbed by purchase the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western
Railway, consisting of seven hundred and fifty-seven miles of well constructed and
equipped railway, extending in a northerly direction from Milwaukee, through Wis-
consin and into the upper peninsula of Michigan. The report of the year ending
May 31st, 1894, showed a total mileage of five thousand and thirty miles, gross
earnings of $31,986,000, and the number of engines one thousand and ten. These
figures do not include mileage and earnings of lines west of the Missouri river.

Track elevation was begun in Chicago May, 1895, on the Galena Division, which
was one of the greatest and most expensive improvements ever begun, both for the
Railway Company and for the public. During the year ending May 31st, 1898, a
new riveted-steel, lattice-truss, double-track, center-pier swing bridge, two hundred
feet in length, operated by electricity, was erected over the North Branch of the
Chicago river at the Wells street terminal, replacing a double-track steel truss bridge
one hundred and seventy feet in length. During the year ending May 31st, 1900,
the present commodious brick and stone passenger station was completed at Cly-
bourn Junction, Chicago. On December 12th, 1900, the directors inaugurated a
pension system which retired all employes who had reached the age of seventy
years, and who had been employed in the service at least twenty years or more, on
a pension. This became effective January 1st, 1901. In the report for the year
ending May 31st, 1902, the president reports the completion of the double track of
the main line from Chicago to Council Bluffs Transfer, Iowa, on the Missouri river,
a distance of four hundred and ninety miles, being the first road out of Chicago to
complete this important improvement.


On December 4th, 1902, the Annex to the Wells street passenger station was
opened for the accommodation of suburban traffic. During the year ending June
30, 1904, the construction of third and fourth tracks between Chicago and Milwaukee
was commenced at a point on the Mayfair-Evanston "cut off," north of the crossing


of the North Branch of the Chicago river. These tracks are now used by through
passenger and freight trains. In June, 1905, the general offices of the Company
were moved into a splendid office building on the northeast corner of Jackson boule-
vard and Franklin street. This is the finest building in Chicago devoted entirely
to the general office use of a railway company.


Forty years had now elapsed since the great consolidation of the Galena & Chi-
cago Union and the Chicago & North-Western Railway, in 1 864. The eight hundred
and sixty miles had increased to seven thousand, four hundred and eleven miles
operated during the year ending June 30, 1904; and the total gross earnings to
$53,334,000. The total number of engines were now thirteen hundred and seven,
and the total number of cars fifty-two thousand, eight hundred and seven.


In the annual report for the year ending June 30th, 1907, mention is made of
the new passenger terminal which has lately been completed on the West Side be-
tween Lake street on the north, and Madison street on the south, occupying three
blocks between Canal street on the east and Clinton street on the west. This station,
now completed, is the most imposing and commodious railway station in Chica-
go, and is used exclusively by the Chicago & North-Western Railway. Trains
enter the station on elevation, and the train shed contains sixteen tracks. The
cost of the new right of way, land for the station, and the station itself ap-
proximated twenty millions of dollars.

A new double track, single-leaf, bascule bridge was completed over the North
Branch of the Chicago river at Kinzie street in September, 1909; and was opened
for use of trains Monday morning, on the 21st of that month. This is the longest
single-leaf, double track, bascule bridge in America.

The year ending June 30th, 1909, witnessed the completion of the new double
track bridge across the Mississippi river between East Clinton, Illinois, and Clinton,
Iowa, a distance between abutments on the Illinois and Iowa sides of four thousand
eight hundred and twelve feet.

The total number of locomotive engines owned by the Company is 1520, and the
total number of cars of all descriptions is 65,971. Of the latter number 1078 are
passenger cars, including parlor and dining cars, 63,828 freight cars, and 1065 ca-
boose and baggage cars.

As stated above, the engines in use on the Chicago & North-Western Railway
and its predecessors bore names just as vessels do. In the book "Yesterday and
To-day," the names of sixty-one of the engines are given, among which are "Pioneer,"
"Shawbeney," "Waubansee," "Winnebago," "Wabashaw," "Black Hawk," "Sauga-
nash," "Pecatonica," and others having historical significance. We have already re-
ferred to the old chief Shabbona, whose name appears spelled in different ways
"Shawbeney," "Shaubena," or "Shabbona," and who was a familiar sight to early
residents of Chicago, proudly standing by the engine which bore his name as it
stood in the depot, pointing it out to people while they were passing and occasion-
ally exclaiming, "Shabbona me!"

By courtesy t>f the Chicago & Northwestern Railway


By courtesy of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway



A summary of the leading facts in regard to the Chicago & North-Western Rail-
way as shown by the annual report issued on June 30th, 1910, was as follows:

The total number of miles of railroad owned by the Chicago & North-Western
Railway on June 30th, 1910, was 7,506.47. In addition to this mileage there are
122.92 miles of railroad operated under leases and trackage rights. The above
mileage is located as follows:

In Illinois 685.02 miles

In Wisconsin 1968.73 "

In Michigan 519.88 "

In Iowa 1579.71 "

In Minnesota 650.30 "

In South Dakota 978.96 "

Online LibraryJ. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) CurreyChicago: its history and its builders, a century of marvelous growth (Volume v.1) → online text (page 38 of 59)