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C&NW Railroad History

River Forest train station
February 4, 2024 - 2:00:pm — 3:30:pm
Oak Park River Forest Museum

129 Lake St
Oak Park, IL 60302
United States


In the early 1840s, Oak Park area farmers faced a difficult journey to haul their crops to the port of Chicago.  William Butler Ogden changed all that when he conceived of a railroad line from the city where he held numerous properties out to the prosperous community of Galena.  Ogden’s hard work to find the funds for and see to the laying of tracks westward through Oak Park, Elgin and Rockford on to Galena changed everything for the future of Oak Park and River Forest when the first locomotive puffed into the area in 1848.

On February 4, Craig Pfannkuche, Archivist at the archives of the Chicago and North Western Historical Society, will discuss the evolution of the Chicago and North Western, now the Union Pacific, railroad through the Oak Park area. He will talk about the reason for the double tracking of the main line, the elevation of the track bed through the area, and will give a series of reasons for the nature of rail traffic in the area.

Craig will also bring with him a series of old maps which illustrate the railroad development of the area as well as depot information and photographs.  Further, he will discuss the genealogical implications of the material now available at the new C&NW archives building now located on the grounds of the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois.

Regular admission rates will apply; members receive free admission, so join today!

Advanced registration is not required, but feel free to contact us online or over the phone at 708-848-6755 so we can be sure to save you a seat.