Lewis University Adele Fay Williams Collection of Drawings and Prints (Lewis University)
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Railroad Bridge (Joliet, Illinois)
Railroad Bridge (Joliet, Illinois)
TitleRailroad Bridge (Joliet, Illinois)
CreatorWilliams, Adele Fay
Date of the DrawingJuly 29, 1928
DescriptionDrawing of a Santa Fe railroad bridge in Joliet, Illinois. This drawing is a part of the Robert E. Sterling Collection.
Title of ArticleEven railroad bridge found to have beauty : smoke, furnaces, stacks form background for steel framework.
Date of ArticleJuly 29, 1928
Transcript of the ArticleSUNDAY JULY 29, 1928

Smoke, Furnaces, Stacks
Form Background for
Steel Framework.
"A railroad bridge! The very idea! What is there beautiful or interesting about a railroad bridge, of all things? A synonym for commonplace materialism, the too common ugliness of useful things. It is all of that.
However, this bridge of the Achison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad has so much to commend it, that it may be considered beautiful. In the first place its situation is ideal. It appears as if rising from the waters so boldly is it thrown across the stream as viewed from the west bank of the river, not far north of the Ruby street bridge.
Charm of Color.
And back of it, the smoke, furnaces, stacks and interesting detail of the wire mill building, with a cloudy sky, seem to give romance and mystery to the so-called unromantic bridge. And this bridge is just at the intersection of the new drainage canal. The Desplaines river and the old canal. Also, the "prison ditch" runs on down beside and east of the river, emptying into it near the roaring, booming Public Service power plant.
There is a charm of color and atmosphere which cannot be seen in a black and white reproduction, but which forms a delightful essence in the reality. The reflections of the smoke stacks and iron girders and frame work of the bridge dive deeply into the water, where little ripples make merry with all straight lines and diversity them beautifully.
Will Be Straightened.
This unusual bridge springs out over the water in a curve, a horizontal curve, which gives it a peculiarly dashing look. But according to L. A. Patterson, head of the Santa Fe office here, the management hopes to straighten the curve before a great while.
The first Santa Fe train into Chicago over the present road was on April 28, 1888, just 40 years ago. F. E. Heman was the conductor. The Santa Fe railroad, while building its tracks from Kansas City, acquired the Chicago, Pekin, and South Western Railroad, called the "Old Hinkley Line" and made it part of the system. This must have been a few years earlier than 1888.
This road was wont to run from Streator to Pekin, only a little way from Peoria. The new line from Kansas City, passing thru Missouri and Illinois, joined the smaller road at Streator and absorbed it. And this is known as the Streator branch, and is still running.

Built in 1906.
The very bridge in the picture was built by the American Bridge company in 1906. Before this the line operated thru the mill yard, east of the canal. The railway was known as the Chicago, Santa Fe and California railroad in 1890 and was so called until the road was accepted by the Santa Fe from the hands of the contractor.
The bridge location was not brought about for esthetic reasons, beautiful as it looks in its flight over the water. Mr. Patterson explained that more yard room was necessary, so they made more land, quite a lot of it. It is good substantial land, 20 feet deep, as good as any handiwork of old Mother Earth. It holds 75 cars in a line, 10 tracks, turn tables and various weighty impedimenta of the railroad business.
Once Model Station.
The old Santa Fe passenger station, once a pretty and substantial building, stands in the same spot where it did before the elevation ran thru its front yard and nearly snipped off its nose. Once it had a pretty garden and decorative plants and was a model small town station, Joliet had, perhaps, no more 18, 000 inhabitants when the station was built. It is used mainly for storage at present, and has a careful family living there.
The history of the spot before it had mills and railroads to confuse its simple county wits, is equally interesting. Ambrose doty was its first pioneer owner, when he received a patent from the United States for the S. E. quarter of the S. E. quarter of section four in 1854. But it was Levi Doty who subdivided the tract in 1854.
Bought by Railroad.
And after this date there was a long, blank break of 23 years in the records, according to J. B. Blackburn, of the People's Abstract company, who endeavored to find a thread to unraveled the mystery. But no thread appeared. However, in 1867, Norman A. Carpenter, his wife, and other conveyancers appeared out of the void, and sold a goodly slice of the land to Charles and Adam Werner without telling who, what or why.
And some difficulty followed. There was a civil suit by Whittier and Company and the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railroad.
And whatever happened in the meantime, nobody told, in the abstracts, anyway, but Peter Shutts was made a special master in chancery in order to convey the property to the Rock Island railroad.
And then this uneasy spot passed to the hands of George H. Munroe as trustee, then to Charles S. Tuckerman, and then to the Santa Fe. And there the circle is complete"
SubjectWilliams, Adele Fay
Joliet (Ill.) -- History
Physical Description28.5 cm. x 21 cm.
SourceClick this link for more historical information on the Joliet area - http://lewisu.edu/imcanal
Publisher (Digital)Lewis University
RightsAll rights held by Lewis University. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this image, please contact the Howard and Lois Adelmann Regional History Collection at Lewis University at 815-836-5665.
CollectionAdele Fay Williams Collection of Drawings and Prints (Lewis University)
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