The Coming of the Railroad

 “The Realization of What Has So Long Been     Hoped For”

By Steve Repp

Westward expansion was a dominant part of the American scene during the nineteenth century. It was during that time that Galena was the center of the lead mining region of the Northwest. The transportation connections to the east were mainly by way of the Mississippi River or the overland stage. It was only a matter of time before a railroad connection with Chicago, Illinois or other cities became a reality.

Progress in that direction started out with the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad Company in 1836, but a number of years would pass before any track was laid. In 1852, the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad had reached as far as Rockford and the following year, Freeport. When the railroad finally did arrive at Galena in 1854, it was a branch of the Illinois Central, extending from Freeport.

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Having read through the Galena Daily Advertiser for the years of 1853 through 1855, I would like to share that research and give a progress report on the building of the railroad in Jo Daviess County, as it was reported in the newspaper at that time.  

On November 14, 1853, the Galena Daily Advertiser carried an article on Nora, Illinois: “This town is situated 31 miles from Galena on the Central Railroad. It is in the midst of a splendid farming country, and will ultimately make a town of considerable size. The Railroad Company is now building a depot there.” more…