On the following pages you will find the recollections of 24 McLean County residents, talking about the impact of the Chicago & Alton Railroad Shops on their lives and the local community.
There are a number of consistent themes that echo through these memories: the economic importance of the Shops to the community; the carefully developed craft skills and pride that the Shop workers had; the sense of community and belonging that neighborhood, ethnic identity and working for the railroad produced; and finally the pain that came with the slow closing of the Shops.
At the same time, there are differences in each interview, because this is each individual's particular recollection of events, shaped by their own background and involvement. Thus one might remember union struggles with pride, another completely differently, depending on their own position toward organized labor and their personal involvement. One might see the coming of the diesel as terrible, while the next person might view it as an opportunity.
Oral history is different from other kinds of history. It depends not on written words and careful records, but rather on the memories and recollections of another age.
Thus you may find occasional wrong dates and names here. Where possible we have offered a correction. The majority of references are accurate. The important thing to remember, however, is the spirit and conviction with which these stories were told. There are also ethnic references that would be considered derogatory today, but were common terms of speech in the first half of the Twentieth Century.
Before you in this book you will find the primary source about working for the railroad-the people that actually did the job. They spent their lives around the Shops, their families and neighborhoods prospered and suffered with the economic fortune of the Alton Route.
All pictures are of the actual item. If this is a railroad item, this material is obsolete and no longer in use by the railroad. Please email with questions. Publishers of Train Shed Cyclopedias and Stephans Railroad Directories. Large inventory of railroad books and magazines. Thank you for buying from us.
Postage rates quoted are for shipments to the US only. Ebay Global shipping charges are shown. These items are shipped to Kentucky and then ebay ships them to you. Ebay collects the shipping and customs / import fees. For direct postage rates to these countries, send me an email. Shipping to Canada and other countries varies by weight.
Payment must be received within 10 days. Paypal is accepted.
Terms and conditions
All sales are final. Returns accepted if item is not as described. Contact us first. No warranty is stated or implied. Please e-mail us with any questions before bidding.