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The Braidwood Bunch: 1904

The Braidwood Bunch: 1904

Circa 1904. "Depot at Braidwood, Illinois." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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LCL freighthouse

The right half of the building was the “freight house.” The large door giving access provided ample room for the freight handlers (with a union craft of their own in later days) to wrestle large pieces of LCL freight (perhaps a piano from the Sears Catalog) into the structure until the consignee could arrange a pick-up. There is probably a door on the back side of the building that an LCL boxcar was spotted at for unloading larger pieces of freight. Large and cumbersome LCL freight required too much time to unload while sitting on the main, so the entire car was simply left to be unloaded at convenience. In railroad parlance, the track would have been called a “house track.” It would have a main line switch at both ends, making it possible for both northward and southward trains to spot and pick up as necessary. The water spout over it is a mystery.

Actually Braidwood was not a junction with any branch or carrier. The south switch for the branch to Coal City was at Gardner, and the north switch going back to the main was at Elwood. Braidwood was almost exactly half-way between those two points.

Attractive Spires

This prosaic building had been given a lot of interesting architectural details, such as the roof brackets, the bargeboards, and most of all the wooden spires.

Note that the two-spouted wooden water tank in the background has a matching spire. Pretty spiffy !

The tall windows let in plenty of money-saving natural light.

The size of the building, the train order signal, the large doors, signage, and the two baggage carts, one standing ready at each end of the platform, suggest that this was a multipurpose building which handled train order operations, passengers, checked baggage, Western Union telegraphy, Railway Express parcels, and perhaps also Less-than-carload freight.

It would be interesting to know more about the track served by the far water spout of the water tank. Was this just a siding, or was Braidwood a junction point?

Another name for BeeGuy's list

As a preteen I rode the GM&O's "Gulf Coast Rebel" from St. Louis, MO to Waynesboro, MS a few summers without parental accompaniment. (No detour to Braidwood.)


The depot was moved from its original location (the website doesn't say when although the photos of it being moved were uploaded in 2012)

4 Photos

Chicago & Alton Route

On the main line 57.3 miles south of Chicago. Also a junction with a spur off of a branch that ran between Joliet and Coal City. Later this road became the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio, route of such passenger trains as "The Abraham Lincoln" and "Midnight Special".

Still waiting

For the last train to Braidwood:

Now home to the Braidwood Historical Society.

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