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Cayuga Depot: 1901

Circa 1901. "Station at Cayuga, Ill's." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Photographic Company. View full size.

Circa 1901. "Station at Cayuga, Ill's." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Photographic Company. View full size.


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>>Those joints have the nuts and bolts all set in the same way...

Perhaps this is due to the lightweight rail. If the nuts were inside, they might be struck by wheel flanges.

Also note that the rails are spiked directly to the ties with no metal tie plates. This was common in that era, even on mainline tracks. Labor was cheap and maintenance was intensive.

Wrong side of the tracks

If you'd Google map it, (easy to find, small town). This building is on a road which crosses the tracks. If facing this building the rails are just to the left, It's not at the tracks, which it would need to be, if it were the old depot. Possibly the office for the old grain silo / whatever it was behind it. it seems the depot is long gone.

Oddity 2 rev.

It seems to me that the pipe, mentioned by BeeGuy, is NOT running from the building. It's a loose pipe, the end of it lying on the edge of the platform, the width of seven planks away from the corner.

Evening Up the Oddities

No station sign: I would guess the sign sticking out under the Western Union sign has the station's name on it, facing traffic coming from the right.

The pipe has two U-bends which look like plumbing traps. Considering the pipe's low entry/exit into the building, and even lower disappearance on the left, I would guess it is a drain pipe from a sink and/or toilet. Maybe that's why the windows aren't clean on the corner -- for privy privacy. If so, probably the building was originally built without indoor plumbing. [Edited to Add: Excellent analysis Alex! I fell into the trap and stand double-bent-over corrected!!].

The "tubular devices" on the platform could be farm implements, recently delivered or waiting for pickup.

I've been waiting

for one of you train buffs to interpret the semaphore signal to us non-train persons.

Depot oddities

Cayuga was a place on the Chicago & Alton where an operator/agent passed instructions to train crews from the dispatcher. We can see this by the building being equipped with a train order signal for movements in either direction. Such places were designated in timetables and identified with a name plate - which we do not see here. Oddity one.

There is an unusual pipe running from the building along the platform. Oddity two.

The rail joints are opposite each other rather than being staggered. This was the standard in Europe, but American railways like joints to be staggered. Oddity three.

Those joints have the nuts and bolts all set in the same way rather than the normal every other one being reversed. Well, oiled, but oddity four.

What a tidy, anonymous little rural station

Seems remarkable this station bears no sign facing the track that shows the town's name or even the railroad's name. Looking around, there's no litter to be seen. Still, we can see window washing wasn't a priority. Oh well, that coal soot was probably the dickens to get off.

What a shame that such a once neat and important part of the town's heritage has deteriorated to what Sewickley's photo shows. Small as it is, restoration probably wouldn't be terribly expensive. Railroads meant so much to America's growth and development. No less so to small rural towns such as Cayuga, Ill., and to area farmers than to people and commerce in big cities.

Places like this little station are the stuff of stories for old timers to tell children. Maybe the time a president or candidate made a whistle stop there, or when there was a derailment within sight of the station. Old timers will pass from the scene, but places like the old railroad station and its stories needn't, if enough people care.

Sweeping up?

Are those tubular devices outside the station used for keeping debris off the tracks? I can't see a really close-up of the device on the right, but it seems to have wire whisks.

Stuffed chimney

At first I thought that pole with wires was a little too close for comfort to the chimney, but then I realized the pole is in the background. (I was a bit worried for Santa, too.)

An older understanding

An interesting and archaic abbreviation for Illinois, isn't it? Today it would be IL, I suppose.

It Winds from Chicago to LA

The Old Railway Depot still stands. A new roof and bay window were added at some point. It's still recognizable, but just barely.

Cayuga was decertified in 1977, when I-55 made Route 66 obsolete.

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