Little York, Illinois
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The old bridge west of town over Cedar Creek, the engine is heading east into town.
Looking east from the bridge
Looking West. The depot was torn down in 1967or 68
Map of Little York
The following information was researched by Dave Armstrong firstname.lastname@example.org
Little York, IL The first train through town was on April 5, 1883. On July 1, 1883 was the first mail delivery by train. In 1908 there was two passanger and one frieght train daily in each direction. The telegraph call was RX, it had a 72 car siding and capacity for 29 cars on other tracks. In 1935 the agents name was Mike Ryan. Also there was a 15 m.p.h. speed limit thru corporate limits.
The following is from Steve Keithley 1/22/2002
One of the problems for the M & St. L in the late 40's or early 50's, was that the ICC required them to send a train to Little York, from Monmouth, each day. A lot of days it was a deadhead train with no cars. The last regular trip was made on Friday December 13, 1974 to Little York to pick up an empty box car.
I remember when the tracks were removed. For a time it was considered an adventure to drive down the roadbed in a pick up! Eventually the gravel was sold to farmers.
The following is from Steve Keithley 12/11/2001
I've been enjoying your M&St.L website; many thanks for assembling this great collection of information about the railroad. I was particularly surprised to find a map of Little York, Illinois; the town where I grew up. In fact the plot for my house is clearly shown on the smaller of the two maps at the NE corner of Main and East Street. The map clearly demonstrates the optimistic view the town fathers had for Little York, showing East street reaching the tracks. (Incidentally, East Street is running north and south.) In fact, East street ends right about the spot where the alley is designated. There is a fine, old tree where the center of the street should be. The alley and all of the lots never really materialized. But it looks pretty good on paper.
If you look to the right side of that small map, you will see a triangular piece of land, directly across from a lot owned by George Laird. According to some unofficial history this piece of land and the Iowa Central had an important place in Little York history. When the Iowa Central was building this line, they had a camp on this parcel. At the time this parcel was outside of the village. Apparently, Little York was still seeking proper incorporation; one of the obstacles was the population base. They needed more people in town. No problem. They annexed that plot of land, making the camp a part of the village limits and incorporation was assured. At one point in history the owner of that parcel offered it to Little York for a park. Unfortunately, not much happened with the land and it reverted to the owner. The map shows one track through this part of Little York, but I remember a siding that started at the edge of the trangular lot and continued through the west side of the Village. This must be the large siding that you mention. As you know, that line went east, to Monmouth and west to Keithsburg We moved to that house in the summer of 1958. The most famous, previous resident had been a veterinarian, "Doc Hilliard" part of his old office, a separate building, was pretty much intact, including his cache of old, empty whiskey bottles. The best part of that house was that the lot ran all the way to the M&St.L. tracks.
It was a great place for an 8-year-old to learn about trains. "Lank" Flynn, one of the track, maintenance fellas used to park on the siding, in his track car, to eat lunch under a convenient shade tree. He used to tolerate a lot of questions from me. It seemed like there was just enough rail traffic to make things interesting, but still quiet enough to allow a boy to play, safely, along the tracks. The engineers were pretty friendly, too. They were always willing to wave or give an extra tug on the whistle cord.
Later that year I had gained enough freedom to ride my bike around town. That was when I found the DEPOT! And, in 1958, 1959 it was still in use. The agent was a very patient man named G.L. Vaughn. I believe he was the last agent in Little York. Mr. Vaughn was terrific. He mostly allowed us free run of the depot and the surrounding tracks. Occasionally he would pass along a warning that a train was coming. Or, shoo us away if a card game was forming in the old freight room. In those days, the M&St.L still used telegraph. I was fascinated by the sounders and the telegraph key; in my mind G.L was a true hero because he could understand all of that clacking. I remember one day when a nasty phone line was installed at the depot. Years later, I am a ham radio operator with a clutter of telegraph keys. I spend almost all of my time with radiotelegraph, thanks to G.L. In 1958, the area around the depot was still pretty busy.
A fella named Jack Flatley made "hog traps" in a nifty shop down the street, selling them to Sears and Montgomery Ward. The grain elevator and the lumber yard still had sidings. And, there was a livestock shipping station operated by Brown and Stripe. (Our neighbor was the "Brown"). One weekend while I was visiting my Aunt in Colchester, IL (C.B&Q - Passenger trains went through Colchester!) my friends "borrowed" the smaller stock, water tanks from Brown and Stripe and slid them along the rails about a half-mile to the RR bridge over Cedar Creek. The creek was very shallow at this point and my friends decdied that the tanks would make great boats. They were right. Unfortunately, a rival group of kids got a little jealous about being left out of the fun. They snuck down to the bridge and punched holes in the bottom of each tank. You can't keep a secret in Little York. By the next Monday my friends were in serious trouble. They all had to go meet Mr. Brown in his office. His first question: "Was Stevie from next door in on this?" Going to visit my Aunt saved me a spanking and a lot of money for stock tank repairs.
Well, the tracks and the depot, even Brown and Stripe are all gone. But I can't forget all of those great places in Little York. Thanks for publishing that map! Regards Steve Keithley Albuquerque, NM email@example.com
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