East Union Depot
|1851 railway station
The oldest major artifact at IRM isn’t any of the trains – it’s the museum’s depot. The East Union Depot, as it is known today, was built in 1851 by the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad, the first railroad built west out of Chicago. Originally this building was located in Marengo, the next town west of Union. An addition enlarged the depot in the late 1800s, by which time it was owned by the Chicago & North Western Railway, and after that it remained in use until after World War II. In 1967, it was acquired by IRM (the nearly identical depot in Union was declined due to severe termite damage), cut into large sections, and relocated to its current site. Some changes have been made to the internal layout of the building, mainly to accommodate public bathrooms, but its general appearance remains historically authentic inside and out. It is the oldest railway station in regular passenger use west of Pittsburgh.
The East Union Depot has also been featured in major motion pictures, notably the 1993 movie A League of Their Own, which included both interior and exterior shots of the depot.
Year Built: 1851
Condition: Complete / restored / in use