Beautifully engraved certificate from the Illinois Central Rail Road Company
in 1887. This historic document was printed by the American Banknote Company and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of a map of the line and an imprint of a revenue stamp. This item is hand signed by the Company’s Treasurer and Assistant Secretary and is
over 130 years old.
The Illinois Central was chartered by the Illinois General Assembly on February 10, 1851. Senator Stephen Douglas and later President Abraham Lincoln were both Illinois Central men who lobbied for it. Douglas owned land near the terminal in Chicago. Lincoln was a lawyer for the railroad. Upon its completion in 1856 the IC was the longest railroad in the world. Its main line went from Cairo, Illinois, at the southern tip of the state, to Galena, in the northwest corner. A branch line went from Centralia, (named for the railroad) to the rapidly growing city of Chicago. In Chicago its tracks were laid along the shore of Lake Michigan and on an offshore causeway downtown, but land-filling and natural deposition have moved the present-day shore to the east.
In 1867 the Illinois Central extended its track into Iowa, and during the 1870s and 1880s the IC acquired and expanded railroads in the southern United States. IC lines crisscrossed the state of Mississippi and went as far as New Orleans, Louisiana, to the south and Louisville, Kentucky, in the east. In the 1880s, northern lines were built to Dodgeville, Wisconsin, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Omaha, Nebraska. Further expansion continued into the early twentieth century.
The Illinois Central, and the other "Harriman lines" owned by E.H. Harriman, was the target of the Illinois Central shopmen's strike of 1911. Although marked by violence and sabotage in the south, midwest, and western states, the strike was effectively over in a few months. The railroads simply hired replacements and withstood diminishing union pressure. The strike was eventually called off in 1915.
History from Wikipedia and
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