Friday, August 14, 2009

See the Midwest 60 years ago

The Newberry Library has been able to digitize and place online a selection of the 3,000 photographs taken in the late 1940s for the 1955 centennial of the Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Railroad. It's not just railroad shots, either -- a Chicago fruit auctioneer, commuters waiting for the smoke-belching locomotive to haul them downtown, yard ornaments in Princeton, a Memorial Day parade in Galesburg, a coal mine in Fiatt. You will probably not see your Midwestern ancestors, but you will see some of what they saw.

This online exhibit -- "Daily Life along the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad" -- is just a fragment of the Newberry's 5,000 cubic feet of CB&Q archives, which "mainly document the nineteenth century operations of the Burlington and its component roads. Beyond their significance for the study of nineteenth century railroad history and labor history, the archives are a relatively unexplored and valuable resource for those interested in topics related to the social and economic development of the region served by the CB&Q." The archives are said to be "relatively unexplored." Who said the frontier was closed?

1 comment:

Randy said...

Pretty cool. I didn't see myself, though, since I rode the Pennsy. (shuttle child)