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Chicago Northern Western Central Southern/ Outside Illinois


Mendota Union Depot Railroad Museum

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Site Information

Mendota Union Depot Railroad Museum

683 Main Street

Mendota, Illinois 61342

815-539-3373 or 815-538-3800


(See Map and Directions below)


Type: Museums

Illinois Tourism District: Northern

Go to Illinois Adventure #1201 information


Mendota is an Indian name meaning crossing of the trails. In 1853 the Illinois Central Railroad and Chicago & Aurora Railroad crossed at this junction called Mendota. (Chicago & Aurora became the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy in 1858.) The Illinois Central was known as a land-grant railroad, the first of its kind. The railroad was built on land granted to it by the government. The land grant for the construction of the Illinois Central was made possible by special legislation implemented by Abraham Lincoln and Stephan A. Douglas. (Abe Lincoln was an attorney for the Illinois Central before becoming president.) The Illinois Central line was at one time the longest in the world. A section is still in place on the west side of the Mendota Depot/museum. (The Illinois Central's advertising slogan was The Mainline of Mid-America.) Mendota quickly became a big railroad town because it was a major interchange point for freight and passengers. The Illinois Central freight house, which was built in 1854, still stands in Mendota. It is the oldest brick structure in town.


Map and Directions (click on map pointer to calculate directions)


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