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The Oil Belt Railway

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The Oil Belt Railway was a very obscure, and very short lived, short line railroad that ran from Oblong to Bridgeport, Illinois, beginning service in 1913. The track was slightly less than 25 miles long between the two towns in southeastern Illinois. A branch line to Lawrenceville was proposed from Bridgeport, but was never constructed. ( Right of way ) It interchanged with the Illinois Central Railroad at Oblong and the B&O Southwestern Railroad in Bridgeport. Despite not running until 1913, construction actually began along this road four years prior in 1909. The fact that it took four years to get this line running should be a good indicator of the line's typical operations throughout its life.  Right of way on the 1930 Crawford County Plat Map , over a decade post-abandonment. (Historic Map Works) A narrow-gauge operation, one of the very few that were never converted to standard gauge in the state, the line hauled grain and hay to local farmers in the area, as well as

Bagdad: A California Desert Ghost Town

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Bagdad, CA is another Route 66 ghost town  in San Bernardino County, CA. A product of the railroad, it would ultimately be superseded by Interstate 40, when 66 no longer functioned as a through route. However, this is not a tale of a town destroyed by a freeway or re-alignment, as this town peaked long before I-40 was built, the bypass was just another nail in the coffin. Like many nearby towns, it got its start in 1883 when the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railway was built between Needles and Barstow, CA. During this time, it served as a stop for mining workers north and south of the area. Even at its peak, only a few hundred people called the town home. Towns built by the railroad usually were platted in 10 mile increments to allow steam engines to take on water, supplied by about 20 tank cars a day to replenish tanks in the area, which otherwise is completely dry being in the middle of the Mojave Desert.  The town is actually the US record holder for consecutive days without r

Old Chicago Amusement Park: An Idea Ahead of its Time

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In addition to the abandoned railroad , Route 66, and its two interstate highways, my hometown of Bolingbrook has (had) another gem that piqued my interest as a kid, one that I never got to see, Old Chicago Amusement Park. Today's blog represents the culmination of the most research and work I've done on anything on this website, mostly because I was attempting to make a book out of this, but I eventually found that I could not discuss much beyond what has already been said about this place. That being said, I believe that a blog is more than sufficient for what has been done toward this project already, so with that in mind, I hope you enjoy today's foray into the nostalgia of Old Chicago! Like many kids growing up, I was fascinated with amusement parks. One of my favorite places in the entire world was Six Flags Great America , located in Gurnee, Illinois. You can imagine my excitement, followed by my unhappiness, to learn from my mother that my hometown of Bolingbrook, I