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Showing posts from November, 2019

Long Island Rail Road's Abandoned Cedarhurst Cut-Off

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The Cedarhurst Cut-off is one of the abandoned branches of the Long Island Railroad . Incorporated as the New York and Rockaway Railroad  in 1871, the abandoned section began near present day Laurelton Station and continued south in between Lansing and Edgewood Aves, crossing a bridge at North Woodmere Park, continuing down to Cedarhurst. The branch has been abandoned and rebuilt twice, creating a rather complicated history of the relatively obscure line. It was first abandoned after the LIRR took control in 1876, it was rebuilt in 1905, but was never put into revenue service and instead was only used to route equipment.  Thirteen years later, it was abandoned again in 1918. It was rebuilt yet again in 1928 as a LIRR ploy to protect their right-of-way from development, but the branch was nonetheless considered redundant, and it was abandoned for good in 1934. Despite not having a revenue train in the last 100 years, and not any development since before World War II, there are still sm

The Cemetery Next to a Particle Accelerator: St. Patrick Cemetery

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In the early 1950's, at the height of new discoveries in nuclear energy, Argonne National Laboratory had outgrown its original campus at the University of Chicago, as well as the forest where it had conducted other experiments during the late 1940's, where currently the world's first nuclear reactor remains buried today . The site chosen would be on 3,500 acres in unincorporated Downers Grove Township in DuPage County, IL. What was once farmland would be converted into space to develop energy, weapons, and other Cold War inventions designed to keep the United States as the premier superpower in all things technology. However, two of those acres held cemetery land owned by a nearby church, St. Patrick's. The decision was made to keep the cemetery in its original location, as opposed to relocating it to accommodate the laboratory. “These are the only two acres the government doesn’t have anything to say about,” said Polly Hanrahan, the caretaker of St. Patrick cemete

The Unsigned Interstate Highways

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Despite being the highest standard of highway in the world, the Interstate Highway System has a few highways which, despite being fully part of the system, do not carry such a signed designation. This mirrors Illinois' Unmarked  Highway System, although there are far fewer unsigned Interstates. Image" I-296 acknowledged on a 1978 Michigan Map. I-296 is the "hidden" designation for US-131 between I-96 an I-196 in Grand Rapids. ( Interstate-Guide.com ) Since I began learning about the Interstate System in my youth, the fact that there existed "hidden" Interstates fascinated me. Today we'll go over some of these routes, and why they aren't signed as an Interstate. Alaska & Puerto Rico: The Interstate Highway System at its inception was much different than it is today, with regard to funding. During the initial construction of the system, 90% of the funds for the roads were provided by the Federal Government. Most Interstate highway projects to

Unfortunate Railroad History Preserved in a Cemetery Plot: Showmen's Rest in Forest Park, IL

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On June 22, 1918, one of the worst train wrecks in American history occurred near Hammond, IN. 86 people lost their lives with another 127 being injured in the crash, which was caused by an engineer asleep at the controls.  Photo: Northwest Indiana Times Early that morning, one of three Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus trains had stopped to oil up a wheel bearing, with the rear car jettisoning out onto the mainline, when a troop train was coming up behind it at full speed. Immediately upon impact, the four rear cars of the circus train caught fire, trapping anyone inside. Unfortunately, nearby marshes were the only source of water to fight the blazes. Sadly, they were nearly to Hammond, which was the next stop on their tour. The two other trains had made the journey safely. Image: The aftermath of the wreck, attracting numerous people to see the wreckage. (Wikipedia Commons) According to the Northwest Indiana Times,  Triage was done at the now-demolished Michigan Central stat