Fruit Growers Refrigerating & Power Company Railway (Anna to Jonesboro, IL)

One of the shortest interurban lines in the state of Illinois was the Anna-Jonesboro Line, officially known by its owner, the Fruit Growers Refrigerating & Power Company. Just three miles in length, it connected the far southern Illinois villages, running from a hospital in Anna to Jonesboro's business district.

At the turn of the 20th century, refrigeration cars were beginning to revolutionize the food industry of the United States. Fruit from far away places could become available, bringing exotic tastes to the nation. To that end, ice production went hand in hand, and that's where this company's money was made. The company would be incorporated in 1900, with interurban operations beginning 7 years later.

The line could connect to the Illinois Central Railroad at Anna, and the Gulf Mobile & Ohio Railroad at Jonesboro.

From The smaller Electric Railways of Illinois

The line was the brainchild of Arnaud A. Fasig. His obituary discussed the line and the FGR&P company. "[He] erected an electric railway from Anna State Hospital to Jonesboro and built a power plant in Anna to supply electric current.  In 1905 he was given a 10-year contract to supply ice to the Illinois Central Railroad at Mounds and organized Central Ice Company and erected an ice plant at Mounds."

From The smaller Electric Railways of Illinois

The smaller Electric Railways of Illinois gives the best historical summary of this line, shown above. "The line between Anna and Jonesboro was one of the state's smallest electric railways; it was hardly an interurban in the usual sense of the word, being only 3 miles in length, yet it did connect two separate communities.

The Fruit Growers Refrigerating & Power Co. was incorporated June 8, 1905 to provide electric power, ice and street railway service, and began operation in 1907. The property was part of the Central Illinois Public Service system, of which F. S. Peabody was a promoter and which became Insull-controlled in later years. [NOTE: 100 years of progress: The Centennial History of Anna, IL gives a date of  12/15/1905 as the date operations began.]

Its track extended from Jonesboro thru Anna to the State Mental Hospital on the outskirts of Anna. In addition to passenger service, it handled carload freight, principally coal to the hospital. 

On July 29, 1929 the Central Illinois Public Service Company was authorized to replace street cars with bus service. A portion of the track was sold to a new company, the Anna-Jonesboro Railroad, for the purpose of continuing freight service to the hospital and the remainder of the line was junked."

Thanks as always for reading!


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