Seneca Illinois was originally named Crotty after the original owner of the land. Due to disputes between Jeremiah Crotty and the Rock Island Railroad, the CRI&P refused to put his name on the depot so the depot was named Seneca Station. The town was known officially as Crotty, but locally known as Seneca. In the 1950s the name was officially changed to Seneca.
The Kankakee and Seneca Railroad
In 1881 the CRI&P and the CCC&STL (Big Four) agreed on a joint venture to form the Kankakee and Seneca Railroad, running between the namesake towns. The railroad was built East from Seneca and west from Kankakee meeting at the infant town of Wauponsee. Seneca was home to three grain elevators two on the Rock Island and one on the I&M canal. The K&S used the CRI&P’s depot all the way until its closure. The K&S had a small yard and a 5 (later 4) stall engine house In the middle of the wye. In 1924, the bridge over the Illinois river had a span collapse when a train was beginning to cross over. The engine had just barely cleared the span when it came crashing down into the river taking the first four cars with it. However this wasn’t the only incident on this bridge. Sadly I wasn’t able to find any detailed information on the other incident, but I can say that a locomotive went into the river. I don’t know what happened to the Engineer or Fireman; hopefully they survived. Sadly, in 1933, the railroad was closed and the rails removed. The line was cut back to Wauponsee up until at least 1940, then cutback to Langham station until 1968, from 1960 to now the line is only used to DuPont Chemical, currently serviced by CSX Transportation.
The Chicago, Rock
Island, and Pacific Railroad
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