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Tiskilwa Historical Society to Host October 9 Program on Railroads

With a program entitled “What’s Coming Down the Line?” Tiskilwa Historical Society hosts author and historian, Mike Matejka of Bloomington, on Monday evening, October 9, beginning at 7:00.


Mike will use a PowerPoint presentation to share his passion for national and statewide railroad history – its sights, sounds, and iconic cultural allure. He also promises to bring along a few railroad equipment props.

On Monday, October 9 at 7:00 p.m., historian Mike Matejka will present the program “What’s Coming Down the Line? The Railroad in the American Mind” at the Museum on Main, 110 East Main Street, Tiskilwa.


With Illinois in the heart of the nation’s crossroad for commerce, the railroad has not only influenced the locations of early settlements and eventually cities, but also accelerated our state’s economy and population growth. The C.R.I.& P railway first came through Tiskilwa in 1853, with great rejoicing throughout the county. In fact, Tiskilwa’s boom years from the 1850s to the 1950s are a good example of this impetus.


A speeding locomotive was a real-life representation of progress, and people gathered trackside to marvel at the big-city opulence of the Illinois-built Pullman cars. Having a land-based transportation network radically changed the national economy, how people traveled, and how corporations evolved. At that time, rail workers were seen as heroic, and the railroad itself became a cultural symbol reflected in advertising, movies, and children’s toys. This program will undoubtedly stir fond memories for audience members about setting up their Lionel or Marx train sets.


Mike Matejka comes to Tiskilwa through a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council, an organization sponsoring presentations of historical and cultural interest through their Road Scholars program. Monthly programs at Tiskilwa’s Museum on Main are always open to the public and free of charge. Following Mike’s presentation, visitors are invited to stroll through Galleries 1 and 2 while enjoying refreshments and conversation.

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