The Dream of a Lifetime
|I have been
a member of the Illinois Railway Museum for forty-eight years now, and
have been a weekend worker at Union, IL for 45. But throughout my life
I have had a passion for the Chicago Aurora and Elgin Railway. I rode
it many times in my youth, was on the last "scheduled" train, and was a
collector of its memories from my teen years. I lived in Wheaton and
knew the management. My grandmother lived next door to Leo Huntoon, the
Passenger Manager. Over the years I've collected a huge amount of memorabilia and photos.
And when the collection of CA&E cars were de-accessioned by a
Cleveland museum in 2009, I saw my dream of the Illinois Railway Museum owning these cars as a
possibility. So I worked hard to see it happen. On July Fourth, 2010, I
was given the privilege of running the first three-car train of these
great, refurbished cars.
I had made a momentus decision in early 2010 to put my entire collection of CA&E materials on-line for free, high quality, non-commercial use by railfans and historians. This turned out to be no easy task. But here it is. Enjoy and learn about the Chicago Aurora and Elgin, the "Great Third Rail Line", the "Aurora-N-Elgin", our hometown Electric Interurban Railway serving people in the suburbs from Downtown Chicago to Wheaton and the Fox River Valley from 1902-1957.
Julie Johnson (1942-2011)
On February 25th, 2011, Julie lost her battle with colon cancer and will be dearly missed.
We will be adding additional content to this site.
GIVING CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
CREDITS FOR THOSE WHO HELPED PUT THIS TOGETHER
First of all, I want to thank DON MACBEAN. I have known Don since the days of the CA&E, and he continues to be one of the great inspirations in my life, both historically and personally. Don is also one of the last living CA&E employeees, having worked for the company as a gateman while in high school in the 1940s.
Then there is ROBIN PAEPCKE. Robin is the computer guru at my company. She has been the technical brains behind this site. The ease of viewing, and all other aspects are her innovation. She alone made this vast site possible from a technical standpoint. In addition, Robin and I spent many full days making special equipment and then scanning items like the trade journals.
And I had the great support of Dave Johnson, my brother and business partner at American Slide Chart/Perrygraf. I also had the support of the creative department of the company. A special thanks goes to Bob Heinlein who gathered the materials in my collection, and then sorted and catalogued the results. He also contributed many items from his personal collection.
There has been a very, very long and strong friendship and working relationship between Julie Johnson, Norm Carlson, the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society, and the Illinois Railway Museum. It is the desire of these people and groups to continue their common interest in railway history that has completed this goal of "putting the history on-line!". As a result, Shore Line has agreed to allow much of its historical document and photo collection as well as First and Fastest magazines to be put on-line here. Shore Line will also be able to access all the files for publication. And the Illinois Railway Museum is to be the ultimate beneficiary of my collection.
ABOUT CREDIT FOR PHOTOS
Throughout the days of the enthusiast that experienced the Interurban and Streetcar lines, there was a great dissemination of photos amongst that community. Photos were traded, or sold for nominal costs. As a result it has become difficult to ascertain the photographer's name for any given image. Collections were consolidated, and of course, most of the photographers of the CA&E have passed on. But it is our desire to try to identify the original photographers of any given image.
IF YOU WERE THE PHOGRAPHER of any picture, or know who was, let us know. We will give appropriate credit. And of course, we will also "take down" any image of your's that we have used, if you do not want to share it here.
Over the years, the Julie Johnson Historical Collection has received materials from the CA&E via Bob Flannigan of the CA&E management, and Bill Stewart, the last operating head of the CA&E. Much also came from the large collections of Hopkins Peffers and Steve Hyett. And of course, from a decades' long search of flea markets and the like.