Rock Island Vermont Street Depot

Vermont Street

Built in 1868

Photographs by BIHS Executive Director Kevin Brown


The depot that was constructed when the Rock Island first established service in Blue Island in 1852 was a tiny wooden building that, according to contemporary accounts, “both inside and out presented anything but an inviting aspect.”


With the arrival of the railroad came the dissolution of the canal and plank road systems that in the early days were among the principal means of transportation from this community to the settlements beyond.


The Rock Island Railroad played an important role in the early development of Blue Island and the surrounding area, and was for many years a major economic force in this community. In 1894, federal troops were stationed outside this building during the Great Pullman Strike after disturbances broke out in the adjacent rail yards that were caused by those in Blue Island that sympathized with the strikers’ cause.


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