The history behind the Oregon Train Depot - – Rockford’s News Leader

The history behind the Oregon Train Depot


Its more than a century old, been through two fires, but still stands tall in the Oregon community.

The Oregon Train Depot wouldn't be around today, if it wasn't for people keeping it's legacy alive.

Freight trains still pass by what is known as the Oregon Train Depot.

But passengers haven't gotten on and off trains here in decades.

"It first started at Rochelle and went to East Oregon," said Otto Dick, Oregon Train Depot Volunteer.

On April 18, 1871, the first passenger train arrived in Oregon.

It was a time every town wanted to be stop along a railroad.

"My mother felt sorry for me because I had never been on a train," said Skip Johnson, Oregon Train Depot Volunteer. "So she brought me to this Oregon Depot, bought me a ticket to Rochelle and I road the train to Rochelle where she drove to pick me up."

Skip Johnson recalls one of her favorite memories of the train depot.

Throughout the 1900's Oregon was busy with rail passenger traffic.

It became a popular destination among travelers.

Two regular Chicago-based trains passed through daily, putting the town of Oregon on the map.

"It was the center of Oregon," said Otto.

It wasn't until 1971, when the first nationwide passenger service known as Amtrak was introduced.

Unfortunately, Amtrak's timetable did not include Oregon, Illinois.

So the era of passengers through Oregon was history.

The building began to fall apart, the roof was caving in and the mayor wanted to tear it down.

It wasn't until a group of people started the Oregon Depot Restoration Project, in 2001.

Every year the group comes in to fix-up the century old building so that its history continues to live on.

"I think the Oregon community is very proud of the depot and almost everyone has a memory of being on the train, its just a part of the Oregon history," said Johnson.

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