Symerton, Illinois
Wabash Depot

The 1881 Wabash depot from Symerton, Illinois (on the line from Chicago to Decatur) was moved board-by-board by the Will County Historical Society to a site in downtown Lockport to be part of their frontier village.

The classic wood structure represents a typical 19th-century small town railroad depot. The Symerton depot contains many original items from this era, including telegraph hardware, office equipment and original Wabash Railroad paperwork.

Symerton depot at the former WCHS pioneer village

The Blackhawk Railway Historical Society has given generous financial support for repairs to this depot and it has been the site of Bill Molony's continuing performance as a 19th-century station agent.

Bruce Hafner and Bill Molony as "station agents"

In 2009, the Will County Historical Society's frontier village was evicted from their site in downtown Lockport and the station and rest of the village was placed in storage on the north side of town.

A new site was selected between 2nd and 3rd Streets in Lockport, located between the I&M Canal and the former Chicago & Alton tracks.

On September 17, 2011, the Will County Historical Society Heritage Festival took place in Lockport to raise awareness and money for the placement and restoration of the settlement buildings.

Blackhawk president Bill Molony, and chapter members Ed Merzlock and Dick Wheeler created a diorama for the Will County Historical Society showing the proposed layout of the new site for the station and the rest of the pioneer village.

Additional photos of the diorama of the proposed location can be found on our Facebook page

Throughout late Summer/early Fall 2012, the Symerton depot and the rest of the village was moved into their new location. At that time, it was found that key supports on the building had rotted to the point where the building was in danger. Since repairing this damage was not in the WCHS's budget, the Blackhawk financed the needed repairs.

Blackhawk president Bill Molony also built an authentic replica of the original Wabash-style depot sign, getting the depot closer to its original as-built appearance.



In 2014, the Blackhawk Chapter arranged to have the depot stripped and repainted in an authentic Wabash Railroad two-tone paint job.

In the Summer of 2015, with the financial help from the Blackhawk Railway Historical Society, contractors finally laid down a section of ballast and track in front of the depot.

The Blackhawk Railway Historical Society is also working on having an authentic period wood-style platform built and is raising funds to fully restore the interior. For more information about the entire village project and how you can help, contact the Will County Historical Society.

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Contents © 2014 Blackhawk Railway Historical Society, Inc. - an Illinois not-for-profit corporation.
The Blackhawk Railway Historical Society, Inc. is a chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.
This page last modified August 30, 2015 by Blackhawk Webmaster.

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