Significant Milestones In Illinois Central Railroad History
1850 President Millard Fillmore
signs a land grant act, allocating federal land to the states.
1851 The state of Illinois gives its federal land to Illinois Central Railroad to build a line from Cairo (at the southern tip of Illinois where the Ohio and Mississippi rivers meet) to Galena (in the extreme northwestern part of the state) and Chicago. Illinois Central is the first land grant railroad in the U.S. For the next decade, Abraham Lincoln is its attorney.
1859 From 1859 to 1861, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) pilots Illinois Central steamboats on the Mississippi River.
1860 The closing of the "Big Gap" in Mississippi links New Orleans with the East by rail.
1861 The Civil War brings Illinois Central's regular service to a halt. It is used by the army to move 31% of the troops and 30% of the supplies through Cairo.
1867 Illinois Central leases the Dubuque & Sioux City Railroad, extending its western line to Iowa Falls.
1869 Andrew Carnegie builds the Dubuque bridge.
1870 Illinois Central lines reaches Sioux City.