Monday, February 22, 2016

A Tunnel through Time

Spring seems to be coming early this year and so it's time to grab the camera and head back out in search of new adventures. Many thanks to my fans and followers who stuck with me and asked over and over when my next post would be.

The Chicago, Ottawa and Peoria railway was constructed starting in early 1904 and ran from Ladd through Peru to LaSalle and Ottawa.  By the end of that same year the line had been extended through to Marseilles. Two years later the line was extended west from Marquette to Princeton and east from Marseilles to Seneca. A branch to Streator was constructed in 1908. In 1924 the CO & P was absorbed by the Illinois Traction System and things ran smoothly with hourly service.

In 1924 the line from Spring Valley to Ladd was abandoned. In 1929 the line was stopped west of Depue and the Streator line was abandoned also. By the time the Great Depression hit the country the line was finished.

Fast forward Eighty Six years. On the edge of Depue in a quiet patch of woods is a surviving relic of this old transportation line. The facade is crumbling and the entrance is overgrown with weeds and scrub brush but the bones are still there. The proud date of 1907 is chiseled on either end of the tunnel and despite the obvious wear the years have inflicted on the old girl you can still clearly see where the lines would have run and the fixtures up on the roof where electric lights once pierced the night.

So walk through the tunnel and you can almost see the ghostly images of the trolley car rattling towards you. I hope you have the fare to get a ride.

 *It should be noted that this was hard to get to and sits off the road. I would not advise anyone attempting to visit this site without being prepared. Kudos to my Lil' Sidekick Nick for doing all the hard work on this one and snapping the photo's.


  1. Having moved here from a large city, you just answered a question for me, We had bus service and street cars, cars were not owned by each individual. I miss that time of life, a lot less work.

    1. Thanks for your comment! This also was from a time when cars were still a novelty and not affordable by the general public.

  2. I have lived in DePue my whole life and wasn't aware of this!!! Where exactly is this located? Would love to check it out. Thank you

    1. Take Marquette road as if you're heading to Spring Valley. Just as the road turns to dirt you'll see a guard rail. Look right and you'll see a dirt path. A truck or bigger vehicle will make it but not a car. I didn't see any 'No Trespassing' signs but there are No Dumping signs so don't make a mess. The tunnel is down a steep embankment so be prepared for that and Be Careful!


If you have a comment or know of a place that would make for a great future article drop me a line. Thanks!