Friday, July 25, 2014

RR Bridge and Water Tower

Lawrence County News September 17th 1975.  In the early part of the 20th century trains belonging to the Big Four Railroad Company crossed over the Embarras River via this trestle when entering and leaving Lawrenceville. The top view of the photo below, was taken from the north bank of the stream, looking south east. As can be seen, the main span of the railroad structure was supported by metal trusses anchored on stone supports on each side of the river. On the north and left, wooden pilings  held the tracks above the bottom land which was often flooded with backwaters. In the background are a water tower and old power plant that supplied electricity and filtered water for Central Illinois Public Service Company customers for a great number of years. 

In the lower picture, the water tower dominates the view of the railroad property toward the north. Located on the south side of the river, and adjacent to the old power plant, the water tower was a common stopping place for trains. Such towers were valuable and necessary railroad assets, for it was from them that the steam – driven locomotive engines obtained one of the two ingredients needed to create their power. Coal was the other ingredient needed for power – making, but it's special car usually held enough coal for longer trips then the evaporating water tank. The water tower passed from the Lawrenceville scene many years ago, and the old power plant was razed about 10 years ago after being inactive several years.