Friday, January 13, 2017

CB&Q's Lowell & Southern and Risokrat Clay Product Co.

David Jordan
David's comment:
The railroad construction era had slowed by the 1920s, but wasn't quite over in Illinois. This article is about a short branch built for the Lowell & Southern Railroad off of CB&Q's Zearing-Streator Branch, presumably sometime in 1927. This branch served the Ristokrat Clay Product Co. brick plant, which lasted until 1981. Presumably, Burlington Northern served it until the end at which time the branch was abandoned. I typed out the entire story in case the photo of the article is difficult to read.
Peoria Evening Star October 2, 1926
Washington Bureau, Peoria Evening Star
Washington, D. C., Oct. 2 - The next rail construction to be undertaken in Illinois will be a four-mile stretch of track in LaSalle county connecting the town of Lowell with the main line of the C. B. & Q. railroad, according to a certificate of convenience and necessity issued here by the interstate commerce commission.
The new road, which will be known as the Lowell & Southern, will tap the extensive clay pits in the vicinity of Lowell. Its incorporators include Allen F. Moore and George E. Moore of Monticello, the former being republican national committeeman from Illinois, and William C. Barnes of Decatur. The estimated cost of construction of the line is $93,350, which will be advanced by Lowell Industries.
Building of the railroad is expected to boom the village of Lowell, which now has between 100 and 150 residents. There are said to be extensive deposits of high grade clay, gravel and limestone in the vicinity,the clay and gravel being practically inexhaustible. There are also veins of coal approximately 40 inches thick, which might be mined profitably.
Plan Other Industries.
A grain elevator will be built at Lowell, and a revival of other industries, including a sawmill and several grist mills, is expected. The L. E. Rogers Clay Products Co. is constructing a plant at Lowell, which will furnish a substantial tonnage for the proposed line.
In the application for a construction permit it was estimated that traffic on the proposed line will develop within five years to 500,- tons per year, with gross revenue aggregating between $75,000 and $80,000 per year. This tonnage is expected to move to various parts of the United States, but principally to the territory west and south of Chicago.
Barnes Known Here.
The Burlington declined to construction the branch line, which will connect with its main track, northwest of Leonore, saying it was in doubt of the ultimate success of the project, but subsequently agreed to operate it and also to take charge of the construction if the promoters would advance the necessary funds, which will be refunded to them if tonnage develops to an extent warranting such action.
William C. Barnes, one of the incorporators of the new road, is well known in Peoria, where he was formerly a newspaper man and subsequently secretary to former Congressman Clifford Ireland."
(end of story)

John Smith don't see any clue of this line you are talking about
David Jordan John Smith Here's something I found on the line.

Dennis DeBruler You can see a tree line where it ran south then curved over to the east a bit. It went straight south from there mostly along property lines.,-89.../data=!3m1!1e3
Dennis DeBruler Here is where it joined the mainline, which itself is now hard to find.,-89.../data=!3m1!1e3

John Smith commented on the above posting
finally found it via 1950's and 70's topo maps
The CB&Q "mainline" was really a secondary line of the CB&Q originally built as the Illinois Valley and Northern.

It looks like someone built a modern building on part of the foundation of the long, skinny building at the southwest side of the plant. It is not obvious in a satellite image where the clay pit was in the ruins of the brick plant. Looking at a 1939 aerial photo (below), I realize it wasn't a "pit" but rather it was most of the land northeast of the plant and along the river.

1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Fortunately, Ray Tutal Jr. got several pictures before everything was torn down They are  at the bottom of  his Online Museum web page.  Zooming in on the aerial photo, they appear to be along the long, skinney building. I assume the buildings to the northeast made the bricks, the kilns "cooked" them, and the long building was a warehouse. If you look at John's map above, the L&S did curve west and appears to have gone along side the warehouse building.
1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
Near the bottom of the photo on the right shows the curves the L&S used to move a little further east. And in the lower-right corner of the photo below we see the connection with the CB&Q/IV&N.

1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
As part of researching the brick company, I found a 1964 directory of mineral producers in Illinois.

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