Fete Marks Opening of New Station

The railroad was always a big deal in Clinton and in Clinton County.  The C & NW train station is such a beautiful building.  Here are newspaper articles from The Clinton Advertiser, February 18, 1920, when the station was opened.


High officials of the Chicago & Northwestern and other railroads entering Clinton, with nearly 200 representative Clinton business and profession men gathered at the Wapsipinicon club Tuesday evening to participate in a banquet which signalized the formal opening of the new passenger station of the Chicago & Northwestern.

The event was given under the auspices of the Clinton Commercial club.

A fine banquet repast was served in the early evening.  It was followed by a notable program of addresses, delivered by visiting railroad officials and Clintonians, with Halleck W. Seaman officiating as toastmaster.

The brilliant event, one of the most interesting and successful of its character in the history of the city, held the closest interest and attention of the gathering, and every minute provied highly enjoyable.  Much credit is being given the toastmaster, the Commercial club, and others who have been working for several weeks to make the event thoroughly worthy of the occation it celebrated.

Banquet Room Beautiful.

The banquet hall of the Wapsie club had been beautifully prepared for the evening's fete.  The American colors predominated, and there was a bank of palms and plants in the main hallway.  The snowy white tables were bright with flowers and ferns, and the speaker's table was festooned with smilax.  A map of the North-western system occupied a prominent position on the west wall, framed in the national colors, and illuminated.

The repast, a most delightful and satisfying one, was served by the Lafayette Hotel company.

Benson's orchestra and quartet came from Chicago to entertain the guests and their instrumental and vocal music were thoroughly enjoyed.  The orchestra leader interested the entire audience in choral singing which was one of the liveliest features of the evening.  Song books containing the words of popular songs were placed at every plate and the men joined in the songs with enthusiasm.  The results were surprisingly good.  Then there were piano and violin solos, vocal solos and quartet numbers, the Chicago entertainers receiving hearty applause in their diversified program.

The company sad down to the banquet repast at 7 o'clock.  They rose from the tables and took their departure to the strains of "Auld Lang Syne" at 11:30 o'clock.

The 200 Clintonians who attended voted the evening one of exceptional pleasure and merit.

Abstracts of Articles

Rather than type out each article, I have listed some of the highlights and names included with each article.


At the opening of the toast program Toastmaster Seaman called on Geo. E. Wilson, Jr. to read a greeting to the railroad guests, prepared by Secretary Vant Hul of the Clinton Commercial club. 


Mr. Seaman presided as toastmaster. He gave a bit of a speech saying, in part, that the Northwestern employ 2235 people in Clinton and that, besides Chicago, the payroll of the Northwestern is larger at Clinton than at any other point on the system.  He then introduced Mr. John. E. Purcell, the legal representative in Clinton who will formally welcome the guests of the evening.


Mr. Purcell gave a speech welcoming everyone and touching on the significance of the evening. He talked about transportation and the attitude of the people of Clinton.  He also mentioned the return of railways to private ownership and the rehabilitation that had taken place.


Mr. Seaman introduced Frank Hammill who took the place of James Davis, Northwestern counsel who was unable to attend the event. This city, he said, formerly was his home.  He said that in Clinton, the company has the largest car repair shop on its system outside of Chicago, and the largest terminals with the exceptions of Chicago and Milwaukee.


Mr. Seaman then introduced Hugh Crawford, division freight agen of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy followed by D. Coughlin, general superintendent of the C. R. I. & P. railroad.


"Co-ordination of Railroads and Waterways" was the subject of an address to be delivered by President W. H. Finley of the Northwestern.  However, he was called to Washington.  Mr. Seaman gave a brief overview of the subject.


The toastmaster next introduced Captain George W. Dulany Jr., who had been given the topic, "The Birth of a Depot."

The speaker said it was a case of the birth of "quintuplets" as five things had been or would be born for Clinton: a freight house, a deopot, two subways and finally a second passenger station.  Captain Dulany reviewed Clinton early depot history.  He said that ever since 1872 when L. P. Allen, "one of our young citizens" had written about the "old depot" the question of a new deopt had been agitated.  One of the things which delayed its coming, the speaker said, was the lack of co-operation by citizens and railroads, and a lack of united ideas as to what was needed.  It took the matter a long time to crystalize.  In 1914 the proposition came to a head with the organization of a citizens' forum.  The solution of the problems, he said, originated in the Clinton Commercial club, where nearly every good thing has started. (Applause.)  C. P. Chase, he said, got out a booklet, discussing the question of a union depot.  The ball started rolling, and kept rolling.  In 1915 the transportation committee of the Commercial club, F. J. Ward chairman, issued a booklet on the subject of grade elimination and a union depot.  More people grasped the idea and commenced to think the same way.  Concensus of public opinion began to show results.

In February, 1915, Northwestern officials brought plans for a depot and frieght house to the council.  There was joy in Clinton, but as the plans began to be understood and considered the people were not satisfied with them.  They believed them to be inadequate for Clinton's needs, or for the needs of the railroad company.  Committees were appointed to consult with the railroad officials to show these defects.  The thing was done in a friendly way and the railroad officials commenced to develop more confidence in Clinton people.  They commenced to become mutually acquainted.  Subways were proposed, but were declared by railroad officials to be inpracticable.  City Engineer Thorne prepared plans and elevations showing subways to be practicible, and the railroad surrendered to this evidence.  In May, 1916, plans were proposed for a freight house and two subways.  In August, 1916, council called on the Northwestern for a definite proposition.  This was in Mayor Hansen's administration, and the speaker paid a high tribute to Mr. Hansen's tact in handling the proposition.  Long negotiations followed until September 29, 1916 when a mass meeting of citizens and railroad officials was held in the council chamber, with the mayor and council sitting as judge and jury.  The citizens finally showed themselves united on the question of what railroad improvements the city needed, and there was no discord in the chorus.  Afterwards, the speaker said, Judge Davis showed himself to be a big man.  He was convinced the people here were right, and he threw his influence into Clinton's cause.  He said the company didn't want to spend money for improvements which would not satisfy all the people.  Mr. Finley, then chief engineer of the system, did likewise.  In this way the perplexing question was worked out to the mutual satisfaction of the company and the people of Clinton.  Mr. Dulany spoke of the public spiritedness of people living in the vicinity who accepted the Northwestern offers for necessary ground, and sold their homes without a murmur.  On November 1, 1916, council passed a resolution asking the Northwestern to present its ordinances.  On December 8 the same year the ordinances were adopted.  The freight house was built in 1917, then the work was stopped by the war.  The station is now nearly completed, and work is to start soon on the subways.  In 1920 or 1921, the speaker declared, it is hoped that the other railroads will build their proposed passenger station here,  The speaker paid a compliment to Mr. Davis, Mr. Finley, and to Mr. Bracken of the Burlington, who he said did their utmost to assist in solving local railroad problems.

When Captain Dulany had finished his address the song-leader called for "Working on the Railroad," which was sung amid laughter and applause.  Then the company arose and sang "My Country 'Tis of Thee."


Mr. Seaman read a message of greeting from R. H. Aishton, regional director, a former Clinton amn, in which he expressed keep regret in his inability to attend the banquet.  He enclosed a memorandum, and asked Mr. Seaman to present it to the gathering.


Mr. Seaman then introduced Robert Quayle, general superintendent of motor power. His address was one of the most enjoyable of the evening.  His address was one of the most enjoyable of the evening.  He told of his coming here in 1885, and related many incidents of his early railroad experience.


This was the subject of an address of much interest presented by Attorney L. F. Sutton.  He did a history of Clinton's organization and talked of the vast riches of the Mississippi valley.


The closing address was delivered by Monsignor McLaughlin, pastor of St. Mary's church, whom Mr. Seaman introduced as a citizen who had ever had Clinton's best interests at heart.


The Benson orchestra pianist recieved a great hand when he play the Sextette from Lucin.  His work on the piano called forth much warm praise.

Mayor Corson and most of the members of the city council attended the banquet, and had a special place in the banquet hall.

Directors of the Sugar Refining company attended the banquet at the Wapsipinicon club last night.

Adjutant General Lasher was a guest at the railroad banquet.  The general was here yesterday to confer with Commercial club and Coliseum directors on the proposed Clinton battery.  He remained over to be the club's guest at the banquet.

Clinton's New Depot is Open

SOURCE: The Clinton Advertiser, May 24, 1920.  (I'd love to say there were several full color photos but, alas, there was only this article.)

The new Northwestern passenger depot in this city was officially opened Sunday morning when train Number 2? stopped for passengers and baggage at the new station in place of the former depot at Tenth avenue and Second street, and hereafter travelers and Clintonians using the train service will find it shorter to go by way of Eleventh avenue and Fourth street to reach the new station.

The removal of the effects from the former station was completed Sunday morning and now all baggage is handled from the new station, where all traffic stops.  The old station is to be dismantled and removed as soon as possible and additional trackage will be laid over the present plot occupied by the old building.

Clinton now has an up to date station which is as modern as any along the Northwestern line and is equipped with all modern equipment.  Large well ventilated waiting rooms have been provided and in addition a ladies ???t room is maintained.  A railway lunch room is maintained by the ? J. Dunn company of Chicago and Clinton people can be justly proud of the newly acquired station which has been a dream for years and at last has become a realization.

Contractors Miller and Ladehoff commenced work on the new depot June 29, 1919 and the formal opening was staged a few weeks ago when the Northwestern officials were entertained in this city by the local city officials.