The Old Illinois Central Railroad Passenger Depot (111-131 South Illinois Avenue)

The Old Illinois Central Railroad Passenger Depot(Click the photo above for an audio tour)

Built in 1903, with a major addition to the baggage room in 1930, the Old Passenger Depot was designed by Francis Bacon, an Illinois Central Railroad architect. The hipped roof station, modeled after one in Champaign, Illinois, was built of brick and stone with a tall central block and two long, lower-end wings. The outside edges of the bricks were shaped to make them look like cut stone. The construction of the Depot would not have been possible without the vacating of Monroe Street along the south side of the Town Square. This action by the City Council, at Illinois Central's request, changed forever the historic circulation pattern around the Square. The building ceased operations as a passenger depot in 1981. In 1990, the City purchased the Depot from the Illinois Central Railroad along with the surrounding nine acres, which comprised the original Town Square. In 1991, the Old Passenger Depot became the City's first designated historic landmark. Exterior improvements to the Depot in 1992 included replacement of the slate roof and metal cresting, paint removal, cleaning and restoration of the original red brick masonry, structural reinforcement of the baggage room, and replacement of the gutters and downspouts. The interior restoration was completed in 1996. The Depot was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.