Friday, February 6, 2009

Behind C-Street

In 1870, Springfield was excited about the arrival of the railroad from St. Louis. Springfield would finally be connected to the rest of the country. The railroad depot became the centerpiece of activity on the new Commercial Street. C-Street became a street vibrant with the railroad.

Today, if you step out back any business on the north side of C-Street you will automatically be on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe property. The property line ends at our back doors. This photo is the back door of RB&C. Most back doors are docks from the old days when the train would unload meat, horse care items, feed, furniture, tobacco and sundries.

In the early 1980's, I worked for Mr. Rosen and his son, Mark at Busy Bee Department Store. We used the dock and dock elevator for all deliveries, (the elevator had a hand pulley). We would hoist cases and cases of Levi's 501 jeans up to the 3rd foor for processing and tagging. Busy Bee (established in 1971) was known as the farmer's store because of the Levi's and Dungeree's farmer's wore.
There are at least eight active tracks just outside my back door. The trains work off an electric system and can start and stop without an engine. Many times you will hear the trains hook up with a loud crash. I have become accustom to the sound but am reminded how alarming it is when a customer asks, "What was THAT?"
Today, there is a train of boulders only feet from my back door. It's quite amazing site! Trains are much bigger than I thought they were.
This is the tail end of the boulder train. The back yard of C-Street is just as interesting with as much character as the front. By law, there is no trespassing to the train yard but to business owners the Railroad has been kind enough to let us park our vehicles in the gravel. I wanted to share what others may never have the chance to see. If you are ever in the area, you can walk across the the tracks via the historic Jefferson Avenue Footbridge. A glorious site lit up at night!

3 comments:

Project Junky said...

I remember my curiosity about the back of your building. I was always so frustrated that we couldn't just park back there. And I always felt so official if I got to use this entrance that led straight to my office. Miss those days.

Jennifer said...

P'Junky: I miss those days, too! Your office is still here!

Cathe Holden said...

Very cool shots. I love trains. None around us here. Great post!