Sunday, March 13, 2005

Underground (Electric) Railroad

McKinley Bridge was originally used to transport electric trains across the Mississippi
The clue is above the front door of the now-defunct St. Louis Globe-Democrat building on Tucker Boulevard. Carved into the limestone over the entrance is the image of a locomotive with railroad men on either side. Most people don't know that the building wasn't originally built to house the newspaper, but instead was constructed as a depot for the Terminal Railway, a passenger and freight service that served St. Louis and central Illinois. The unique aspect of Terminal's operations was that its locomotives were powered by electricity not coal or diesel. Access to their depot, on what was then 12th Street, was located under the street, where the vestiages of the old railroad are still visible. The railroad crossed the Mississippi on the now-closed McKinley Bridge on the near northside, where the old electric standards that carried the wires can still be seen. The passenger service on the line continued between Granite City and St. Louis until the late 1950s.