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We welcome and encourage your memories, comments, and questions regarding the Oregon Depot and its restoration. You may choose to share your contribution with other website visitors by adding to the forum found on this page, or you may prefer to contact us privately. In either case, we look forward to hearing from you, and we appreciate your interest in our effort.

Robert I. Short was my grandfather. He worked for many years at the Oregon Depot as the freight agent.

During the summers (1950's), my mom and I would come back to visit my grandparents. While I was there, Grandfather would let me go to the depot with him and let me be his secretary. I would type on the old black typewriter, file papers from 1 basket and put them back after I stamped them on back paid. Now thinking back, they were already stamped on front.

The real treat was riding the caboose to Mt. Morris to the Kable Company where they would either unload or load freight, and then we would take the caboose back to Oregon. While in Mt. Morris, my other grandfather, Charles Ferguson, Sr. would come out to the train depot for break to visit us.

If Grandfather had a train coming in with freight, I would go to ticket office and stay with Mr. Sharick. If there were passengers, Mr. Sharick would let me stand on stool so I could see over booth and stamp tickets, The passengers always dressed up. Mr. Sharick was also the telegraph operator that was fun to watch and listen.

Grandpa always said never go past end on building or go down by old bridge as there were hobos there and if I did would be in REAL big trouble. Before we went home we always walked around freight depot checking doors and any trains that might be in yard.

My mom, Mary Maraget Short Ferguson, and I took train from Oregon to the west coast. We were on our way to Japan to meet my father. I think the ride took several days. We ate in dining room and always tried to get window seat so we could look out. The table cloth was so white and silverware all shiny. They even had waiters to serve our food. After dinner, we would go back to our compartment to sleep. The train attendant made up the beds while we were out of the compartment.

Sandra Ferguson Gettings
Monday, February 10, 2014

In 1932, at the age of 10, my family moved from Aurora , Illinois to Oregon , Illinois as my Dad, Robert I. Short, had been transferred to be the Agent for the CB&Q railroad. I have many, many, childhood memories of the Depot.

I remember how cold that old depot was in the winter. Dad always had to keep the pot belly stove in the freight house stoked up as it provided the only heat in the building. Mr. Himert used to pick up and deliver some of the freight shipments to various businesses around town.

I liked to be there when those old steam engines would come puffing into Oregon , blowing their whistles and engineers waving. The engines were fired up with coal and the black smoke would come pouring out. Sometimes they had to stop and fill up with water, other times I remember Dad would go out with some kind of a hoop which had a note on it and the engineer would catch the note while going by. There was a long line of freight cars. Sometimes you would see the hobos riding in the open cars. The little caboose was at the end with the brakeman watching out for any hot spots on the cars.

Sometimes I got to ride to Mt. Morris with Jimmy Kervin (brakeman) and Hank Fruit (engineer) on the train to pick up train cars from the Kable Printing Plant.

It was an extra special treat to take the early morning train into Chicago for the day – the dining car had white tablecloths, silver and waiters. Mr. Vickerson was the Chief Steward in charge of the dining car. When the late evening train would come into Oregon , Mr. Vickerson would get off the train and stay the night across the street from the depot. At that time, it was known as Mrs. Lester’s Boarding House which was still there when I was in Oregon in October 2013. The next morning Mr. Vickerson would leave on the early morning train and have the dining car ready for the breakfast meal.

Some of my fondest memories were of train trips to Chicago for the day – the Shedd Aquarium, the Art Institute, zoo, and the Field Museum (which I loved). The World’s Fair was in Chicago in 1933 through 1934 and Dad took me many times to see this grand exhibit. At Christmas time, my Mother and I would go to see the beautifully decorated department stores like Marshall Fields and Carson Pirie Scott. Mother and I also went to Chicago to attend the opening of the “Gone with the Wind” at the movie theater. This was a really big event to go to the movie! I loved all my day trips with my parents.

In 1940 and then again in 1941, my Mother and I went to California on the train. Back in those early days, you would ride in coach with the windows open and soot coming in the windows. The AMTRAK passenger cars of today are certainly different then the old train passenger cars of yesterday.

In 1941, Clara Rose Wilmarth Speed and I graduated from Scovill Business School at Sterling , Illinois . Then we got jobs at Savanna Ordnance Depot in Savanna, Illinois . Every weekend we would go back and forth on the train from Savanna to Oregon until 1945 when World War II ended.

In 1948, my daughter, Sandra, (age 2) and I went by train to Ft. Lewis , Washington and boarded Army transport ship for Japan where my husband was stationed. Then again in 1954 made the same trip back to Japan .

Most of my early life and school years were spent in Oregon around the depot with my Dad. He retired from the CB&Q railroad after 50 years. Dad died in 1961. He worked hard but loved the railroad and especially those old engines.

Mary Margaret Short Ferguson
Oviedo, FL USA - Saturday, January 25, 2014

My days of the depot started when my dad ask me to help him take down a building near the depot.we went down one night after school and my dad was home from work.he had been working on this building for some time i could tell.the night i went we were taking boards off the floor in side the dad told me to come over where he was across the room.I went over and he had found some old money under the floor of this old building.I could tell it was old because it did'nt look like money I had seen.I dont know what ever happen to that money,to this day.that was back in the sixtys. I was in the third or forth grade.i can remember a few old box cars sitting around.and three old passenger cars there by the depot.i can remember my dad taking me fishing and seeing an old guy walking the tracks.I allways wondered if he was a bum.who knows

Robert Field
Rockport, TX USA - Tuesday, October 24, 2006 at 1:08 pm

I worked at the oregon depot from the early 1960 thru the early 1970 as a telegrapher, and train order operator. Had a lot of fond memories . I was promoted to Train Dispatcher with the Burlington Northern in Cicero,than transfered to Galesburg and finally Fort Worth, Tx, where I have lived for the past 12 years, of which the past 2 enjoying retirement. Good luck on restoring the depot . I have a few old timetables and other rr memobilia that I might consider donating to the office.

Merle Gann
North Richland Hills, TX USA - Tuesday, August 31, 2004 at 8:40 am

Although I never knew my Grandfather, George Mumford, he worked on the Oregon railroad. I remember my Grandmother, Edna Mumford, telling stories about grandpa and how hard he worked. I have a picture of my Mother, Mildred Reinhardt, standing by one of the train cars that was sitting on the tracks. My first real encounter with the Oregon Depot came when my brother, Ray "Corky" Green, Bob Hitchcock and about 6 of us neighborhood kids would ride the dinky from Oregon to Mt. Morris (Kable Printing Co.) where we were given old comic books without the covers to bring home. That was great!! Jim Kerevin was the man in charge and we paid a lot of attention to him when he talked. Later, when my husband, John Adams, was called back into the Navy for the Korean War a month after we were married - it was at the Oregon Depot that we said our goodbye. That was a very bad day as we were separated for 11 months before I was able to join him. I took the California Zephyr to San Francisco - that was a delightful trip - then boarded the ship that would take me to Guam and John & I were able to spend our first anniversary together!! Also in my memories of the Oregon Depot are when John (returning to civilian life) would take the train into Chicago every Monday morning to go to school - he would return home on Friday and I would meet him at the Depot and we would be together on week-ends. We used to ride the train into Chicago to go to the White Sox ball games. Those were always great trips!!

Viola Adams
Oregon, IL USA - Monday, May 12, 2003 at 10:25 pm

I am Lee W. Lovstad, oldest child of LeRoy and Nina Fay Koper Lovstad (now deceased) of R.R. 3, Oregon, Illinois. My two brothers and I were born to and raised on the family farm, now owned and operated by Jan Benard Lovstad. The farm is just below the CB&Q grade crossing on the Ridge Road southeast of Mt. Morris. In our early childhood Jan and I often ran in terror as Ma sprinted to the clothesline to rescue the wash as the dinky strained up the grade towards Mt. Morris, black smoke pouring from the stack. Often the load was so big the engine had to leave some cars braked on the grade, returning for them later. I can recall numerous trips to the baggage section of the depot to pick up shipped items such as our David-Bradley seeder, purchased in the 50's, and I think still in use by my brother. Other recollections include "your Dad hit the train...." (He hadn't, but the train was laying on the road, and later the mailman almost did). Career choices pulled me away, but your list of contributors holds many familiar names. I include my mailing address. As years advance I have begun to informally record my recollections, which include a section laborer's summer in 1966 on Section 29 out of Polo. We often reported on site to Roy Withers' crew out of Oregon when extra hands were needed. Sincerely, Lee W. Lovstad

Lee W. Lovstad
Marshall, IL USA - Sunday, April 13, 2003 at 08:41am