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Songs and Stories
     July 9, 2019      #4C-190 SsK
 
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Kankakee was a 'Railroad Town' 

 

By Jack Klasey Looking Back

“All along the southbound odyssey, the train pulls out at Kankakee,” sang composer Steve Goodman in 1971, describing his journey aboard “the train they call The City of New Orleans.”

Kankakee was — literally — a “railroad town,” one of dozens created by the Illinois Central Railroad in the 1850s as its steel rails stretched southward from Chicago. The first plat map of the town (curiously bearing the name “Bourbonnais”) was drawn in 1854 by the Associates Land Co. That company was formed by a group of railroad directors to get around an inconvenient clause in the railroad’s charter that forbid it from developing town sites and selling lots (after ...

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Jack Klasey
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