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Rock Island and Peoria Railway Company


SKU: 1172
Product Details

Intricately engraved antique stock certificate from the Rock Island and Peoria Railway Company dating back to the 1870's. This document, which is signed by the company President and Secretary, was printed by the Western Bank Note Company and measures approximately 9 3/4" (w) by 7 1/2" (h). 


This certificate's vignette features a train crossing a bridge over a herd of livestock in a stream. A small train appears at the bottom of the piece.

You will receive the exact certificate pictured.

    Historical Context

    The Peoria and Rock Island (P & RI) was built during the post-American Civil War 1860s, a period of substantial railroad development, especially in the victorious Northern states. Although both Peoria, Illinois and Rock Island, Illinois are located on navigable waterways and enjoyed substantial freight traffic by steamboat, there would be no direct water connection between the Upper Mississippi River and the Illinois River until the construction of the Hennepin Canal in 1907. The Peoria and Rock Island, for legal purposes, changed its name to the Rock Island and Peoria Railway in October 1877.

    The largest railroad serving Rock Island was the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific, a multi-state railroad that soon acquired the smaller Rock Island and Peoria. On June 11, 1903, the former P & RI became a branch line of the larger transportation company. As a branch line, the P & RI specialized in the transportation of freight from the "Rock Island's" Great Plains service area to Peoria. During the early years of the 20th century, distilleries in Peoria manufactured a significant share of U.S. produced blended whiskey. Carloads of small grains such as rye and barley rumbled southeastward on the former Peoria and Rock Island to the fermentation vats.

    The enactment of American Prohibition in 1919, together with the invention of the mass-produced automobile, dealt the former Peoria and Rock Island a blow from which it could not recover. The Rock Island railroad began to shut down its Peoria branch line in 1963. While that section of the P & RI that stretches from Peoria north to Toulon, Illinois became a public trail in 1989, the northern section of the same right-of-way, between Toulon and Rock Island, was liquidated into the hands of adjacent landowners in the private sector.