Galena & Chicago Union Railroad
The first railroad constructed out of Chicago, the Galena and Chicago Union, was chartered January 16, 1836, to
connect Chicago with the lead mines at Galena, Illinois. "The Pioneer," a Baldwin locomotive, arrived at Chicago
on October 10, 1848, nearly thirteen years after the charter was granted. In 1850 the Galena and Chicago
Union Railroad was completed as far as Elgin, Illinois, however the railroad never reached the original
destination of Galena . The opening of the Galena had an immediate impact upon the city of Chicago and by 1852,
over half of Chicago's wheat arrived via the Galena. Although only one railroad served the Chicago area
in 1850, it caused railroads to be one of the primary modes of transportation for the city.
The Chicago Tribune's "Annual Review of Commerce" for 1850 stated: "The three great sources and avenues of
Chicago's commerce abroad are the Lakes, the Illinois & Michigan Canal, and the Galena & Chicago Union
Railroad”. Eventually other railroads were built and Chicago became the largest railroad center in the world.

In 1862 the G & C U railroad leased in perpetuity the Cedar Rapids and Missouri Railroad which was to be the
first railroad to reach Council Bluffs, Iowa and the First Transcontinental Railroad.
The Galena & Chicago Union railroad consolidated with the Chicago and North Western Railway and the Peninsula
Railroads in 1864.
1853 Chicago Commerce
Page 17
1853 Chicago Commerce
Page 18
1853 Chicago Commerce
Page 19
Image Background:
1855 Illinois Railroad Map
1863 Map of the Galena Chicago Union Railroad
Click on an image to view full size
My Present Past
A genealogical experience