California Zephyr at Galesburg Illinois
The City of Galesburg is a unique town in that it was a planned city whose purpose was fostering religious education. Knox College was the main reason for its existence. The college was granted a charter by the Illinois State Legislature in 1837, but it was not until 1841 that it opened its doors to the first freshman class. Old Main was completed in 1857 and has the distinction of being the only building still standing where a Lincoln-Douglas debate was held, the fifth and most famous of the debates held in 1858.
The town also became the shipping center of the territory. In 1854 the first train rolled into town on the Central Military Tract (now Burlington Northern Railroad). Later, the Santa Fe railroad was persuaded to extend its line from the Mississippi to Chicago to run through Galesburg. In celebration of our railroad heritage, every June “Railroad Days” is held, included in the event are tours of the $83 million Burlington Northern rail yards.