On December 12, 1859, the first steam engine came "chugging" into Independence. It was a great day for early settlers and farmers in Buchanan County when the first shipment of wheat and pork left Independence for the eastern markets.
In 1892, the Illinois Central station began to serve a dual role as both a freight and passenger service. With this in mind, the railroad line built a new passenger depot in 1891 that was a necessity to help take care of the crowds convening for the races at the kite shaped race track.
The Illinois Central Railroad Depot, hosted many travelers: soldiers from the Spanish-American War, President Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Nation and now you. Take a walk around the Depot's new location in Independence on highway 150. Check out the locomotive, cargo car and caboose. Imagine the train whistle blowing and your heavy suitcases waiting on the platform, the wind coming in fresh from the east.
Today, the Chicago Rock Island Depot and the Illinois Central Depot have been restored and relocated along highway 150 in Independence and serves as the home for Buchanan County Tourism. To accompany the relocation, a locomotive and caboose were donated and are on display next to the train depot.
The Depot annually hosts 'Christmas at the Depot' which is held from the first weekend of November through the first weekend of December. The Depot is open from the middle of May until October 15th, Tuesdays through Sunday from 12:00 Noon to 4:00 PM.