Monon Railroad

Monon Railroad
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The Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville Railroad was known affectionately as the Monon. Monon is derived from Potawatomi Indian words that sounded to the first settlers like metamonong or monong and seemingly meant "tote", or "swift running". In 1882, the railroad started printing "The Monon Route" on company maps, later naming itself "Monon - The Hoosier Line" on timetables, letterheads, and rolling stock.

Most Midwestern railroads built after the 1830's connected Eastern cities with the newly settled West. North-south lines stood as larger business risks. The Monon opened its 300-miles from Lake Michigan south to the Ohio River in 1853. As more railroads crossed Indiana, the Monon offered passengers and shippers links to the Southern at New Albany; the Baltimore & Ohio at Mitchell; the Milwaukee at Bedford; the Illinois Central at Bloomington; the Pennsylvania at Gosport; the New York Central at Greencastle; the Wabash and the Nickel Plate at Lafayette; the Nickel Plate at Linden; the Erie at Wilders, plus the Chicago & Eastern Illinois, the Chesapeake & Ohio, the Chicago, South Shore & South Bend, the Peoria & Eastern, the Grand Trunk Western, and the Louisville & Nashville at other points.

The few north-south railroads, such as the Monon and Illinois Central, provided timely service to Union forces during the Civil War. The Monon carried volunteers to mustering centers free; hurried sick, wounded or discharged men home at half-price. It carried troops, ammunition, food, fuel and medicine on contract. In 1861 alone, the government paid the Monon $9,149 to deliver 9,105 men to war-related destinations. Of 17 Indiana railroads running in 1861-65, only two carried more military personnel. A clue to the Mononís vital war role: Confederate John Morgan's raiders from Kentucky in July, 1863, tore out Monon tracks, pulled over water tanks, burned trestles and a depot at Salem, Indiana.

In April, 1865, a Monon engine pulled President Abraham Lincoln's funeral train at 5 mph, per orders, over the 90 miles from Lafayette to Michigan City, one of twenty railroad lines honored to participate in the 20-day, 1,666-mile trail of sadness from Washington, D.C., to Springfield, Illinois.

From 1854 on, the Monon provided inestimable service to the limestone industry of southern Indiana. Indiana limestone is unique because of its uniformity of color. A building constructed of Indiana limestone has the promise of identically colored limestone being available, should additional stone be necessary, even years later. Indiana stone was used to construct the Empire State building, the Pentagon, the National Cathedral, the Washington monument, and countless private buildings, museums, bridges, churches, walkways, monuments, statues, and gravestones. Each new slab of Indiana limestone rode a Monon flatcar first, wherever its destination.

The Monon merged into the Louisville & Nashville Railroad in 1971, and much of the former Monon right of way is operated today by CSX Transportation.

We are currently offering the following pieces from the Monon Railroad:





All certificates are sold only as collectible pieces, as they are either canceled or obsolete. Certificates carry no value on any of today's financial indexes and no transfer of ownership is implied. Unless otherwise indicated, images are representative of the piece(s) you will receive.