©2011 Galesburg Broadcasting Co.
|First Chicago Mayor Inducted Into National Railroad Hall of Fame
|The first mayor of the City of Chicago has a place in history, in Galesburg.
The National Railroad Hall of Fame inducted the late William Ogden during a ceremony Saturday at Knox College as part of Railroad Days, which wraps up Sunday.
National Railroad Hall of Fame Executive Director Julie King says the railroad wouldn't be what it is today without Ogden being such a visionary.
"William Ogden would become the first railroad builder and executive in the nation," King said. "Through his extraordinary vision and hard work, he cobbled together a number of small railroads, to form the powerful corporate giant, the Chicago and Northwestern Railway. Ogden often advised President Lincoln on matters concerning the Trans-Continental Railroad. He was a member of the board of commissioners tasked with creating the Union Pacific Railroad, and he was selected to serve as the first president of that company."
King says when Ogden first tried to expand the railroad in Chicago, the city didn't have much interest. So he went to other northern Illinois towns, and to farmers, to help finance its expansion, and they came through. But, she says, that helped the city become a "railroad mecca."
Accepting the award was Jack Harpster, who retired from the Copley newspapers as an executive. He says in 2003, he was watching a PBS documentary that brought up Ogden, and that led him to wonder if he was related.
Harpster says as it turns out, he was right.
"I began doing some genealogy, and I kind of got up to my neck in Ogden genealogy," Harpster said. "I found out that it was indeed the same family line. William B. Ogden is my first cousin four-times removed. Any of you who are involved in genealogy know it's awfully hard to arrive at these kinds of distinctions, to know how you're related to somebody from 150 years back."
Harpster says he is honored to accept Ogden's induction into the National Railroad Hall of Fame, but kind of felt like it was he himself who was being honored, because he filled up with pride when he found out he was related to Ogden through his grandmother.
Harpster has since written and had published the first biography of Ogden.
(William Ogden. Photo from Wikipedia.)
(Jack Harpster, descendant of William Ogden, speaks during Saturday's National Railroad Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Knox College. WGIL News Story and Photo by Will Stevenson.)
|06 26 11 by Newsroom
Click here for the WGIL News Archive
Click here for national news
The following provision applies to all visitors (which shall include persons and representatives of legal entities, whether such representatives are persons or digital engines of a kind that crawls, indexes, scrapes, copies, stores or transmits digital content). By accessing this Web site or digital service, you specifically acknowledge and agree that: (i) Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium; (ii) No Associated Press materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and non-commercial use; (iii) The Associated Press will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages arising from any of the foregoing; (iv) The Associated Press is an intended third party beneficiary of these terms and conditions and it may exercise all rights and remedies available to it; and (v) The Associated Press reserves the right to audit possible unauthorized commercial use of AP materials or any portion thereof at any time.