|Some brand new history-makers are a part of the National Railroad Hall of Fame in Galesburg.
The hall held its annual induction ceremony at Knox College Saturday, part of the Railroad Days weekend festivities which wrap up Sunday.
And one of the inductees was a man who helped shape the Union Pacific Railroad into what it is today.
As Hall of Fame Executive Director Julie King says, Major General Grenville Mellen Dodge helped change the course of history, talking with the nation's 16th president in 1859 about making the railroad run across the country.
"Dodge had a chance meeting in Council Bluffs with an attorney for the Missouri and Mississippip [Railroad], and aspiring political candidate named Abraham Lincoln," King said. "For two hours, Lincoln questioned Dodge about plans for a trans-continental [railroad], and the best site for the line's eastern terminis."
That meeting led to one years later that would result in Union Pacific helping build the trans-continental railroad.
Union Pacific Vice President Joe O'Connor accepted the induction award Saturday. "This really means even more to UP as we celebrate our 150th anniversary as a company," O'Connor said. "There's not many companies around that can say they've been here for 150 years, and there's really only one that can say it was founded by a President of the United States."
A man most known more for his extensive knowledge of the railroad system than his work on the railroad, is also now a part of the National Railroad Hall of Fame.
Hall Executive Director Julie King says John Walker Barriger III is responsible for a plan given to president Franklin Roosevelt that was not universally accepted at first, even after the industry nearly faltered after the Depression era.
"His advice to Roosevelt: consolidate the nation's railroads into eight regional systems. Barriger's plan was seen as radical and was opposed by most railroad management as well as the Interstate Commerce Commission. In reality, it was simply decades ahead of its time," said King.
Barriger had a large series of documents and photographs that became the basis of a library at the University of Missouri, St. Louis -- and some of those photos are on display at Railroad Days.
Barriger's son, John Walker Barriger IV, accepted the award, and says his dad would have loved being at the ceremony.
"He loved the railroad business," Barriger said. "He loved meetings like this. He loved being part of it."
Barriger says Galesburg has become an important point in the railroad system.
A Kansas native who had the railroad in his blood, Michael Haverty, is now also an inductee of the National Railroad Hall of Fame.
A one-time brakeman and later CEO for the Santa Fe railroad, Hall of Fame Executive Director Julie King says Haverty brokered the first deal with trucking company J.B. Hunt to essentially take over the firm's long haul business.
King says the two did the deal on a train trip that made an important stop.
"Two-and-a-half hours out of Chicago, as the train pulled into Galesburg, Hunt reached across the table, shook Haverty's hand, and said, 'Let's do a deal.' Withing a year of the agreement being finalized, the Santa Fe was doing nearly $30 million of business with the trucking company," said King.
Haverty is also known for work with the Kansas City Southern Railroad, and how they've been able to expand into Mexico, due in part to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Haverty says he's honored and humbled to be in the Hall of Fame.
"You talk about people with reputations that are truly historical figures in the railroad industry, I'm not sure that I really fit that category," Haverty said.
Haverty jokingly said he was glad that he didn't have to die in order to get into the hall of fame.
Haverty says he can't think of a better place than Galesburg to house the National Railroad Hall of Fame.
To listen to the entire National Railroad Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, CLICK HERE (mp3 format, approximately 57 minutes).
(Galesburg Mayor Sal Garza has a conversation prior to the induction at Knox College's Seymour Library Saturday.)
(NRRHOF Chairman Emeritus Bob Bondi, left, speaks with Aldermen Wayne Allen and Wayne Dennis.)
(Union Pacific Vice President Joe O'Connor speaks Saturday.)
(John Walker Barriger IV receives the induction on behalf of his father, John Walker Barriger III, Saturday.)
(Michael Haverty speaks after being inducted Saturday. WGIL News Story, Audio, and Photos by Will Stevenson.)