The Carl Sandburg College Hispanic-Latino Student Association and the Hispanic Latino Resource Group, Inc. are hosting a dedication ceremony for the plaques created and installed by the City of Galesburg recognizing the location of the four Railroad Camps, where the workers of the C. B. & Q. and the Santa Fe Railroads lived beginning in circa 1917 to 1956.
In October 2022, the City of Galesburg issued a proclamation recognizing National Hispanic Heritage Month, which noted the boxcar families, many of whom lived in Galesburg. Thanks to research by the Hispanic Latino Student Association at Carl Sandburg College, information was provided to the City of Galesburg, and a request made for plaques to be installed at the four sites of the former camps, which honor the Mexican boxcar workers’ contributions to the community.
The plaques were presented to descendants of the boxcar families at a City Council meeting in the spring of 2023 and have now been installed at the four camp locations: Davis Camp (1600 South West Street), Santa Fe Camp (West Berrien Street, east of Dietrich Avenue), the West Humps Camp (South Henderson Street and County 10), and the Tie Plant Camp (Route 41 and Munson Road).
The dedication ceremony will be held on Monday, October 30, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. at the Santa Fe Camp monument site, located in the 1200 block of West Berrien Street. The event is open to the public and being held in conjunction with the Ghosts of Galesburg event, which will follow after.
“While it may seem that Galesburg has always been a railroad community, in fact, we wouldn’t be where we are today without the work and dedication of the Mexican workers and their families who settled here to bring the City and the railroad together in the early 1900s,” said Interim City Manager John Schlaf. “Today we see those past efforts reflected in the faces of their descendants in every leadership position in our community. The City of Galesburg is pleased to have been included in this project to honor each of the families involved.”
For those who would like to learn more about our history and the inspirational history behind the plaques, a DVD on the story of the Boxcar People is available through PBS and at the Galesburg Public Library.
***Courtesy of the City of Galesburg***