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Knox College Library
Special Collections & Archives

2 E. South St.
Galesburg, IL 61401

Path: Library home > Special Collections & Archives > Manuscripts > Manuscripts list > William A. Franckey Collection

William A. Franckey Collection
Manuscript Collection

Biographical Notes: William A. (Bill) Franckey (1952- ) was born in Galesburg, Illinois. As a child he rode trains with his father, W. F. Franckey, who was a fireman and later an engineer with the Burlington Railroad. "The roundhouse seemed almost like a cathedral with the distinctive aroma of engine oil. Each steam engine was unique, unlike the diesels which followed." W. A. Franckey first worked for the Burlington in 1969 as a laborer in the roundhouse. In 1970 he became a locomotive fireman, in 1973 an engineer. He worked first on the Galesburg and Ottumwa route and later the Aurora Division. From 1982-1983 he was a Road Foreman for Suburban Services, then returned to Galesburg to work as an engineer. Bill Franckey is the author of Cathedrals of Steel. Published privately 1999 it is an affectionate and personal view of Galesburg roundhouse and includes the reminiscences of many local railroaders.

Scope Notes: The collection includes material related generally but not exclusively to Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad, both passenger and freight. The collection is composed of railroad annual reports, promotional publications, railroad histories, depot and rail yard blueprints, rules and operating manuals, and railroad related correspondence. Also included are various railroad memorabilia items such as timetables, menus, postcards, first day covers and posters. The collection is especially strong in photos of locomotives, as well as, depots and rail yards, rail accidents, mostly in Illinois, but also including Kansas, Nebraska and Wisconsin among states. Most are original items from the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, 1850s-1980s. See curatorís notes at the end of this inventory.

Collection range: 1890s-1980s, 2003
Collection size: 60 inches plus oversize; plus realia in remote storage
Donor: William A. Franckey