The Ahlgrim Park Case


Picture 1 and Picture 2. The pictures here were posted on my Bygone Places Shelby page. They were also posted to the Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society's Discussion List. It was my contention that in both these images you are looking south toward the Knakakee River from a position near Ahlgrim Park, now called Shady Shores.

Picture 3. In this image, the contention was that you were standing on the north end of the Kankakee River trestle looking north towards Shelby. Also note Kankakee River sign.

Several people within the Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society attempted to correct my conclusions, saying that based on shadows, the 2003 Tour Book and 1947 Valuation Plans, these buildings were all on the south side of the Kankakee River.

Here, I will defend my contention that my original descriptions were correct. In pictures 1 and 2 above, you are indeed north of the Kankakee River, looking south towards Thayer, and in picture 3, you are indeed looking north toward Shelby. The evidence will be overwhelming, but when I'm finished, there will be no doubt that my original premise was correct.

Exhibit A Passenger Timetables. Note Water Valley is listed as a stop. The building pictured to the east of the tracks was at one time a depot. The 1932 Val Plans show this building and a cinder platform. Look closely at Picture 2 and you can see there is a cinder platform between the structure and the tracks. This depot, later section house, served the many hunting lodges and Ahlgrim Park. Check out the 1895 Timetable too. Water Valley is also listed as a station. The building pictured with the white fence was in all likelihood the former depot for Water Valley.





Exhibit B Close up shot of the structure on the east side of the tracks which at one time was a depot. Note the cinder platform.






Exhibit C In this image you are looking south along the east side of the tracks. This is the approximate location where Picture 1 was taken. The road crossing had not yet been built, therefore it could not be in Picture 1, picture 3 or Exhibit B picture.




Exhibit D This chunk of concrete foundation is in the general vicinity of where the structure is in the pictures above, on the east side of the tracks.





Exhibit E Looking north along the mainline, circa 1900. Note once again the cinder platform west of the depot and fence. Also take note of the houses on the left side of the image.






Exhibit F Circa 2006. You are looking north along the right of way from approximately the same vantage point as the Picture 3 above. Do the houses look familiar? Note also that the land between the pole pictured is just slightly lower than the right of way. Also, at the yellow house pictured the road drop down. Interesting, eh? Almost like it could have been one of the sidings pictured in the 1900 pictures. Oh yea, one more feature to note in this picture. In front of the second pole on the left, note the concrete slab, once a foundation. Could this be where the pump house sat? On closer inspection, part of the slab has been removed. It was almost 12 feet across. The 1932 Val Plan shows a pump house. Interesting, isn't it?


Exhibit G Close up of the concrete foundation/ slab. Where the leaves and weeds are in the middle of the slab, it appears that it had been filled in with dirt. Could at one time this be where the pipes from the pumps were?





Exhibit H Looking south towards where the pump house once sat. Note how roadway rises like a grade crossing. The interesting thing is that the road turns to the left and continues on at the same level. This was the siding that was pictured in the 1900 pictures that turns off west. Since the pump house was coal fired, it is speculated that a car load of coal would be spotted there and unloaded. The concrete foundation is behind the third pole (The one that is leaning to the right.).




Exhibit I Looking down the road where the old siding once went. Near the garage pictured the roadway dips down, indicating the end of the siding.





Exhibit J In Picture 3 and Exhibit E above on the west side of the tracks, in the distance, is pictured a water tank. On the east side of the tracks the home signal for the crossing is also visible in the picture. According to the 1932 Val Plan revision, it shows a water tank which was removed prior to the revision. The water tank was located about 100 yards south of the Monon - Illinois, Indiana and Iowa crossing in Shelby proper. The home signal is about 30 yards north of where this water tank was. Pictured are the remains of that water tank. It is 100 yards south of the crossing, on the west side of the tracks. Note the pipe. When looking down the pit, the pipe ran south alongside the tracks to the pump house pictured in the 1900 pictures.




Exhibit K and L Two more views of the remains of the water tank, south of the crossing. In Exhibit K, you can see the crossing in the distance.


Exhibit M This photo is the Picture Of The Week. Monon K-2 Pacific #412 northbound at Shelby. This picture therefore had to have been taken from the water tank that once stood south of the Monon - 3I crossing at Shelby. How do I know that? If you have never been to Shelby, there are no structures between the crossing and the river where this picture could have been taken. No elevator, barn or buildings on the west side of the tracks. It is all farm fields. It would be unlikely it was taken from an aircraft. Water Valley is in the distance. Note the building on the east side of the tracks. Look familiar? How about the building on the west side of the tracks?


February 17 2006 Rebuttal

I have spoke of the 1932 Revision of the Val Plan. Well, now it is time to present the clincher:

Exhibit 1 Shelby PDF File


Rebuttal Exhibit 1 1932 Revision of the 1915 Valuation Plan. True north is clearly marked on the plan. The right of way follows a northwest path through the area. Note the footprint of a structure on the east side of the tracks. That is the depot like building pictured. Note the notation of the cinder platform. The structure in the pictures has said cinder platform. Note the siding going of to the east north of the building. It is marked retired, so it was removed by the 1932 revision. Same siding as in the photos above. Now, look on the west side of the tracks. Note the footprint for the Pump House and Coal Bin. Oh, one more thing, note the Kankakee River sign, in picture 3 above, is noted on the plan. The second siding, going off to the southwest is not shown, but it is possible that it was added or taken out before this revision was completed. I contend that it was used to deliver coal to fill the coal bin. Here are some mile posts from the Val Plan: The numbers in parentheses are those omitted from the full number by convention from the notes on the plan.

Ends of Cinder Platform between side track and bridge (28)11+00=53.23 to (28)16+00=53.33
Pump house (28)12+40 =53.26
Coal Bin (2812)+57 =53.27
Kankakee River Sign (28)13+11 =53.27
End of Pile trestle Br 53.3 2814+06 =52.29
County Line 2816+50 =53.34

Note that the MP's are increasing toward the river indicating a southward direction and placing the stuff on the north side of the river.

It was stated that because there was a water tank south of the river, as verified by the 1947 Val Plan and Tour Book, why have two water tanks that close? I don't have the answer to that question. Look just railroad south, actual direction southest of the Monon - 3 I crossing. Please note the notation for the center line of a water tank that was retired. This location corresponds to the foundation supports and the pipe that I found 100 yards, give or take, south of the crossing on the west side of the tracks, Exhibits J, K and L. So, yes, at one time there was a water tank north of the river and odds are the pump house in the pictures pumped water north to this tank. Also note the home signal, railroad south, again southest of the tank. In the photos, the home signal is visible, although blurred on the east side of the tracks, right side of photograph, southest of the water tank.

Rebuttal Exhibit 2 This topographical map was used in an attempt to verify that the buildings pictured about had to have been south of the river. The criticism is: "Tom claims that on his Exhibit N (the valplan with the name "Water Valley across its top), "north is to the left". It is not. It is to the right." The image above is a larger section of the Terraserver map. "I've attached it and a portion of the topo of the same place (just a single tile because I have no idea how to attach the whole thing). (You can access the whole map yourself here. )

On both Exhibit B and the topo tile, look at the shape of the river and its sloughs or bayous or whatever you want to call them (I call them sloughs). Now, on the topo tile, look at the mouth of the slough just east of the MONON bridge where the "B" in "BM 644" is. Compare this to the river bank patterns in Tom's Exhibit B. On it, the mouth of the adjacent slough is BELOW the bridge, meaning that east is down on Exhibit B and therefore, north is to the right, not the left. Plus, look at the way the slough gradually gets further from the track the further to the left on Exhibit B you look. It does on the topo, too, but that direction clearly is SOUTH."

Rebuttal Exhibit 3 This picture was taken from the south bank of the Kankakee River, looking to the southeast along the mainline. Using the topo map above, it was taken left of the "B" in the BM 644. Do you see a slough or channel running alongside the tracks? To the left side of the image, there is a channel, slough or bayou pictured. This channel starts south of the river, for about 50 yards, then turns to the left and ends at a service road that was built when the new highway bridge was constructed. According to the topo map, the slough, or bayou continues south along the railroad right of way. Looking down the tracks, do you see any water past the first pole pictured? When I walked the location and took this picture, I could not see any either.


Rebuttal Exhibit 4 This picture was taken from the service road, looking west. Remember the right of way runs from the southeast to the northwest. This location on the topo map is near the small black square under the "M" in the BM 644. You can also see the Monon bridge, Kankakee River and the mouth of the slough or bayou.




Rebuttal Exhibit 5 This picture was taken from the center of the Monon bridge across the Kankakee River. You are looking northwest. The white beyond the poles pictured is ice on the bayou. This inlet, or bayou is indicated on the topo map. When compared to the Val Plan in the PDF file above, they match, except that the Val Plan shows the bayou longer. What is known as Shady Shores today contains several bayous and channels. In the older pictures above there is a siding going south (Remember the right of way between Shelby and Thayer runs from the northwest to the southeast.) I contend that when this siding was built, that channel was in all likelyhood filled in, which is why it was shown longer on the original 1915 Val Plan. When the plan was drawn in 1915, I suspect the bayou did meander around inside Ahlgrim Park. In 2006 there are several bayous winding through the area. Also, note all the houses pictured. These are indicated on the topo map as black dots. The houses pictured above look like they match up with all the dots. Look at Exhibit P again. Do you see any houses south of the river. In pictures 1, 2 and 3 above there are structures on either side of the railroad. Where would they be if these structures were south of the river, as it is suggested and supported by the topo map. Maybe they were all taken out, or maybe because there were no houses south of the river except for the Folgi Hotel, indicated on the topo map by the two black dots under the "44" in the BM 644. The other buildings in 1, 2 and 3 above are closer to the pump house and the building that looks like a depot. From the right of way, I estimate the Folgi Hotel is at least 200-250 yards from the right of way.

Rebuttal Exhibit 6 In this image you are looking to the northest along the right of way. In the distance you can see the Kankakee River bridge. On the topo map this location would be left of the black dot I have already identified as the old Folgi Hotel. According to the topo map there should be a slough or bayou to the right side of the image. Do you see any? I sure did not. The culverts pictures on the left are all that remain of Bridge 53.5. Unfortunately I did not take pictures of the east side of the tracks and the culverts on that side.



March 06, 2006 Some New Evidence

March 4, 2006. While at the Monon Railroad Historical-Technical Society Inc. World Headquarters in Linden, Indiana researching another project, several drawings were brought to my attention by Robert Wheeler, Chief Archivist for the MRHTS Inc. The Archives at Linden contained several maps and drawings of Water Valley and the location being debated. I will attempt to post as many as I can once they are converted into PDF file format. Since the Society has no copier with the capacity to copy these drawings full size they were done in sections by Warren Mitchell and Robert Wheeler.

Monon Railroad Drawing, 7-2-1941

This drawing, dated July 2, 1941 drawn by the Office Of Engineering Maintenance Of Way, shows the proposed location of a tank in Water Valley. Note some familiar features. The depot, which is marked Station House, the Pump House and Coal Bin and of course the Kankakee River sign. On earlier drawings Bob found the inlet marked "Back Water" was listed as a Coal Barge slip. I hope to have this drawing posted in the near future.

Retired Track I.C.C. 31 This is a drawing of retired track at Water Valley, by the Office Of Engineering Maintenance Of Way, June 10, 1925. This was also found in the Archives, in the Water Valley folder. This is the siding leading off to the left, near the station, in some pictures above. This siding was taken out in 1925.

More to come, stay tuned.

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