This geocache is one in a series called St. James Farm. When you find this cache, you can obtain a code needed to find the series final called:
St. James Farm Final
The Chicago Aurora & Elgin Railroad (CA&E) rumbled its way through two stops at St. James Farm during the early part of the 20th century. This line was sometimes called the “Great Third Rail” a 52 mile long trolley network that had a “third” rail which provided ground level 600-volt electricity that pushed railcars holding passengers and freight to speeds in excess of 65 miles per hour.
In 1900, the widow of Jude Gary, one of St. James Farm first settlers, saw a great financial opportunity with the new rail line and secured a deal that in return for a strip of land 100 feet wide the railroad would provide a stop with guaranteed minimum of five daily trains traveling in each direction. This stop became Gary Siding, a short stretch of track located north of the East Barn which most likely served as a milk stop for the Farm’s bustling dairy operations. The second St. James stop, Mont View, located at what is now the corner of Winfield and Butterfield Roads was popular for visitors who came to St. James Farm for business and pleasure.
In 1957, with the growing popularity of automobiles, CA&E halted passenger service midday and left 3,500 riders stranded in Chicago. Freight transportation stopped shortly after and the once popular line came to an end.
In the mid 1960’s, Morton Arboretum naturalist, May Watts and others lobbied communities and land owners to convert the abandoned lines into public multi-use trails. The result is the 62 mile long Illinois Prairie Path, the nation’s first rails-to-trails conversion which inspired many other similar paths across the country. Brooks McCormick generously donated the property and land easements on the Farm’s eastern boundary and along Butterfield Road perimeter which is widely used for recreation today. The original CA&E track line is marked by a line of utility poles which run through the forest preserve.
The Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad Company (CB&Q) started in 1849 as the Aurora Branch Railroad. CB&Q cabooses were known as waycars. The waycar at St. James Farm was built in the Aurora plant and release in 1906. Waycar 14351 was retired from service in 1970. Brooks McCormick bought it at a WTTW auction and placed it behind his log cabin. In the 1980’s it was moved one final time to rest here at the east farm. It was used as a secretary’s office during equestrian events.
1. This Geocache is placed on DuPage County Forest Preserve property with permission. Permit #321
2. Do not place the following items in the Geocache: Food items, inappropriate, offensive, or hazardous materials.
3. DuPage County Forest Preserve hours are 1 hour after sunrise until 1 hour after sunset. Preserve users must not be in the preserves after hours.
4. It is the visitor’s responsibility to be aware of the policies and rules pertaining to this preserve. For more information on preserve rules contact Visitor Services at (630) 933-7248.
5. All Statutes, Ordinances, rules and regulations pertaining to the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County are applicable.