PRINCETON'S RAILROAD HISTORY
Street, Princeton, looking north from Broadway intersection of F. S.
Highway 41 and State Route 64
Princeton received its name when in a session of the court held in 1813, at the house of Henry Hopkins, it was decided to adopt a name for the seat of justice. It was hit upon to draw lots among the commissioners present and Captain Princeton won, so the town was given the euphonious name of Princeton. In the long period extending over more than a century, Princeton became an enterprising community and today with her town and suburbs, rates a population well exceeding the 10,000 mark.
It is significant to point out that Princeton counts among the first towns on the C&EI R. R. Searching through historical annals, Princeton is frequently mentioned in our early railroad programming. Embraced as she was in a new line chartered in 1849 under the name Evansville and Illinois R. R., projected from Evansville to Olney, Illinois, the line, as surveyed, would pass through Princeton, thence upward to Patoka and extend itself westward to the Wabash River crossing at Mt. Carmel and then to Olney, its terminal, to form a connecting link with the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad. The extension from Patoka westward was later given up.
Samuel Hall was actually the first president of our railroad who, together with other competent leaders, pushed the work forward, although money was not so plentiful. However, Princeton was reached from Evansville the Southern terminus in 1852. The only other existing town along the route was LeGrange, later to become Ft. Branch. On that memorable day old-timers recalled how the people assembled on the grounds where the James W. Lewis residence later stood, to wait for the promised train to enter town, scheduled to arrive at eleven o'clock. The populace were moved with fevered excitement over the phenomenon. With the approach of the train, the shrill whistle and bell ringing on the little engine all bedecked with flags, the patient crowds soon sent up whoops and cheers at the strange sight.
Church, Princeton, Ind. High School, Princeton,
Ind. Public Library, Princeton,
then came out of his car and moved along, dignified, to take his stand on
the tender to deliver an oration to the anxious multitude. This epochal
occasion stirred the strong hearts of the people, for few if any had ever
seen a train before. The thrilling episode was talked of far and wide. In
later years this segment of our line was absorbed through several
consolidations and subsequently be-came known as the Evansville
& Terre Haute Rail-road, and finally the Chicago and Eastern
much of this story we are indebted to Mr. John C. Gorman, our good friend
and publisher of the Princeton Democrat. He in his own way complimented
our railroad in this grand eloquence, "From its early completion
nearly a century ago to the present time, the C&EI Railroad has been a
pattern of progress that this community could not do without. The
advantage of this excellent rail-road can not be estimated". These
are nice words and worthy of our full appreciation. Such recognition
attributed to our railroad carries with it a credit in which our employees
have individually contributed their utmost to earn such distinction.
our tour through Princeton, we note the basic industry is coal mining. Here
is located King's mine of the Princeton Mining Company, part of the
Deep Vein Coal Company of Indiana. The King's mine shaft was sunk
several years after the former e south of the city, under
stress of forced production, the mine collapsed during World War I. The
present mine is one of the most complete mechanical mines in the state
and produces immense tonnage. Tests
show the available
supply of coal in this area reaches several miles to the Wabash River
bottoms west of Prince-ton and from present observation, leads to the
coal deposits lie beneath the bed of the river and extends well into the
state of Illinois.
the mineral field, Gibson County has a number of flowing gas wells and at
present more than 700 operating oil wells with even greater future
prospects in sight.
being the county seat of Gibson County, acts as the hub city of a vast
agricultural area. Crops grown are principally corn, wheat, oats, rye,
barley, soy beans, hay, alfalfa, clover and timothy. In the line of
edible products grown are melons, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, white potatoes,
and in fact all varieties of garden vegetables are raised in
abundance. Peach, apple and pear
orchards and berries are cultivated here, as well as raising of pure bred
cattle and hogs. Meat packing and slaughtering are important industries.
of Hybrid Corn farms and producers of seed are located here. It is
estimated the yield from agricultural and animal
products exceeds five million dollars annually.
King Mine at Princeton, Ind.
Here the Southern
Railway, an important connection with the C&EI, maintains its modern
division and repair shops. Devoe & Reynolds has a brush factory,
where are made the finest paint brushes, from the
tiny artist's brushes of sable, ranging to the four and five inch
painter's Super-Kleen Brushes. Other big industries include Hansen
Manufacturing Co., producers of precision articles of metal featuring
First Presbyterian Church,
United Presbyterian Church,
instruments made by their expert mechanics, die-makers and machine
operators. Potter & Brumfield manufacture electrical relays
and special parts for machines as
their work is in technical lines. Due to increasing business, they enlarged
their floor area. Two well known chicken hatcheries produce unlimited
quantities of chicks. The Sumner Chevrolet Company are erecting a
large quarter block garage. Automobile Sales
Agencies sell all the well known makes of cars.
new building under construction at the eastern edge of town will house
the Bury & Clements Oil Drillers and Seismograph Explorations, for the
manufacture and repair of oil drilling equipment.
from mining and manufacturing, there are the wholesale and re-tail
establishments, universally expressing their appreciation for the
excellent services given by the C&El Railroad home forces on inbound
and outbound traffic movements.
neighboring towns like Princeton are noted for their aggressiveness and
enterprise. Each operates its own water system, while electric current is
purchased through the Public Service Company of Indiana and the Southern
Gas & Electric Company.
Truckmen, C'&EI N. R.: Henry Phillips, helper,
left, and W. C. Caniff, truckman, right.
has excellent local transportation, electric service, natural gas, city
owned water works and sewage disposal, local owned telephone system
with A. T. & T. connections, Armory and National Guards (now in U. S.
Service) and Infantry Company State Guard. Its police and
fire departments are located in the city building. There are two city
parks with amusement facilities, children's playgrounds, baseball
field, tennis courts, outdoor picnic groves with furnaces and other opportunities. Every street in
Princeton, Indiana is hard
provides the very best in educational advantages, with public and
grade schools and one high school. Her Public Library, beautiful
churches, numbering 25 of all denominations, fraternal societies,
American Legion and many civic clubs
men and women, and Gibson County Hospital add to the prosperity of a
well organized American community.
Front Row, left to right: H. E. Davis, clerk; J. M. Front Row. left to right: Roy Cooper, Robert Miller,
Bratton, agent; John McCrea. clerk. Second row: J. E. Charles Miller, Allen Hoover and Kelso Alexander,
Whitten, clerk; K. W. Schaefer, cashier; O. A. Jones, foreman. Second Row: Carl Dill, E. Hedge, F. Dill
H. R. Phillips and A. IL Upton, operators. and Y.