Historic Structures

Chicago, Burlington and Quincy -CBQ- Railroad Roundhouse and Shops, Aurora Illinois

Date added: May 25, 2018 Categories: Illinois Train Station Industrial

The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad Roundhouse and attached backshop complex located in Aurora, Illinois, are a group of intricately-connected structures built between 1855 and 1954. The complex is all that remains of an extensive railroad shop facility that once filled the 60-acre industrial site on the east side of the Fox River. Extant structures, include a roundhouse, 3 attached machine shops, a rod shop, a blacksmith shop, boiler room, tool room, and wheel corridor and bay. They are an important part of America's engineering heritage not only because of their age and architectural features but because of their contribution to the development of midwestern railroads in general and the CB&Q in particular.

Portions of the complex are among the oldest railroad shop buildings in the United States. The roundhouse is the oldest full roundhouse still standing, pre-dating by some 10 years the Baltimore & Ohio West and East Roundhouses (1866 and 1870-72) in Martinsburg, West Virginia. It may also be the only stone roundhouse still standing. The stone machine shop (1856) ranks with the B&O Machine Shop in Grafton, West Virginia (1853-54), and the Central of Georgia Savannah Repair Shops (1850's) as the oldest railroad structures of that type. The Aurora boiler/engine room (1856), machine/erecting shop (1863), and the combination blacksmith and boiler shop (1873) are also noteworthy because of their age.