The Chicago History Museum (formerly the Chicago Historical Society, renamed in 2006) is located at the intersection of North Clark St and North Ave in the Old Town Triangle neighbourhood of south Chicago. The museum was founded in 1856, only twenty-five years after the founding of the city, to study and interpret Chicago's history.
The museum is home to "Pioneer", the first steam locomotive to operate in Chicago. A redesigned exhibit space to showcase the locomotive as well as the first passenger car to operate on the Chicago 'L' system in 1893 opened on the second floor of the museum in September 2006.
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The G&CU renamed the locomotive "Pioneer" and used it until 1850 when it was loaned to the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy to work in and around Chicago. At some point, it returned to the G&CU/C&NW. It was donated to the museum in 1972.
The "Pioneer" is a 4-2-0 (Six Wheeler) wood burner with an upright boiler. The throttle lever was missing when I took the photo of the backhead above, but the rigging is at the centre of the boiler. There was no automatic safety valve. Instead, the engineer checked the pressure gauge and released steam through a manual safety valve.
The locomotive was built in 1837 by Baldwin for the Utica & Schenectady Railroad in New York state, as #4 and named "Alert". In 1846, it was sold to Michigan Central Railroad, who added a cab and tender. Two years later, it was sold to the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad, the oldest predecessor of what would become the Chicago & North Western Railway in 1859.
The locomotive was shipped to Chicago by schooner arriving on 10th October 1848 and hauled the first train westbound out of the city on 25th October.
The engine weighs 24,120 lbs, has 54" drivers and 11" x 16" cylinders. It operated at a boiler pressure of 100 psi delivering 3,428 lbs tractive effort. The original tender is now in Villa Park, IL, and the C&NW also used a replica coach when the "Pioneer" was displayed at railroad fairs, but this has long since disappeared.
#4 is displayed on replica wood stringer and metal strap rails.