Walworth once an important crossroads community
A photo gallery of this Mystery Place is HERE
The former railroad depot for the village of Walworth is located at the north end of Main Street. It now has a sign in front of it indicating that it is part of the Iseli Co.
The electric railway was built from Harvard to Walworth in 1899. Until that time, Walworth was a small crossroads community. The village had been platted in 1857 by Carlos L. Douglass. In 1901, the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad came to the village. The track went from Chicago to Janesville.
In 1906, there were three trains that came into the village arriving westbound and three arriving eastbound every day of the week. In addition to this, there were two trains arriving westbound and two eastbound every day except Sunday. There was one Sunday evening train scheduled for the weekend visitors to the area. It took 2-1/4 hours to ride from Walworth to Chicago on the steam locomotive railroad.
In 1907, a horse ridden by Victor Weidman beat the electric trolley from Harvard. They both started at the same time from that southern location to Walworth.
Traveling salesmen would go by interurban trains from Chicago via the Northwestern to Harvard and take the Toonerville Trolley. The official name was the Chicago, Harvard and Geneva Lake Railroad. It took passengers to the village or on to Fontana. Then one last stub of ticket was good for a steamer to Lake Geneva. This was the means used to get the Chicago boys and girls up to Holiday Home Camp on Geneva Lake each summer. The trolley from Harvard to Walworth ran from 1899 until 1930.
According to the Walworth Sesquicentennial edition, daily train service stopped for the village on April 30, 1971. Commuter service to and from Chicago via the railroad ended Sept. 30, 1982.
According to that same paper, there were only two records of the land transfers for the depot property. William Higbee was the person who sold the land to the Janesville and Southeastern Railway. This was done in two stages; Higbee received $318 for the first transfer and $900 for the second one. Both deeds were recorded in 1900. These deeds had a clause requiring that all trains, both east and west bound, had to stop in Walworth. The second record of land transfer was to the Iseli Co.
With the advent of the automobile, the amount of railroad traffic decreased, and soon the railroad had to decrease its service. Eventually the use of the depot was eliminated. Actually, the station and ticket service at the village was eliminated two years before commuter service ended.
The Sesquicentennial edition states: Every morning two trains left Walworth for Chicago. The one leaving at 6:10 a.m. was followed by one at 6:20 a.m. The latter was a local that took more than 4 1/2 hours to travel to Chicago. The train had several baggage coaches that picked up farm produce along the way, especially milk from stands built next to the track. Train men loaded the eight-gallon milk cans from each stop by stepping out at a level with the baggage car floor. This is where the expression of being on a milk train began -- it was a slow train.