Named in recognition of local coal deposits, Carbondale developed as a mercantile and transport center in the late 19th century and subsequently became home to Southern Illinois University - Carbondale.
401 South Illinois Avenue Carbondale, IL 62901
- Annual Station Revenue (2014)
- Annual Station Ridership (2014)
|Facility Ownership||Illinois Central Gulf Railroad|
|Parking Lot Ownership||Illinois Central Gulf Railroad, City of Carbondale - Each owns one of two lots.|
|Platform Ownership||Canadian National Illinois Central Railroad|
|Track Ownership||Canadian National Illinois Central Railroad|
|50 Long Term Parking Spaces||50 Short Term Parking Spaces||Accessible Platform|
|Accessible Restrooms||Accessible Waiting Room||Accessible Water Fountain|
|Baggage Storage||Bike Boxes||Checked Baggage|
|Dedicated Parking||Enclosed Waiting Area||Help With Luggage|
|Quik Trak Kiosk||Restrooms||Shipping Boxes|
|Ticket Office||Wheelchair||Wheelchair Lift|
- City of New Orleans
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
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The current Amtrak station, a one story brick modular building, opened in 1981 and was built as part of a railroad relocation demonstration project. It is located three blocks from the former passenger depot in the Town Square, which was built for the Illinois Central Railroad (IC) in 1903. Francis T. Bacon, who also designed the IC depots at Champaign, Springfield and Decatur, used traditional materials such as brick, limestone and slate roofing for the Carbondale station.
In 1989, the city of Carbondale purchased the depot from the IC. Using original architectural drawings, historic photographs and personal interviews, Wite & Borgononi Architects prepared a restoration plan. The station’s exterior was restored in 1992, using funds provided by the city of Carbondale. With funding assistance through the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program, the state program to implement ISTEA funding, the interior renovation was completed in 1996. This structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.
The first depot in Carbondale, built by the town’s founder, Daniel Harmon Brush, opened on July 4, 1854, when the first train came though on Illinois Central Railroad’s main line. The Town Square Pavilion was reconstructed in 1992 using the hand-hewn beams from this first depot.
Native Americans had occupied the area near Carbondale for as long as 10,000 years prior to European settlement. Now seen within the Giant City Park, the area’s large sandstone bluffs created an easily converted habitat that still bear traces of ancient building and the scars of ancient fires. It was August, 1852 when Brush, John Asgill Conner, and Dr. William Richart bought a 360-acre parcel between two proposed railroad sites (Makanda and DeSoto) and two county seats (Murphysboro and Marion.) Brush named the town Carbondale as he planned that it should take advantage of the large coal deposits in the area. The town was incorporated by 1856.
After the Civil War, the town observed one of the first Memorial Days, on April 29, 1866, honoring the 55 townsmen slain during the war. Economically, the town developed as a mercantile and transport center, shipping both southern Illinois coal and fruit northward. The Carbondale area is in fact known as “Little Egypt,” possibly because of the region supplying grain to northern and central Illinois during the 1800s famine. The Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s (SIUC’s) nickname, the Salukis, refers to the association with Egypt, as the saluki was the royal hunting dog of Egypt.
Carbondale won the bid for the new teacher training school for the region, and Southern Illinois Normal University opened there in 1874, subsuming the Southern Illinois College, which had opened in Carbondale in 1866. By 1947, Southern Illinois College obtained full university status, and has since been a prime motivating force in the City’s economy.
Carbondale proudly claims one of SIUC’s professors, R. Buckminster Fuller, as its own; he taught at Carbondale from 1959 to 1970. Fuller was a pioneer of modern architecture and philosophy, believing, well ahead of today’s “green” awareness movement, that human societies should rely on renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind-derived electricity. He is very well know for his perfection of the geodesic dome as an architectural technique, inspiring the “Spaceship Earth” exhibit at Disney’s Epcot Center—and he was the author of the “spaceship earth” concept.
Fuller was awarded 28 U.S. patents and many honorary doctorates and other awards for his inventive thinking. Organic chemists honored him by naming a particular molecule of carbon after him because it formed a geodesic sphere: fullerene, or “buckyballs,” an amazing material that is making much of advanced miniaturization of electronics possible, as well as being used to create extremely strong and light materials for machines, vehicles, and buildings. Fuller and his wife, Anne Hewlitt Fuller, lived in a geodesic-domed house in Carbondale while he taught at the university; this house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.
Amtrak provides both ticketing and baggage services at this facility, which is served by six daily trains. The Illini and Saluki are financed primarily through funds made available by the Illinois State Department of Transportation.