Laid out in 1853, Du Quoin has been home to a popular state fair since 1923. The fairgrounds are known for their picturesque lakes, winding roadways and grandstand.
Du Quoin, Illinois
20 North Chestnut Street Du Quoin, IL 62832
- Annual Station Revenue (2014)
- Annual Station Ridership (2014)
|Facility Ownership||City of Du Quoin|
|Parking Lot Ownership||City of Du Quoin|
|Platform Ownership||Canadian National Illinois Central Railroad|
|Track Ownership||Canadian National Illinois Central Railroad|
|10 Short Term Parking Spaces||20 Long Term Parking Spaces||Accessible Platform|
|Dedicated Parking||Enclosed Waiting Area||Wheelchair Lift|
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
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The simple brick and glass station at Du Quoin was modified in the mid 1980s by the city of Du Quoin with assistance from the Illinois Department of Transportation. The Amtrak waiting room has a brick half-wall with glass above it. The rest of the building is occupied by the Du Quoin Chamber of Commerce. A caretaker opens and closes the waiting room.
The city of Du Quoin was named for Chief Jean Baptiste Ducoigne of the Tamaroa, an Illiniwek people. Ducoigne was the son of a Frenchman and a Tamaroa Indian woman. In 1800, Chief Ducoigne merged three tribes (the Kaskaskia, Cahokia, and Tamaroa) into a new confederacy after a past confederacy was dissolved. The Kaskaskia had a winter camp in present day Old Du Quoin on the Little Muddy River. The camp offered shelter and hospitality to travelers, since the chief himself was of European descent.
The first settler in Old Du Quoin was Jarrold Jackson, who staked out property on the Little Muddy River in 1803, and owned and operated the first toll bridge over that river. Old Du Quoin, never a formal town, grew up around the old Indian camp. By 1840 the Illinois Central Railroad began construction of a railroad linking Chicago to Cairo, Ill. at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. This rail line passed a few miles west of Old Du Quoin; and around 1850, the settlers moved west to be next to the rail station there. Present-day Du Quoin grew up from that newer settlement.
Isaac S. Metcalf and Chester A. Keyes laid out the new town by the railroad in 1853, and named it Du Quoin. In this same year, the first railroad depot was built there.
Coal mining has been an economic motivator in this part of southern Illinois. In 1855 the first shaft mine was sunk near St. Johns, and with the rest of southern Illinois, coal mining became important to the region at the turn of the 20th century. However, since the late 1980s, the coal industry here has suffered significant decline due to the decreased demand for high sulfur coal. Mining facilities continue in operation near Du Quoin still today.
Mining and a vivid imagination led to the development of state fairgrounds in DuQuoin. In 1923, W.R. Hayes visualized a state fair on a 30-acre tract of land. His eye for the future saw the adjoining strip-mined areas as a place to expand, once the fair was established. Hayes founded the "state" fair in 1923 because he foresaw the event as a prestigious, statewide attraction that "would be improved yearly as long as the fair exists." His prophecy has proven true since the fair has grown in stature and attendance. Today there are 1200 acres with 12 lakes and ponds (salvaged strip pits), and 30 miles of winding roadways, plus the showplace mansion and stables, the grandstand, and the oval track that yearly showcases harness racing’s World Trotting Derby. The Du Quoin State Fair has been billed as a "state" fair since its beginning, even though during its first 63 years it was privately owned. W.R. Hayes' foresight has proved accurate once again, since the Du Quoin State Fair, now owned and operated by the state of Illinois, is truly a "state" fair, running second in August to the Illinois State Fair in Springfield (which is also served by Amtrak).
Amtrak does not provide ticketing or baggage services at this facility, which is served by four daily trains. The Illini and Saluki are financed primarily through funds made available by the Illinois State Department of Transportation.