Mattoon, IL (MAT)
Throughout the year, residents gather for a series of "Clean-Up Days" sponsored by the Coles County Historical Society during which volunteers undertake basic depot maintenance projects.
1718 Broadway Avenue
Mattoon, IL 61938
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 37,536
- Facility Ownership: City of Mattoon
- Parking Lot Ownership: City of Mattoon
- Platform Ownership: Canadian National Illinois Central Railroad
- Track Ownership: Canadian National Illinois Central Railroad
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
The Amtrak stop in Mattoon is located at the former Illinois Central Railroad station, which has served passengers since 1918 and was once called the “entrance hall” to the city. The three story red brick depot formerly housed a power plant, mail room, luggage room, and restaurant in addition to the main passenger hall. Today the station serves as a stop for the Illini, Saluki, andCity of New Orleans; for the last, it is a flag stop only. Due to the topography of the site, the entrance from the street is on the third floor while the platform and waiting room are on the ground level.
In the late 1990s, there was talk of moving the Amtrak station to another location, which led the city to purchase the building from the Canadian National Railway. Soon thereafter, the Coles County Historical Society (CCHS) initiated “Project Depot” with the goal of establishing a multi-phase renovation plan for the building. A grant from the Great American Stations Foundation helped jump-start the effort. To combat water damage, the CCHS patched the roof in 2002, and the building was also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2005, the project received $2.74 million in federal grants, including $973,372 through the Federal Transit Administration’s Bus and Bus Facilities Program. As part of the requirement for accepting the federal funds, the city had to provide a 20 percent match. The CCHS raised approximately $400,000 through fundraising and private donations; the city contributed $70,000; and an additional $130,000 in grants was awarded from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).
In October 2010, officials from the city, the CCHS, IDOT, and Amtrak celebrated the completion of major exterior and interior improvements. The rehabilitation work included brick and marble repairs; improvements to the restrooms to bring them into ADA compliance; installation of an elevator as an alternative to three flights of stairs; exterior touch-ups to windows and masonry; updates to the climate control system; and restoration of interior ceilings, floors and woodwork. Renovation of interior spaces means that the city can move forward with a plan to rent out portions of the depot—particularly the street level—for offices or commercial establishments.
Mattoon won a $385,000 IDOT Capital Assistance Grant in April 2010. The funds, made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will be used to renovate the station’s platform and bring it into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The rehabilitated depot is at the heart of Mattoon’s reviving business district. The last step in the CCHS five-phase plan includes the creation of a museum in the depot. Exhibits will explore county history with a strong emphasis on how railroads impacted the region’s development. Throughout the year, the CCHS also sponsors “Clean-Up Days” during which volunteers work on basic maintenance projects. The former Illinois Central Railroad has also been considered as the future route of a high-speed rail line, and should the plan go forward, the depot will be ready to serve the passenger influx.
Mattoon was founded by the meeting of two railroads in 1855—the Illinois Central and the Terre Haute & Alton. The two railroads raced to the meeting point, on the assumption that the first one there would not have to pay to maintain the crossing. Settlers in the area marked out their lots with pegs, and the area became known as “Pegtown.”
The town was named after William B. Mattoon, the chief construction engineer for the Terre Haute & Alton Railroad. It is unknown why Mattoon received the honor, but it is possibly because his railroad reached Mattoon first. Mattoon grew rapidly thanks to its fertile prairie soils and rail access. Manufacturing and industry continued to grow because of the railroads’ influence.
Trains once brought Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas to Coles County for their September 18, 1858, debate at the Coles County Fairground. The candidates slept in Mattoon the night before the debate. On June 17, 1861, General Ulysses S. Grant assumed his first post as commander of the 21st Illinois Infantry in Mattoon.
In 1865, Amish settles started a community north of Mattoon. It is still common to see their farm stands and horse-drawn buggies today.
In 1940, the discovery of petroleum reserves surrounding Mattoon led to a small oil boom. The oil industry continues to be an important contributor to the local economy. Although Mattoon has lost several manufacturing plants in the last two decades, in 2007 the town was chosen to be the site of the U.S. Department of Energy’s FuturGen zero emission power plant.
Mattoon is known as the home of the “original” Burger King, a restaurant owned by the Hoots family. The Hoots family trademarked the name in Illinois. Later, the Florida Burger King chain registered a federal trademark. In 1968, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the chain had rights to the name everywhere but in Mattoon, because the federal trademark indicated priority over the state trademark.
Notable residents of Mattoon include former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Patricia Roberts Harris, actress Hope Summers, and Nobel Laureate Edward Mills Purcell.
Mattoon’s neighboring city, Charleston, contributes both residents to Mattoon and passengers to the station as it is the home of Eastern Illinois University (EIU). The communities work together to shuttle some of EIU’s 12,000 students, plus facility, staff and others, to reach Amtrak trains and other points of interest.
Amtrak does not provide ticketing or 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.
- 20 Short Term Parking Spaces
- 20 Long Term Parking Spaces
- Accessible Payphones
- Accessible Platform
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Accessible Water Fountain
- Dedicated Parking
- Elevator Accessible
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Wheelchair Lift