Streetcars in Kewanee

Streetcars in Kewanee and Galva, Illinois is a 100-page paperback book with over 50 pictures written by the late Fred Rozum. It covers the history of streetcars in Kewanee from 1903 to 1935 and the interurban operated by the streetcar company between Kewanee and Galva from 1906 to 1932.

The book is available for a $15 donation at our Museum at 125 N. Tremont, B and B Printing at 214 S. Main and the Kewanee Public Library (reference department in basement).


The author of the book, the late Fred Rozum, a longtime resident of Phoenix, Arizona, visited our museum five years ago with the idea of writing a book about Kewanee streetcars. Upon learning that we had considerable material, especially pictures, Rozum decided to make Kewanee streetcars the subject of his second book on Illinois trolley systems.

Rozum’s first streetcar history was about the Bloomington-Normal system that he published in 1999. Rozum’s interest in electric railways, as well as steam railroads, led him to write that book about the streetcars that he remembered from his youth. Rozum grew up in Bloomington-Normal where he graduated from high school in 1943 and then Illinois State University following military service in World War II.

Following the Bloomington book, Rozum began research on the Galesburg streetcar system. That led him to Kewanee, whose system was begun in 1903 by a Galesburg company, which envisioned an interurban between Galesburg and Kewanee. Fortunately for Kewanee, Rozum decided to write the Kewanee book first, and then if he had the energy he would complete a Galesburg book.

However, Rozum died on April 28, 2008, before he could begin the Galesburg book but with his Kewanee-Galva book virtually complete. Larry and Pat Lock, curators of our museum, agreed with the Rozum family to get Fred’s work ready for publication and the Kewanee Historical Society board agreed to publish the book.

According to Lock, Rozum’s book is based on the “daunting task of looking at 50-some years of the Kewanee Star-Courier on microfilm, which he secured through interlibrary loan and was able to read at the Phoenix Public Library.”

While Rozum’s avocation was railways, his vocation was in education. Rozum was a special education teacher who became director of the McHenry County special education district and then special ed director in the office of the Illinois state superintendent of schools. He later moved his family to Phoenix where he became Arizona’s state director of special education. Following retirement he started a railroad memorabilia store at a popular railroad park in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Click on the Video below for the story of Kewanee’s Streetcar History … and below that for a map of the system


Streetcar Map icon

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