Streetcars traveled the streets of Kewanee for over 30 years, beginning in 1903 when an estimated 10,000 passengers took a free ride during the first two days.
There were three lines, all starting at Third and Main Streets (right where we are). One ran east to the end of Lake Street, another south to Windmont Park and the third west to Kewanee Boiler.
In 1906 the company completed track to Galva and operated interurban cars between the two towns. The depot for the interurban was right across the street from here in the former First Baptist Church (where the Community State Bank is now).
The company was called the Galesburg and Kewanee Electric Railway because it was started by Galesburg businessmen. But within a year Kewanee investors acquired ownership.
The streetcar company built Windmont Park to be both a work place and a recreational park. The park housed a power plant, water tower and carbarns needed to operate the system. The lake, the grounds and a grand pavilion provided for recreation. (The arch structure in the mural was the entrance to the park.)
The streetcar business was never very profitable but service continued until the interurban to Galva came to an end in 1932 while the Kewanee streetcars kept running until the end of 1935.
The story of the streetcar system can be found in a book published by the Kewanee Historical Society. It can be purchased at the museum, the Kewanee Public Library, B and B Printing and just around the corner at Heartfelt.
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