Chicago Great Western & Rock Island preservation in northeastern Iowa

Our mission and our history

The objectives of the Hub City Heritage Corporation are to encourage and promote the preservation and restoration of railroad memorabilia as pertinent to the Oelwein area. To establish, furnish and maintain a railway museum for the education and enjoyment of the general public.

 The town of Oelwein was laid out in a cornfield purchased from G .A. Oelwein in 1872 on the coming of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Minnesota Railroad. It was later called the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad usually referred to as the Rock Island.

Hub City Heritage was formed in early 1987 and opened the railway museum on June 14, 1987 and by 1989 we first acquired the Railway Express building.  Hub City Heritage later acquired the two-story yard office building and the 75-foot dispatchers' tower, which is the last of the CGW dispatchers' towers and the last tower in the State of Iowa.

On a continually basis Hub City Heritage acquires railroad equipment. Some of the largest railroad rolling stock that has been preserved a Chicago, St Paul Minneapolis & Omaha SW1 #55 switch engine with its cast steel frame built in 1940, an Chicago Great Western EMD FP7 “F-unit” locomotive repainted in its original factory Chicago Great Western EMD colors, a 40' CGW steel box car built in 1944, a CGW covered hopper plus other rolling stock. The Rock Island 17958 caboose was built in 1914, the CGW 637 bay window caboose was built in 1963.  Our latest motive power acquisition is the Minnesota Transfer 62 S1 diesel switcher locomotive built in 1941.

The Railway Express building was originally the home of Wells Fargo and Company Express in 1912.  Shortly after WWI in 1918 the structure was acquired by the American Express Company and in 1930 became the Railway Express Agency. The original building was one-half of what it is now and the cost to build it was $4,146.56.

Through this shipping agency many things were transported, including live animals, furniture and machinery. Many horses were shipped from this area.

Please keep in mind that if you would like to make a donation to the organization, whether it is railroad memorabilia or monetary, we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, educational organization.

Hub City Heritage Corporation Railway Museum

  26 2nd Avenue SW    Oelwein, Iowa     319-283-1939

Unless otherwise noted, images are Hub City Heritage Corporation Railway Museum
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