The discovery of veins of highly desirable coal along the Vermillion River led to the founding of Streator in the 1860s. It was soon serviced by five railroads, including one which would become part of the Santa Fe system. Streator quickly become an important asset for the Santa Fe cause of its position along the mainline 90 miles from Chicago: It had numerous and varied industries; it functioned as a terminus for the Pekin branch, and traffic was interchanged here with the city's other four railroads. In the late 1950s the ATSF began expediting the interchange of solid trains with the New York Central, and true run-through service soon followed. Today, most of the railroad presence is long gone. James A. Brown describes this 140-year history with a presentation that includes dozens of historic photos of the facilities, as well as the magnificent steam and diesel locomotives that stopped in town.