Between 1902 and the end of 1928, an interurban railroad connected Janesville, Beloit and Rockford, Illinois.

Cars ran every hour from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. during winter and sometimes every half-hour during summer, according to stories in The Gazette’s archives.

The service started Dec. 10, 1902, and Janesville officials kicked things off with a ceremonial run to Beloit. On the way back, the rail car was filled with Beloit residents riding to Janesville to see what The Gazette called “America’s favorite musical, 'The Prince of Pilsen,'” at the Myers Grand Theater.

A Gazette reporter covering the kickoff said the interurban cars “made the cars operated by the Janesville street railway look like dry goods boxes.”

Families used the interurban to travel to Yost Park between Janesville and Beloit for family picnics.

Rockford, which had two amusement parks with carnival games and dancing, was another popular destination. 

In Janesville, the interurban route started downtown, traveled down South Jackson Street to what would become the General Motors plant and then continued down Prairie Road. About three miles south of the Hugunin farm, 2739 Beloit Ave., the line veered west and followed Highway 51 into Beloit.

Between Janesville and Beloit, the rail cars would stop anywhere a passenger stood. After dark, passengers either waved flashlights or lighted pieces of paper on fire to catch the conductors' attention.

The interurban eventually ran into competition from buses and automobiles. In December 1928, the Interurban Railroad Company filed paperwork with the Wisconsin Railroad Commission to discontinue the service. 

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