Local History

WNIJ

Waterman is a railroad town. It began as a railroad station. It was named after a railroad employee. It still sees several freight trains pass through each day. But it also has its own unique railroad: The Waterman & Western.

Located in Waterman’s Lions Community Park, The Waterman & Western (also known as The Waterman Train, The Holiday Train, or simply Pete’s Train) has been bringing joy to visitors for 25 years. It is the brainchild of railroad enthusiast Pete Robinson, who knew from the age of five that he would someday run his own train.

By the mid-1800s, white immigrants had spread across northern Illinois -- Irish, Scottish, German, Swedish -- and in community after community, their contributions are well documented. But there is another group that came here that we know little about: the Welsh.

Join hosts Clint Cargile and Connie Kuntz as they explore northern Illinois’ forgotten Welsh heritage. Travel with them to the village of Big Rock, which was settled by Welsh colonists from the "land of the leek."