The Granite Railway Company of Quincy was the first commercial railway in the United States. Incorporated in 1826 and designed by Gridley Bryant, the railway relied on horses, rather than steam locomotives, to draw the cars along the tracks. Its primary purpose was to transport granite from Quincy to build the Bunker Hill Monument.
The Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy Railroad was the first railroad to link Chicago and the Mississippi River, in the 1850s. This forty-stall roundhouse, large even for its time, became a major center for railroad activity for the CB&Q. It served as a repair and construction facility from which more locomotives and cars than any other CB&Q installation were built. Steam engines, passenger cars, freight cars, precision parts, tools, and machines were designed and built, beginning about 1858.