Around the dinner table after a hard day’s work, the residents of Sterling, Illinois have been known to whisper about the deaths that have occurred along the nearby railroad tracks and the banks of the Rock River. These deaths have occasionally left behind ghosts, the most famous of which is a wailing woman who wanders the tracks just beyond the Seventh Avenue dead end, searching for her missing children.
The City of Sterling was incorporated in February 1857 and is located across the Rock River from the town of Rock Falls. These twin cities are connected by the First Avenue Bridge. Sterling has long been a centre of industry in the area, ever since the Union Pacific Railroad, the oldest railroad network in the United States, came through in 1856. Businesses like Northwestern Steel & Wire, Franz Manufacturing, and National Manufacturing followed at the turn of the century. Consequently, the city was once called the hardware capital of the world.
Over the years, the twin life-sources of Sterling—the railroad and the Rock River—have occasionally become a curse rather than a blessing…
Legends and Lore of Illinois Vol. 4 Digital Edition
Or, order all 11 issues of the Legends and Lore of Illinois from 2010 in a special digital edition for your favourite e-readers. Places covered in Vol. 4 include Western Illinois University’s Simpkins Hall, the Seventh Avenue Dead End, Willow Creek Farm, Vishnu Springs, the Cambridge Death Curve, Crybaby Bridge, Archer Avenue, Rockford College, and more. Plus, read letters from our readers, the latest adventures of The Fallen, skeptic’s corner, and put your knowledge of these locations to the test with challenging trivia questions. Don’t miss these classic issues from the archives of the Legends and Lore of Illinois.