The 2020 David P. Morgan Article Award goes to the three-part series, “Silvis Shops,” authored by Bill Leistiko and published in Remember the Rock Vol. 12, Nos. 1 and 2 (2018); Vol. 12, Nos. 3 and 4 (2018); and Vol. 13, Nos. 1 and 2 (2019).
Leisitko’s articles illustrate every aspect of outstanding railroad history by providing a comprehensive overview of the rise and life of one of the most important shops on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad. The story begins with the “Why” and the “Where” of the Silvis Shops, exploring why this location was selected and the steps the railroad took to procure the original site. It then moves on to explain how the shops were built and the equipment the company installed and used. The third and final installment in the story is a wonderful social history of the shops and the people who made it all work. From the early search for land to the purchase of Sears homes by railroad employees, Leistiko brings the vibrant history of Silvis Shops to life, both the big picture and many telling details. His articles contain a wealth of visual aids, including photographs of industrial equipment and the workers who used it. In describing the rich history of these shops and the men and women of Silvis, the author weaves together a fascinating and readable story.