MENDOTA — Railroad communications could be confidential, and keeping messages from prying eyes was done through the use of special wax seals. Those seals were unique to each railroad and depot.

Former Mendota resident Jim Schlosser collects these brass seals and will bring his collection to Mendota for the Railroad Crossing and Country Fair Day on Saturday.

“The cool part is there was only one made for each depot up and down the line,” he said.

And the wax?

“It’s still made in Princeton,” he added.

Those attending Railroad Crossing and Country Fair Day are welcome to bring their own letter or document and have them sealed by Schlosser with one of his wax seals. The annual celebration kicks off at the depot at 10 a.m. with several returning favorites, including the Old West Registers and their cowboy train robbery re-enactments.

The day includes a display of vintage pick-up trucks, including the original Schimmer truck that has been restored.

The vintage railroad cars will be open and members of the Business and Professional Womens Club will serve treats in the restored dining car. Lunch also will be served 11 a.m.-2 p.m. outside the depot.

Rides on the Speeder car and the street train will be available, and bluegrass music will be provided by members of the Northern Illinois Bluegrass Association. A 50/50 drawing will be offered by the Mendota Museum and Historical Society, the event’s sponsor.

Tamara Abbey can be reached by calling or texting (815) 539-5200 or mendota@newstrib.com. Follow her on Twitter @NT_Mendota.

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