The Arbor District includes what was once the southwest quarter of the town: the original plat, the outlots, and early additions to the town.
The City went through several phases of development: The original town was platted in 1852, bisected by the Illinois Central Rail Road, which was completed through Carbondale in 1854. The developers, Daniel Harmon Brush, John Asgill Conner, and Dr. William Richart, had bought 360 acres of land along the right-of-way, on the road between Murphysboro, the Jackson County seat to the west, and Marion, the Williamson County seat, to the east.. They laid out business blocks on both sides of the rail line and small residential blocks flanking them.
For a history of the railroad, see the History of Downtown Carbondale, compiled for the Downtown master plan Advisory Committee
By 1876, when the above map appeared in the Jackson County History (Warner & Beers, Chicago, Atlas of Illinois) the town had expanded east to Wall Street, west toward Poplar Street, although that street has not yet been built, south to Mill Street, and north as far as Sycamore, although that street also had not been built. The southwest quadrant -- now the eastern part of the Arbor District, was the most densely developed, although at least two homes had been built along Walnut street west of the above boundaries.
Around the end of the 19th century the ICRR established its district headquarters in Carbondale. This brought steady growth, with related manufacturing like the tie plant on the northeast side. The city expanded in all directions. To be continued...