Born in Galesburg in 1949, Steve Gossard moved to Normal to study at Illinois State University where he eventually earned a masters in art history in 1982.  He worked for Amtrak from 1973 to 2009 as a ticket clerk/agent, serving at both the Bloomington and Normal depots. When the Bloomington depot closed in 1990, Gossard recovered some discarded materials originally belonging to the Chicago & Alton (C&A) and Gulf, Mobile & Ohio (GM&O) Railroads. He also accumulated research to write A History of the Chicago & Alton Railroad Stations in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, published in 1991.

The collection includes materials recovered from the recently (1990) shuttered Bloomington depot such as maps, blueprints, and correspondence; Amtrak related items from Gossard's period of employment there; and research materials for his book.