Copublished with the Utah State Historical Society. Affiliated with the Utah Division of State History, Utah Department of Heritage & Arts
Andrew J. Russell is primarily known as the man who photographed the famous “East and West Shaking Hands” image of the Golden Spike ceremony on May 10, 1869. He also took nearly one thousand other images that document almost every aspect of the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad. Across the Continent is the most detailed study to date of the life and work of an often-overlooked but prolific artist who contributed immensely not only to documentation of the railroad but also to the nation’s visualization of the American West and, earlier, the Civil War.
The central focus in the book is on the large body of work Russell produced primarily to satisfy the needs of the Union Pacific. Daniel Davis posits that this set of Russell’s photos is best understood not through one or a handful of individual images, but as a photographic archive. Taken as a whole, that archive shows that Russell intended for viewers never to forget who built the Union Pacific. His images celebrate working people—masons working on bridge foundations, freighters and their wagons, surveyors with their transits, engine crews posed on their engines, as well as tracklayers, laborers, cooks, machinists, carpenters, graders, teamsters, and clerks pushing paper.
Russell contributed to a golden age of Western photography that visually introduced the American West to the nation, changing its public image from that of a Great American Desert to a place of apparently unlimited economic potential.
This book examines the concern of a variety of interest groups with federal policy toward railroads, concentrating on the crucial years during World War I when the federal government ran the industry, and prior to the passage of the Transportation Act of 1920. Through extensive archival research, James A. Kerr describes the political dealings among those involved in railroad-government relations: labor leaders; shippers; railroad executives; and financiers; and analyzes the motivations that influenced policymaking.
Robert E. Gallamore Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress HE2751.G337 2014 | Dewey Decimal 385.09730904
Overregulated and displaced by barges, trucks, and jet aviation, railroads fell into decline. Their misfortune was measured in lost market share, abandoned track, bankruptcies, and unemployment. Today, rail transportation is reviving. American Railroads tells a riveting story about how this iconic industry managed to turn itself around.
John F. Stover University of Chicago Press, 1997 Library of Congress HE2751.S7 1997 | Dewey Decimal 385.0973
Few scenes capture the American experience so eloquently as that of a lonely train chugging across the vastness of the Great Plains, or snaking through tortuous high mountain passes. Although this vision was eclipsed for a time by the rise of air travel and trucking, railroads have enjoyed a rebirth in recent years as profitable freight carriers.
A fascinating account of the rise, decline, and rebirth of railroads in the United States, John F. Stover's American Railroads traces their history from the first lines that helped eastern seaports capture western markets to today's newly revitalized industry. Stover describes the growth of the railroads' monopoly, with the consequent need for state and federal regulations; relates the vital part played by the railroads during the Civil War and the two World Wars; and charts the railroads' decline due to the advent of air travel and trucking during the 1950s.
In two new chapters, Stover recounts the remarkable recovery of the railroads, along with other pivotal events of the industry's recent history. During the 1960s declining passenger traffic and excessive federal regulation led to the federally-financed creation of Amtrak to revive passenger service and Conrail to provide freight service on bankrupt northeastern railroads. The real savior for the railroads, though, proved to be the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which brought prosperity to rail freight carriers by substantially deregulating the industry. By 1995, renewed railroad freight traffic had reached nearly twice its former peak in 1944.
Bringing both a seasoned eye and new insights to bear on one of the most American of industries, Stover has produced the definitive history of railroads in the United States.
With its infamously packed cars and disciplined commuters, Tokyo’s commuter train network is one of the most complex technical infrastructures on Earth. In An Anthropology of the Machine, Michael Fisch provides a nuanced perspective on how Tokyo’s commuter train network embodies the lived realities of technology in our modern world. Drawing on his fine-grained knowledge of transportation, work, and everyday life in Tokyo, Fisch shows how fitting into a system that operates on the extreme edge of sustainability can take a physical and emotional toll on a community while also creating a collective way of life—one with unique limitations and possibilities.
An Anthropology of the Machine is a creative ethnographic study of the culture, history, and experience of commuting in Tokyo. At the same time, it is a theoretically ambitious attempt to think through our very relationship with technology and our possible ecological futures. Fisch provides an unblinking glimpse into what it might be like to inhabit a future in which more and more of our infrastructure—and the planet itself—will have to operate beyond capacity to accommodate our ever-growing population.
Bonds of Enterprise uses the life of railroad entrepreneur John Murray Forbes to explore the shift from antebellum merchant capitalism to late ninetieth-century corporate capitalism, the rise of big business, technological innovations, farmer agitation for railroad rate control, and the process of government regulations. Forbes started off his business life as a China trader in the 1830s, returned to the States in time to surmount the Panic of 1837, and then—deciding that railroad construction should be based on existing settlement and traffic systems rather than speculative ambitions—became a master builder, beginning with the Michigan Central Railroad and ending with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy system and the growth of Chicago as a railroad hub. Focusing on Forbes’s life allows Larson to elaborate on the contest of wills between eastern capitalists and Midwestern boosters and the complex patterns of regional growth, particularly in Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, and Nebraska.
Bound by Steel and Stone analyzes the Colorado-Kansas Railway through the economic enterprise in the American West in the decades after the supposed 1890 closing of the frontier. In it, J. Bradford Bowers weaves a tale of reinvention against the backdrop of the newly settled West, showing how the railway survived in one form or another for nearly fifty years, overcoming competition from other railroads, a limited revenue base, and even more limited capital financing.
Offering the Colorado-Kansas Railway as an example of how shortline railroads helped to integrate the rural landscape with the larger urban and economic world, Bowers reveals the constant adaptations driven by changing economic forces and conditions. He puts the railway in context of the wider environmental and political landscapes, the growing quarrying and mining business, the expansion of agriculture and irrigation, Progressive-era political reforms, and land development. In the new frontier of enterprise in the early twentieth-century American West, the railroad highlights the successes and failures of the men inspired to pursue these new opportunities as well as the story of one woman who held these fragile industries together well into the second half of the twentieth century.
Bound by Steel and Stone is an insightful addition to the history of industrialization and economic development in Colorado and the American West.
From the time the first tracks were laid in the early nineteenth century, the railroad has occupied a crucial place in America's historical imagination. Now, for the first time, Eric Arnesen gives us an untold piece of that vital American institution--the story of African Americans on the railroad. African Americans have been a part of the railroad from its inception, but today they are largely remembered as Pullman porters and track layers. The real history is far richer, a tale of endless struggle, perseverance, and partial victory. In a sweeping narrative, Arnesen re-creates the heroic efforts by black locomotive firemen, brakemen, porters, dining car waiters, and redcaps to fight a pervasive system of racism and job discrimination fostered by their employers, white co-workers, and the unions that legally represented them even while barring them from membership. Decades before the rise of the modern civil rights movement in the mid-1950s, black railroaders forged their own brand of civil rights activism, organizing their own associations, challenging white trade unions, and pursuing legal redress through state and federal courts. In recapturing black railroaders' voices, aspirations, and challenges, Arnesen helps to recast the history of black protest and American labor in the twentieth century.
Table of Contents:
1. Race in the First Century of American Railroading 2. Promise and Failure in the World War I Era 3. The Black Wedge of Civil Rights Unionism 4. Independent Black Unionism in Depression and War 5. The Rise of the Red Caps 6. The Politics of Fair Employment 7. The Politics of Fair Representation 8. Black Railroaders in the Modern Era
Conclusion Notes Acknowledgments Index
Reviews of this book: In this superbly written monograph, Arnesen...shows how African American railroad workers combined civil rights and labor union activism in their struggles for racial equality in the workplace...Throughout, black locomotive firemen, porters, yardmen, and other railroaders speak eloquently about the work they performed and their confrontations with racist treatment...This history of the 'aristocrats' of the African American working class is highly recommended. --Charles L. Lumpkins, Library Journal
Reviews of this book: Arnesen provides a fascinating look at U.S. labor and commerce in the arena of the railroads, so much a part of romantic notions about the growth of the nation. The focus of the book is the troubled history of the railroads in the exploitation of black workers from slavery until the civil rights movement, with an insightful analysis of the broader racial integration brought about by labor activism. --Vanessa Bush, Booklist
Reviews of this book: [An] exhaustive and illuminating work of scholarship. --Publishers Weekly
Reviews of this book: Arnesen tells a story that should be of interest to a variety of readers, including those who are avid students of this country's railroads. He knows his stuff, and furthermore, reminds us of how dependent American railroads were on the backbreaking labor of racial and ethnic groups whose civil and political status were precarious at best: Irish, Chinese, Mexicans and Italians, as well as African-Americans. But Arnesen's most powerful and provocative argument is that the nature of discrimination not only led black railroad workers to pursue the path of independent unionism, it also propelled them into the larger struggle for civil rights. --Steven Hahn, Chicago Tribune
In this engaging new study, Michael J. Connolly seeks to understand the interrelationships among political change, economic interests, and railroad development in northern New England prior to the Civil War. He analyzes the political thought of the region as it involved the growth of party confrontations—among the Radical Democrats in New Hampshire, the Whigs and Conservative Democrats in New Hampshire, and the Whigs in Essex County, Massachusetts—and the rise of voting activity. An assortment of antebellum demographic data on the various railroad lines is made clear by the maps in the book.
New England was an older region with settled patterns of political economy, and innovations like the railroad forced antebellum citizens to alter their patterns of life. Jacksonian Democrats debated among themselves the wisdom of railroad technology, its influence on political power, and its effect on regional economies, remaining skeptical about how this invention would improve their lives. They voiced serious concern that railroads would shrink private rights and destroy the existing “liberal capitalist” economy, all the while making northern New Englanders the minions of business interests far away in Boston and Canada. These concerns separated them from the Whigs.
Whigs remained ebullient over how railroads would transform their political and economic lives, improve the lot of every New Englander in the long run, and rescue a dying region from social oblivion. They believed that danger came in not developing railroads. Whigs were willing to extend public power to a remarkable extent: bridges were destroyed, courthouses demolished, land and buildings taken to make way for railroads. Less sophisticated in economic understanding than the Jacksonians, Whigs never worried over “illiberal capitalism”; they welcomed it. The great consensus between Jacksonians and Whigs was capitalism. No one opposed markets.
The antebellum conflict was not about whether America should be a market society, but what shape those markets should take; not about whether government should have power over private rights, but to what extent states could impose on private citizens. At the center of this debate was the railroad.
Providing an excellent view of the economics of railroad development and how it affected the factory and farm world of northern New England, Capitalism, Politics, and Railroads in Jacksonian New England makes a major contribution to our full understanding of the coming of the Civil War.
Formed by images of crowded city streets and towering skyscrapers, our understanding of nineteenth-century Chicago completely neglects the fact that the city itself was only the center of a web of neighborhoods, farm communities, and industrial towns—many connected to the city by the railroad. Farmers used trains to transport produce into the city daily; businessmen rode the rails home to their commuter suburbs; and families took vacations mere miles outside the Loop.
Historian and coeditor of the acclaimed Encyclopedia of Chicago, Ann Durkin Keating resurrects for us here the bustling network that defined greater Chicagoland. Taking a new approach to the history of the city, Keating shifts the focus to the landscapes and built environments of the metropolitan region. Organized by four categories of settlements-farm centers, industrial towns, commuter suburbs, and recreational and institutional centers-that framed the city, Chicagoland offers the collective history of 230 neighborhoods and communities, the people who built them, and the structures they left behind that still stand today.
Keating reanimates nineteenth-century Chicagoland with more than a hundred photographs and maps; we find here the taverns, depots, and way stations that were the hubs of the region's vibrant, mobile life. Keating also includes an appendix of driving tours so readers can see this history for themselves. Chicagoland takes us into the buildings and sites that are still part of our landscape and repopulates them with the stories and characters behind their creation. The result is a wide-angle historical view of Chicago, an entirely new way to understand the region.
Although the years between the world wars were ones of diplomatic tension in Europe, they also saw the construction of countless miles of international railroads on the continent. In Constructing Iron Europe, Irene Anastasiadou examines this era of railroad building and argues that, contrary to most conventional histories—which view railroad building as an aspect of nation- or empire-building—the construction in this era was deliberately transnational, and ultimately aimed at tightening links between nations and constructing a closer-knit European community.
Electric Railways: 1880-1990
Michael C. Duffy The Institution of Engineering and Technology, 2003 Library of Congress TF858.A4D8 2003 | Dewey Decimal 621.33
Electric Railways 1880-1990 explores the history of the integration of both electric and diesel-electric railway systems and identifies the crucial role that diesel-electric traction played in the development of wireless electrification. The evolution of electrical technology and the modern railway produced innovations in engineering that were integral to the development of traction, power and signalling systems. This book presents a thorough survey of electric railway development from the earliest days pf the London Underground to modern electrified main line trains. The distinction between 'enforced electrification' and 'economic electrification' is also discussed and the pioneering role of J.J. Heilmann assessed.
Field Life examines the practice of science in the field in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains of the American West between the 1860s and the 1910s, when the railroad was the dominant form of long-distance transportation. Grounded in approaches from environmental history and the history of technology, it emphasizes the material basis of scientific fieldwork, joining together the human labor that produced knowledge with the natural world in which those practices were embedded.
Four distinct modes of field practice, which were shared by different field science disciplines, proliferated during this period—surveys, lay networks, quarries, and stations—and this book explores the dynamics that underpinned each of them. Using two diverse case studies to animate each mode of practice, as well as the making of the field as a place for science, Field Life combines textured analysis of specific examples of field science on the ground with wider discussion of the commonalities in the practices of a diverse array of field sciences, including the earth and physical sciences, the life and agricultural sciences, and the human sciences.
By situating science in its regional environmental context, Field Life analyzes the intersection between the cosmopolitan knowledge of science and the experiential knowledge of people living in the field. Examples of field science in the Plains and Rockies range widely: geological surveys and weather observing networks, quarries to uncover dinosaur fossils and archaeological remains, and branch agricultural experiment stations and mountain biological field stations.
With roots in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad—nicknamed “The Fishing Line” for its connections to attractive Michigan tourist areas—was organized in the mid–nineteenth century to take advantage of the lucrative logging business of the vast forests of the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan and other potential freight traffic. Once built into northern Michigan, it had an important role in developing the region’s tourist industry. Financed and built by officials of the mighty Pennsylvania Railroad system, the GR&I eventually was merged into that company. Using a plethora of newspapers, public documents, and other primary source materials, Meints has crafted an engaging narrative that is easily accessible to the lay reader as well as specialists in railroad and local history. Tracing a thorough corporate history of a fascinating but little-known regional line from its beginning through the early twentieth century, The Fishing Line: A History of the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad is a must-read.
The Formative Period in Alabama, 1815-1828 is a beautifully crafted history of the evolution of the state written by Thomas Perkins Abernethy in 1922. The work shows how Alabama grew out of the Mississippi Territory and discusses the economic and political development during the years just before and just after Alabama became a state.
Abernethy’s story begins when Alabama existed as the eastern part of the Mississippi Territory, settled primarily by Cherokees, Choctaws, and Creeks, a few traders, and some brave but foolhardy “squatters” who thought to supplant the Indians and carve out a home for themselves and their descendants from Indian territory. Friction with the Creeks escalated into war and, with their defeat at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, the successful move began to wrest land from the Indians for white settlement. The availability of good land, the promise of transportation of goods along the waterways, and the opening of the Federal Road brought rapid population growth to an area blessed (and cursed) with forceful leaders. Abernethy describes in detail the political maneuverings and economic strangleholds that created territorial division and turmoil in the early days of Alabama’s statehood.
GENERATION OF BOOMERS
Shelton Stromquist University of Illinois Press, 2000 Library of Congress HD5325.R1S77 1987 | Dewey Decimal 331.892813850973
"'Boomer' railroad men have a cherished place in the popular imagination. Although the romance of their vocations and the itinerancy of their lives have been exaggerated, the term ‘Boomer' fittingly characterizes a significant portion of the generation of workers that built and operated the railroads during the expansive years of the late nineteenth century. There are numerous excellent accounts of the major railroad strikes for this period. There is also a rich literature of local studies that focus primarily on changes in working class culture and community in a variety of industrial settings. But we lack a framework for integrating the local analysis of social and cultural patterns with changes in the political economy of nineteenth-century American capitalism, and we lack an analysis of strikes that locates episodes within broader patterns of emerging class conflict. This volume is an attempt to build such a larger framework."
"A readable and concise overview of how U.S. transportation came to its present pass. . . . Goddard is at his best when recounting the complex and interesting history of what has come to be called 'the highway lobby.'. . . An excellent book for the general reader with an interest in getting around."—Larry Fish, Philadelphia Inquirer
"This is a riveting story: of mighty railroads hamstrung almost overnight by government bureaucrats; of road interests led by General Motors Corp. conspiring in city after city to destroy efficient trolley systems . . . and of freeways that are far from free."—Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press
"The combination of forces and fates that turned America into a giant parking lot from sea to shining sea is the subject of Stephen B. Goddard's lively pop history. . . . As Mr. Goddard ably points out, road-building and the creation of car-dependent suburbs have become ends in themselves."—James Howard Kunstler, Wall Street Journal
"The strength of Goddard's book is that he understands the complexities of manipulating public opinion to influence legislatures."—David Young, Chicago Tribune
"[Goddard's] book is a deft and easily read history of how transportation has shaped the nation and its economy, and ultimately, how a federation of truck and car interests drastically tilted national policies. . . . For many reasons this is an exceptionally important work."—Jim Dwyer, New York Newsday
As America, carried along by the expanding rail system, moved westward in the nineteenth century, few occupations seemed more exciting or romantic than that of railroad engineer. And in the mountains and plains of the West, long hours, backbreaking labor, bitter temperatures, and faulty brakes were the crucible in which the best of the early railroaders were formed: only the most dedicated and skilled men passed the tests the narrow-gauge lines of Colorado meted out.
Goin' Railroading is the story of two generations of such men, four members of the Speas family who, from the open cabs of narrow-gauge steam engines, watched Colorado grow.
Sam Speas tells the story of his father, Sam Speas Sr., who left Missouri in 1883 to become an engineer in Colorado, and recounts his own experiences and those of his brothers and fellow railroaders on the Colorado and Southern Railway, from the golden era of the narrow-gauge lines in South Park to the final days of steam power on the Front Range and the coming of the diesel engine.
His stories are a profound document of a vanished way of life, a testament to the courage and tenacity of the early citizens of Colorado, and a tribute to the rough-hewn, often gallant men who took the trains through incredible, almost unbelievable, hazards. Funny, tragic, bittersweet, and poignant, Goin' Railroading is a remarkable book that brings a portion of the history and people of an earlier Colorado to vibrant life.
The Detroit, Michigan-based Grand Trunk Corporation was established more than two decades ago by Canadian National to oversee and maximize the potential of its railroad holdings in the United States. By making use of corporate records, oral histories, and archival material, Hofsommer uncovers the interesting and complex history of Grand Trunk from its inception in 1971 through 1992.
Here, for the first time, is a feast for anyone who has ever been beguiled by the trains that formerly thrummed through the landscapes of our lives. This entertaining and evocative anthology presents the amazing variety of poems and songs written about the American railroad in the last century and a half. Comprised of selections from both oral and written traditions, the volume celebrates the historical and cultural significance of this marvel of engineering skills. Hedin's anthology allows all readers, from the most avid railroad buff to anyone who has fond memories of train travel, to enjoy the romance of trains.
The Hocking Valley Railway
Edward H. Miller Ohio University Press, 2007 Library of Congress HE2791.H68353M55 2007 | Dewey Decimal 385.097719
“The first comprehensive history of the Hocking Valley Railway ever published fills a gap in the literature. Miller has written the definitive history of this railroad,” says Richard Francaviglia, author of Hard Places: Reading the Landscape of America's Historic Mining Districts. The Hocking Valley Railway was once Ohio's longest rail line, filled with a seemingly endless string of coal trains. Although coal was the main business, the railroad also carried iron and salt-and kept the finest passenger service in the State of Ohio. Despite the fact that the Hocking Valley was such a large railroad, with a huge economic and social impact, very little is known about it.The Hocking Valley Railway traces the journey of a company that began in 1867 as the Columbus and Hocking Valley, built to haul coal from Athens to Columbus. Extensions of the line and consolidation of several branches ultimately created the Columbus, Hocking Valley and Toledo. This was a 345-mile railway, extending from the Lake Erie port of Toledo through Columbus, and on to the Ohio River port of Pomeroy. The history of the Hocking Valley, as with other railroads, is one of boom times and depression. By the 1920s, the Hocking fields were largely depleted, and the mass of track south of Columbus became a backwater, while the Toledo Division boomed.The corporate name has been gone for more than three quarters of a century, but the Hocking Valley lives on as an integral part of railroad successor CSX. Historians and railroad enthusiasts will find much to savor in the story of this ever-changing company and the managers who ran it. The Hocking Valley Railway, complete with more than 150 photographs and illustrations, also documents a historic transformation in Midwest transportation from slow canalboats to speedy railcars.The author, Edward H. Miller is retired from Hocking Valley successor CSX. This is his first book, which has been over thirty years in the making.
What began as a study of the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway stretched into more than a dozen contributions on Hawkeye state railroad topics. By 1969 Donovan had examined Iowa's “Little Three”: Chicago Great Western, Illinois Central, and Minneapolis & St. Paul as well as the state's “Big Four”: Chicago & North Western; Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific; and Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific. In addition to these seven core carriers, Donovan covered the state's less prominent railroads: Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe; Great Northern; and Union Pacific and Wabash. Moreover, he contributed an issue on Iowa's principal interurbans, most of which survived into the 1950s as electric-powered freight-only short lines. In uniting Donovan's articles into a single volume, Iowa Railroads provides the most complete history of Iowa's rail heritage.
John H. Burdakin and the Grand Trunk Western Railroad provides a look at the principles and personal values that guided John H. Burdakin through a long, successful career as a top manager at three railroads—the Pennsylvania, the Penn Central, and finally the Grand Trunk Western, where he was president of the regional carrier from 1974 to 1986. The book, written from interviews with Burdakin before his death in 2014, gives real-life examples of how Burdakin’s management principles and personal qualities helped him solve labor- management problems, update railroad technology, protect worker safety, and improve employee morale while managing a four thousand–person workforce. It introduces colorful characters who were involved in American railroads, as well as the serious, life-threatening issues that confronted railroads in the last half of the twentieth century in America. This book will provide insights for managers of any business as well as for those seeking to balance a successful career and a rewarding home life.
Genuinely talented and successful managers in any field—business, government, military, academia—are scarce. John Howard Burdakin was a happy exception to the norm. This engaging biography examines Burdakin’s life in the railroad industry—at Pennsylvania Railroad, Penn Central, and finally at Grand Trunk Corporation—during a tumultuous time in the transportation business and underscores his core principles and how he employed them in the management of people and property. Some contemporary observers may consider Burdakin’s often conservative style as quite out of date, but a more sober assessment reveals that his approach has utility in any time and in any field. An excellent resource for leadership professionals, this study focuses on Burdakin’s career in management, ever stressing his foundational convictions—how he came by them, how he employed those principles as a manager, and how they were understood by those who worked for him or with him. Through teamwork, trust, hard work, honesty, diligence, and integrity, Burdakin would become respected as one of the railroad industry’s brightest guiding lights.
In the immediate decades after World War II, the French National Railways (SNCF) was celebrated for its acts of wartime heroism. However, recent debates and litigation have revealed the ways the SNCF worked as an accomplice to the Third Reich and was actively complicit in the deportation of 75,000 Jews and other civilians to death camps. Sarah Federman delves into the interconnected roles—perpetrator, victim, and hero—the company took on during the harrowing years of the Holocaust.
Grounded in history and case law, Last Train to Auschwitz traces the SNCF’s journey toward accountability in France and the United States, culminating in a multimillion-dollar settlement paid by the French government on behalf of the railways.The poignant and informative testimonies of survivors illuminate the long-term effects of the railroad’s impact on individuals, leading the company to make overdue amends. In a time when corporations are increasingly granted the same rights as people, Federman’s detailed account demonstrates the obligations businesses have to atone for aiding and abetting governments in committing atrocities. This volume highlights the necessity of corporate integrity and will be essential reading for those called to engage in the difficult work of responding to past harms.
Frederick M. Hubbell, railroad financier and builder, real estate investor, public utilities magnate, leading lawyer, and founder of Iowa’s first life insurance company, the Equitable, was at one time the wealthiest Iowan in the state’s history. Based on his diaries from 1855 to 1927, The Little Man with the Long Shadow tells the story of this industrious and imaginative entrepreneur.
At the heart of this excellent book are the striking and rare postcards that provide a comprehensive visual review of this popular building type from coast to coast. Over 150 illustrations feature the gingerbread structures of the Northeast, the simple buildings of the Gold Rush West, and the mission-style stations of the Southwest in this first book to concentrate on this overlooked aspect of railroad history.
Impeccable scholarship and lavish illustration mark this landmark study of American railroad folksong. Norm Cohen provides a sweeping discussion of the human aspects of railroad history, railroad folklore, and the evolution of the American folksong. The heart of the book is a detailed analysis of eighty-five songs, from "John Henry" and "The Wabash Cannonball" to "Hell-Bound Train" and "Casey Jones," with their music, sources, history, and variations, and discographies. A substantial new introduction updates this edition.
Michigan Railroads and Railroad Companies is an invaluable reference manual for everyone interested in regional transportation history, the history of railroading, and Michigan history in general. It contains complete, cross-referenced listings for every company formed to operate a railroad in the state of Michigan. In addition to the comprehensive entries for major lines, Graydon Meints has included details about the many small, common-carrier steam and electric companies, logging roads, and numerous other primitive and contemporary rail systems. This encyclopedic reference guide also contains information on the so-called "paper railroads," companies that were projected but which never laid a foot of track.
Michigan Railroads is divided into three parts. One includes alphabetical entries for the actual and intended railroad companies themselves, the date and purpose for their organization, and a brief history from their origins to their dispositions. Included in this portion of the work are a number of railroad "family trees" showing the corporate antecedents of the largest of the rail lines operating in the state today. Another contains a chronology of significant corporate events; it works as a useful finding aid for accessing source data contained in the first section. A third contains a statewide county-by-county listing of railroads, both paper and real.
From its incorporation in 1847 in Wisconsin Territory to its first run in 1851—twenty miles between Milwaukee and Waukesha—to its later position of far-flung power, the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul &Pacific Railroad Company had a vivid history. By 1948, the Milwaukee Road had more than 40,000 employees and maintained more than 10,000 miles of line in twelve states from Indiana to Washington.
Also in 1948, August Derleth's popular and well-crafted corporate history celebrated the strength and status of this mighty carrier. On February 19, 1985, the railroad became a subsidiary of Soo Line Corporation and its identity vanished overnight. Nonetheless, it remains a romantic memory, and Derleth's book remains the only complete history of this innovative and dynamic railroad.
Lawyer and journalist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Louis Houck is often called the “Father of Southeast Missouri” because he brought the railroad to the region and opened this backwater area to industrialization and modernization. Although Houck’s name is little known today outside Missouri, Joel Rhodes shows how his story has relevance for both the state and the nation.
Rhodes presents a more complete picture of Houck than has ever been available: reviewing his life from his German immigrant roots, considering his career from both social and political perspectives, and grounding the story in both state and national history. He especially tells how, from 1880 to the 1920s, this self-taught railroader constructed a network of five hundred miles of track through the wilderness of wetlands known as “Swampeast Missouri”—and how these “Houck Roads” provided a boost for population, agriculture, lumbering, and commerce that transformed Cape Girardeau and the surrounding area.
Rhodes discusses how Houck fits into the era of economic individualism—a time when men with little formal training shaped modern industry—and also gives voice to Houck’s critics and shows that he was not always an easy man to work with. In telling the story of his railroading enterprise, Rhodes chronicles Houck’s battle with the Jay Gould railroad empire and offers key insight into the development of America’s railway system, from the cutthroat practices of ruthless entrepreneurs to the often-comic ineptness of start-up rail lines.
More than simply a biography of a business entrepreneur, the book tells how Houck not only developed the region economically but also followed the lead of Andrew Carnegie by making art, culture, and formal education available to all social classes. Houck also served for thirty-six years as president of the Board of Regents of Southeast Missouri State Teacher’s College, and as a self-taught historian he wrote the first comprehensive accounts of Missouri’s territorial period.
A Missouri Railroad Pioneer chronicles a multifaceted career that transformed a region. Solidly researched, this lively narrative also offers an entertaining read for anyone interested in Missouri history.
"A must buy for anyone interested in the Great Lakes."
---Frederick Stonehouse, maritime historian
In 1892, the Ann Arbor Car Ferries shook the transportation world by doing what was then deemed impossible---carrying loaded railroad cars by ship across the sixty-two miles of open water between Frankfort, Michigan and Kewaunee, Wisconsin. With passion, acuity, and remarkable detail, Grant Brown describes the nearly 100-year crossings---from their beginnings with James Ashley's bold new idea of car ferrying down to the last fight for survival until the Michigan Interstate Rail Company finally closed in 1982.
Crossing the lake with loaded freight cars was a treacherous task that presented daily obstacles. Knowledgeable people believed it was impossible to secure rail cars from tipping over and sinking the ship. Weather and ice presented two near-insurmountable hurdles, making car ferrying doubly difficult in the winter when nearly all shipping on the Great Lakes shut down. This vivid history gives voice to the ships and their crews as they battled the storms without modern navigational aids or adequate power.
This spirited account of the Ann Arbor car ferries draws on ships' logs from various museums, over 2,000 newspaper articles, annual reports from 1889 through 1976, and interviews with former employees. The result is a living history of the ships, the crews, and their adventures; of the men who built and ran the business; and of the enormous influence the vessels had on the communities they served.
Grant Brown, Jr., worked for S.D. Warren Company, a paper manufacturer, for 37 years. He raced sailboats on Crystal Lake in northern Michigan for ten years while growing up, continued in Boston and St. Louis, and has since returned to living and racing in Frankfort, Michigan. He spent eight years in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, where he learned navigation and shipboard procedure.
Ohio Canal Era, a rich analysis of state policies and their impact in directing economic change, is a classic on the subject of the pre–Civil War transportation revolution. This edition contains a new foreword by scholar Lawrence M. Friedman and a bibliographic note by the author.
Professor Scheiber explores how Ohio—as a “public enterprise state,” creating state agencies and mobilizing public resources for transport innovation and control—led in the process of economic change before the Civil War. No other historical account of the period provides so full and insightful a portrayal of “law in action.” Scheiber reveals the important roles of American nineteenth- century government in economic policy-making, finance, administration, and entrepreneurial activities in support of economic development.
His study is equally important as an economic history. Scheiber provides a full account of waves of technological innovation and of the transformation of Ohio’s commerce, agriculture, and industrialization in an era of hectic economic change. And he tells the intriguing story of how the earliest railroads of the Old Northwest were built and financed, finally confronting the state- owned canal system with a devastating competitive challenge.
Amid the current debate surrounding “privatization,” “deregulation,” and the appropriate use of “industrial policy” by government to shape and channel the economy. Scheiber’s landmark study gives vital historical context to issues of privatization and deregulation that we confront in new forms today.
Between 1826 and 1858 the state of Pennsylvania built and operated the largest and most technologically advanced system of canals and railroads in North America–almost one thousand miles of transport that stretched from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and beyond.
The construction of this ambitious transportation system was accompanied by great euphoria. It was widely believed that the revenue created from these canals and railroads would eliminate the need for all taxes on state citizens. Yet with the Panic of 1837, a financial crisis much like boom and bust cycle that ended in 2008, a deep recession fell across the country.
By 1858, Pennsylvania had sold all canals and railroads to private companies, often for pennies-on-the-dollar.
Over the Alleghenies: Early Canals and Railroads of Pennsylvania is the definitive history of the state of Pennsylvania’s incredible canal and railroad system. Although often condemned as a colossal failure, this construction effort remains an innovative, magnificent feat that ushered in modern transportation to Pennsylvania and the entire country. With extensive primary research, over one hundred illustrations, newspapers clippings, and charts and graphs, Over the Alleghenies examines and dissects the infrastructure project that bankrupted the wealthiest state in the Union.
Francaviglia looks anew at the geographical-historical context of the driving of the golden spike in May 1869. He gazes outward from the site of the transcontinental railroad's completion—the summit of a remote mountain range that extends south into the Great Salt Lake. The transportation corridor that for the first time linked America's coasts gave this distinctive region significance, but it anchored two centuries of human activity linked to the area's landscape.
Francaviglia brings to that larger story a geographer's perspective on place and society, a railroad enthusiast's knowledge of trains, a cartographic historian's understanding of the knowledge and experience embedded in maps, and a desert lover's appreciation of the striking basin-and-range landscape that borders the Great Salt Lake.
The Pere Marquette Railroad has not one but two histories—one for the twentieth century and one for the nineteenth. While the twentieth-century record of the Pere Marquette Railroad has been well studied and preserved, the nineteenth century has not been so well served. This volume aims to correct that oversight by focusing on the nineteenth-century part of the company’s past, including the men who formed and directed these early roads, and the development of the system. The Pere Marquette Railroad was formed in 1900 by a merger of three Michigan railroad companies and lasted forty-seven years, disappearing in June 1947 by merger into the maw of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad. Prior to the 1900 merger, the Pere Marquette Railroad’s predecessors made up a motley collection of disconnected and unaffiliated short, local rail lines. After the financial panic of 1893, and with some commonality of ownership, the companies worked together more closely. Before the end of the decade, the three main railroads—the Flint & Pere Marquette; the Detroit, Lansing & Northern; and the Chicago & West Michigan—had decided that the only way to maintain solvency was to merge. Using a plethora of primary sources including railway timetables and maps, this work lends insight into the little-known corporate business history of the Pere Marquette Railroad.
The history of the railroad conquest of the West is well known, but the impact of western railroads on Native Americans has largely been ignored. Richard Frost examines the profound effects that the coming of trains had on Pueblo Indians in New Mexico's Rio Grande Valley. The arrival of the railroad was a social and cultural tsunami. It destroyed or damaged crops, livestock, irrigation ditches, community autonomy, privacy, and well-being. The trains brought lawyers, speculators, politicians, missionaries, anthropologists, timber thieves, health seekers, and government servants. American colonialism abetted the railroads, so that the Pueblos faced land and water confiscation, court cases, compulsory American education, and other transgressions. To be sure, the trains also brought farm tools, clothing for children, and customers for Pueblo pottery; but these were comparatively marginal benefits.
The Pueblo communities responded variously, though mostly conservatively to sustain their traditional communities. This book spotlights two very different responses. Santo Domingo's reaction was hostile, but Laguna chose accommodation. These reactions reveal previously overlooked aspects of these pueblos’ histories that provide compelling reasons behind their varying responses. The book also analyzes the self-contradictory nature of Pueblo constitutional law from 1876 to 1913 and describes conflicted Bureau of Indian Affairs treatment of the Pueblos in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Each in turn had fateful consequences.
Out of the tradition of those long-gone days of great, heaving steam locomotives and endless rail lines comes this remarkable selection of vintage cards, a treasure trove selected from John Vander Maas' consummate collection at the University of Iowa Libraries.
This lavish volume is the first general book-length work devoted to the once-ubiquitous railroad picture postcard. It comprises an introductory essay and an album of cards. The former fully examines the nature of the postcard craze, which reached its zenith about 1910, and discusses why images of American railroads played such an important part in the card phenomenon. The album divides an engaging assortment of more than 150 representative views into five sections: “Trains and Rolling Stock,” “Depots and Railway Structures,” “The Railroad Corridor,” “People and Railroads,” and “The Lighter Side of Railroading.”
Railroad historians, train enthusiasts, postcard collectors, and all other readers will find much to interest them in this selection of images. Not only are the cards themselves visually striking, but they convey a sense of how important railroads once were to the nation's citizenry. The sight of steaming locomotives and the hustle and bustle associated with “train time” caused hearts to quicken. These feelings made views of railroad scenes popular with buyers of postcards and now with latter-day railroad fans and card collectors.
William Butler Ogden was a pioneer railroad magnate, one of the earliest founders and developers of the city of Chicago, and an important influence on U.S. westward expansion. His career as a businessman stretched from the streets of Chicago to the wilds of the Wisconsin lumber forests, from the iron mines of Pennsylvania to the financial capitals in New York and beyond. Jack Harpster’s The Railroad Tycoon Who Built Chicago: A Biography of William B. Ogden is the first chronicle of one of the most notable figures in nineteenth-century America.
Harpster traces the life of Ogden from his early experiences as a boy and young businessman in upstate New York to his migration to Chicago, where he invested in land, canal construction, and steamboat companies. He became Chicago’s first mayor, built the city’s first railway system, and suffered through the Great Chicago Fire. His diverse business interests included real estate, land development, city planning, urban transportation, manufacturing, beer brewing, mining, and banking, to name a few. Harpster, however, does not simply focus on Ogden’s role as business mogul; he delves into the heart and soul of the man himself.
The Railroad Tycoon Who Built Chicago is a meticulously researched and nuanced biography set against the backdrop of the historical and societal themes of the nineteenth century. It is a sweeping story about one man’s impact on the birth of commerce in America. Ogden’s private life proves to be as varied and interesting as his public persona, and Harpster weaves the two into a colorful tapestry of a life well and usefully lived.
To convey modern China’s history and the forces driving its economic success, rail has no equal. From warlordism to Cultural Revolution, railroads suffered the country’s ills but persisted because they were exemplary institutions. Elisabeth Köll shows why they remain essential to the PRC’s technocratic economic model for China’s future.
Railroads for Michigan
Graydon M. Meints Michigan State University Press, 2013 Library of Congress TF24.M5M43 2012 | Dewey Decimal 385.09774
In this thoroughly researched history, Graydon Meints tells the fascinating story of the railroad’s arrival and development in Michigan. An engaging and accessible text, the book describes the long-awaited and often-troubled advent of the railroad in the state, the building of which shifted from private to public efforts and back again, amid tumultuous social, business, and political developments. The railroad would come to play a role in almost every critical event in Michigan’s history, including the Civil War, the Granger Movement, and the Gilded Age, before beginning to wane following the arrival of the automobile, the Interstate Commerce Commission, World War I, and the Great Depression. A brief growth spurt during World War II was short-lived, and it was followed by the collapse of several major railroads and the formation of Amtrak and Conrail. Looking ahead to the future of the railroad in the Great Lakes region, Meints assesses the strengths and shortcomings of this revolutionary invention. With careful attention to the personal impact of the railroad, Meints recognizes in brief biographies the many men and women responsible for the development and operation of Michigan railroads, as well as the triumphs, tragedies, and spaces that shaped their lives and work.
Historians of midwestern railroading during the early part of the twentieth century have generally focused on the production of railroad company histories while ignoring the regional view. Fortunately for railway historians and buffs, coincidentally with the zenith of the Railway Age, the national fad for producing and mailing postcards was at its height. Millions of cards, including "real-photo" images, were produced between 1905 and 1915. Roger Grant has selected more than a hundred representative picture postcards to visualize the principal themes and characteristics that gave this dynamic industry its distinctive regional features.
By the turn of the century, the railroad map of the Midwest was unequaled. Anyone who examined it carefully sensed that this was the vital center of America's massive network of steel rails. Depots erected in the western prairie environment were spartan, with only minor decoration, but those in the Midwest usually mirrored more ornate New England styles. These features are often reflected in the images in this heavily illustrated book, which depicts the spare but strong pioneering spirit of the enterprise.
Valuable as these volumes are in relation to railroad operations in Nevada and California, their usefulness as authoritative reference sources embraces a much broader scope. Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California is as much a history of the region as it is a study of the railroads. The principal mines and mills and their production are scrupulously detailed, together with the personalities who created them.
The final volume in the complete history of Nevada and Eastern California railroads David Myrick's monumental railroad histories have become essential reference works for railroaders, historians, and hobbyists. Volume III contains additional information about the northern roads, including some not covered in previous volumes, and about developments since the publication of the first two volumes in the railroads of the region. It provides new facts gleaned from the correspondence of Collis P. Huntington, one of the builders of the Central Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads. It also covers roads connected with the lumber industry and the construction of electric power plants, and Southern Pacific branch lines, including some that never advanced beyond surveys.
The Photographic Record of the First Wide-Scale Mechanization of War
Over the course of the first half of the nineteenth century, America would find itself following two increasingly divergent tracks: an industrialized North and an agricultural South. By 1860 railroads were firmly entrenched in our culture, reshaping our cities and steering us through the industrial age towards worldwide prominence. From sleepy post towns to the largest east coast cities, the distant hooting of the locomotive whistle drew ever closer and louder, filling listeners with fascination while brightening the eyes of profit-driven industrialists. But this admirable invention, lavishly adorned in brass and iron trimmings, was about to take on a new and deadly role. America’s regional differences would result in a spectacular collision over slavery, and between 1861–1865, the nation fought a savage war. The “iron horse” became a major weapon in the first war fully dependent on railroads. Moreover railroads would escalate and prolong the war, leading to its terrible carnage. Trains were used to move troops rapidly and over great distances, completely changing military strategy. Trains were also used as mobile artillery, armed with large-caliber cannons that could pound cities and fortifications. Trains were a crucial means for supplying the armies on both sides, and it was the severing of the railway lines providing food and munitions to the Army of Northern Virginia that led to Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House.
In Railroads of the Civil War: An Illustrated History, Michael Leavy uses compelling period photographs and drawings and a rich narrative to reevaluate and illuminate the role of railroads in the Civil War. In addition to identifying details about the various trains and ancillary equipment and buildings in the illustrations, the author explains how trains influenced the outcome of battles and the war in general.
In the nineteenth century, railways were viewed as a symbol of progress and confidence in technological modernity. In the twenty-first century, the frustrations of gridlocked traffic, record-high gas prices, and the looming fears of climate change have transformed the railway system once again into a symbol of hope that provides the possibility of an environmentally sustainable future. In Railway, George Revill examines the technology and politics of railway history, as well as related themes such as mobility, identity, design, marketing, and sustainability.
In both practical and symbolic senses the cultural meanings of railways continue to play a role in how people organize and respond to modern environments, social problems, and technologies. Revill draws from art, literature, music, and film to illustrate how the railway carries meaning for all of us—creating connections and separations, detachment and involvement—from the routine commuter to the enthusiast. As Revill shows, railways inform our everyday language—from fast-track to side-track to going off the rails—and continue to fascinate us today.
In this wide-ranging and well-illustrated look at railways across the globe, Revill ultimately reveals how central they are to our understanding of modern everyday life.
John Ehle University of Tennessee Press, 1998 Library of Congress PS3555.H5R63 1998 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
"In The Road John Ehle's skill as a storyteller brings an early episode of road building in the North Carolina mountains to rich and vivid life. Hardship and humor, suffering and dreams are the balance for survival in a landscape that makes harsh demands on its intruders. Ehle lets us experience this place, people, and past in a fully realized novel."—Wilma Dykeman
"The Road is a strong novel by one of our most distinguished authors. Muscular, vivid, and pungent, it is broad in historical scope and profound in its human sympathies. We welcome its return with warm pleasure."—Fred Chappell
Originally published in 1967, The Road is epic historical fiction at its best. At the novel's center is Weatherby Wright, a railroad builder who launches an ambitious plan to link the highlands of western North Carolina with the East. As a native of the region, Wright knows what his railway will mean to the impoverished settlers. But to accomplish his grand undertaking he must conquer Sow Mountain, "a massive monolith of earth, rock, vegetation and water, an elaborate series of ridges which built on one another to the top."
Wright's struggle to construct the railroad—which requires tall trestles crossing deep ravines and seven tunnels blasted through shale and granite—proves to be much more than an engineering challenge. There is opposition from a child evangelist, who preaches that the railroad is the work of the devil, and there is a serious lack of funds, which forces Wright to use convict labor. How Wright confronts these challenges and how the mountain people respond to the changes the railroad brings to their lives make for powerfully compelling reading.
The Author: A native of Asheville, North Carolina, John Ehle has written seventeen novels and works of nonfiction. His books include The Land Breakers, The Journey of August King, The Winter People, and Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation. Among the honors he has received are the Lillian Smith Prize and the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Award.
A close study of one region of Appalachia that experienced economic vitality and strong sectionalism before the Civil War.
This book examines the construction of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad through southwest Virginia in the 1850s, before the Civil War began. The building and operation of the railroad reoriented the economy of the region toward staple crops and slave labor. Thus, during the secession crisis, southwest Virginia broke with northwestern Virginia and embraced the Confederacy. Ironically, however, it was the railroad that brought waves of Union raiders to the area during the war
The Turkestano-Siberian Railroad, or Turksib, was one of the great construction projects of the Soviet Union’s First Five-Year Plan. As the major icon to ending the economic "backwardness" of the USSR’s minority republics, it stood apart from similar efforts as one of the most potent metaphors for the creation of a unified socialist nation.
Built between December 1926 and January 1931 by nearly 50,000 workers and at a cost of more 161 million rubles, Turksib embodied the Bolsheviks’ commitment to end ethnic inequality and promote cultural revolution in one the far-flung corners of the old Tsarist Empire, Kazakhstan. Trumpeted as the "forge of the Kazakh proletariat," the railroad was to create a native working class, bringing not only trains to the steppes, but also the Revolution.
In the first in-depth study of this grand project, Matthew Payne explores the transformation of its builders in Turksib’s crucible of class war, race riots, state purges, and the brutal struggle of everyday life. In the battle for the souls of the nation’s engineers, as well as the racial and ethnic conflicts that swirled, far from Moscow, around Stalin’s vast campaign of industrialization, he finds a microcosm of the early Soviet Union.
Selected by Civil War Interactive as One of the Top Civil War Books of All Time
On April 12, 1862—one year to the day after Confederate guns opened on Fort Sumter and started the Civil War—a tall, mysterious smuggler and self-appointed Union spy named James J. Andrews and nineteen infantry volunteers infiltrated north Georgia and stole a steam engine called the General. Racing northward at speeds approaching sixty miles an hour, cutting telegraph lines and destroying track along the way, Andrews planned to open East Tennessee to the Union army, cutting off men and matériel from the Confederate forces in Virginia. If they succeeded, Andrews and his raiders could change the course of the war. But the General's young conductor, William A. Fuller, chased the stolen train first on foot, then by handcar, and finally aboard another engine, the Texas. He pursued the General until, running out of wood and water, Andrews and his men abandoned the doomed locomotive, ending the adventure that would soon be famous as The Great Locomotive Chase. But the ordeal of the soldiers involved was just beginning. In the days that followed, the "engine thieves" were hunted down and captured. Eight were tried and executed as spies, including Andrews. Eight others made a daring escape to freedom, including two assisted by a network of slaves and Union sympathizers. For their actions, before a personal audience with President Abraham Lincoln, six of the raiders became the first men in American history to be awarded the Medal of Honor—the nation's highest decoration for gallantry.
Americans north and south, both at the time and ever since, have been astounded and fascinated by this daring raid. But until now, there has not been a complete history of the entire episode and the fates of all those involved. Based on eyewitness accounts, as well as correspondence, diaries, military records, newspaper reports, deposition testimony and other primary sources, Stealing the General: The Great Locomotive Chase and the First Medal of Honor by Russell S. Bonds is a blend of meticulous research and compelling narrative that is now considered to be the definitive history of "the boldest adventure of the war."
Based on the author’s extensive research into the early history of Wisconsin’s rails, Steam and Cinders chronicles the boom and bust of the first railroads in the state, from the charters of the 1830s to the farm mortgages of the 1850s and consolidation of the railroads on the eve of the Civil War. Featuring more than 75 period photographs, historic maps, and drawings, Steam and Cinders preserves the legacy of early Wisconsin railroading for railroad buffs and armchair historians alike.
For nearly seventy years, John J. Young Jr. photographed railroads. With unparalleled scope and span, he documented the impact and beauty of railways in American life from 1936 to 2004.
As a child during the Great Depression, J. J. Young Jr. began to photograph railroads in Wheeling, West Virginia. This book collects over one hundred fifty of those images—some unpublished until now—documenting the railroads of Wheeling and the surrounding area from the 1930s until the 1960s.
The photographs within this book highlight the major railroads of Wheeling: the Baltimore & Ohio, the Pennsylvania, the Wheeling & Lake Erie, the Pittsburgh & West Virginia, the New York Central, and the industrial and interurban rail lines that crisscrossed the region. These images capture the routine activities of trains that carried passengers and freight to and from the city and its industries, as well as more unusual traffic, such as a circus-advertising car, the General Motors Train of Tomorrow, and the 1947 American Freedom Train.
Anyone interested in the rise of American corporate capitalism should look to the streets of Baltimore. There, in 1827, citizens launched a bold new venture: a “rail-road” that would link their city with the fertile Ohio River Valley. They dubbed this company the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O), and they conceived of it as a public undertaking—an urban improvement, albeit one that would stretch hundreds of miles beyond the city limits.
Steam City tells the story of corporate capitalism starting from the street and moving outward, looking at how the rise of the railroad altered the fabric of everyday life in the United States. The B&O’s founders believed that their new line would remap American economic geography, but no one imagined that the railroad would also dramatically reshape the spaces of its terminal city. As railroad executives wrangled with city officials over their use of urban space, they formulated new ideas about the boundaries between public good and private profit. Ultimately, they reinvented the B&O as a private enterprise, unmoored to its home city. This bold reconception had implications not only for the people of Baltimore, but for the railroad industry as a whole. As David Schley shows here, privatizing the B&O helped set the stage for the rise of the corporation as a major force in the post-Civil War economy.
Steam City examines how the birth and spread of the American railroad—which brought rapid communications, fossil fuels, and new modes of corporate organization to the city—changed how people worked, where they lived, even how they crossed the street. As Schley makes clear, we still live with the consequences of this spatial and economic order today.
With the overwhelming amount of new information that bombards us each day, it is perhaps difficult to imagine a time when the widespread availability of the printed word was a novelty. In early nineteenth-century Britain, print was not novel—Gutenberg’s printing press had been around for nearly four centuries—but printed matter was still a rare and relatively expensive luxury. All this changed, however, as publishers began employing new technologies to astounding effect, mass-producing instructive and educational books and magazines and revolutionizing how knowledge was disseminated to the general public.
In Steam-Powered Knowledge, Aileen Fyfe explores the activities of William Chambers and the W. & R. Chambers publishing firm during its formative years, documenting for the first time how new technologies were integrated into existing business systems. Chambers was one of the first publishers to abandon traditional skills associated with hand printing, instead favoring the latest innovations in printing processes and machinery: machine-made paper, stereotyping, and, especially, printing machines driven by steam power. The mid-nineteenth century also witnessed dramatic advances in transportation, and Chambers used proliferating railway networks and steamship routes to speed up communication and distribution. As a result, his high-tech publishing firm became an exemplar of commercial success by 1850 and outlived all of its rivals in the business of cheap instructive print. Fyfe follows Chambers’s journey from small-time bookseller and self-trained hand-press printer to wealthy and successful publisher of popular educational books on both sides of the Atlantic, demonstrating along the way the profound effects of his and his fellow publishers’ willingness, or unwillingness, to incorporate these technological innovations into their businesses.
For one week in late July of 1877, America shook with anger and fear as a variety of urban residents, mostly working class, attacked railroad property in dozens of towns and cities. The Great Strike of 1877 was one of the largest and most violent urban uprisings in American history.
Whereas most historians treat the event solely as a massive labor strike that targeted the railroads, David O. Stowell examines America's predicament more broadly to uncover the roots of this rebellion. He studies the urban origins of the Strike in three upstate New York cities—Buffalo, Albany, and Syracuse. He finds that locomotives rumbled through crowded urban spaces, sending panicked horses and their wagons careening through streets. Hundreds of people were killed and injured with appalling regularity. The trains also disrupted street traffic and obstructed certain forms of commerce. For these reasons, Stowell argues, The Great Strike was not simply an uprising fueled by disgruntled workers. Rather, it was a grave reflection of one of the most direct and damaging ways many people experienced the Industrial Revolution.
"Through meticulously crafted case studies . . . the author advances the thesis that the strike had urban roots, that in substantial part it represented a community uprising. . . .A particular strength of the book is Stowell's description of the horrendous accidents, the toll in human life, and the continual disruption of craft, business, and ordinary movement engendered by building railroads into the heart of cities."—Charles N. Glaab, American Historical Review
Streetcars played an especially important role in society around the turn of the twentieth century in Detroit, in part because of the downtown hub-and-spoke design of its main streets. During this period the streetcar was the main mode of transportation for the average citizen, as horse-drawn carriages and automobiles were not found outside of the upper class. Control over streetcar franchises was highly coveted—this control was simultaneous with having power over how and where people were transported throughout the city, making it an incredible political tool. The Thirty-Year War was a battle waged between 1892 and 1922 by the City of Detroit against the politically powerful and deeply entrenched corporations that owned streetcar franchises for control of the city’s streetway system. This compelling history shows how and why the owners of monopoly franchises of great public utilities such as bridges, street railways, electricity, natural gas, and cable television will protect and defend their privilege against public ownership or control, and is an example of how one city successfully fought back.
From Mohandas Gandhi’s nineteenth-century tour in a third-class compartment to the recent cinematic shenanigans of Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited, the railway has been one of India’s most potent emblems of modern life. In the first in-depth analysis of representations of the Indian railway, Marian Aguiar interprets modernity through the legacy of this transformative technology.
Since the colonial period in India, the railway has been idealized as a rational utopia—a moving box in which racial and class differences might be amalgamated under a civic, secular, and public order. Aguiar charts this powerful image into the postcolonial period, showing how the culture of mobility exposes this symbol of reason as surprisingly dynamic and productive. Looking in turn at the partition of India, labor relations, rituals of travel, works of literature and film, visual culture, and the Mumbai train bombings of 2006, Aguiar finds incongruities she terms “counternarratives of modernity” to signify how they work both with and against the dominant rhetoric. Revealing railways as a microcosm of tensions within Indian culture, Aguiar demonstrates how their representations have challenged prevailing ideas of modernity.
A standard track gauge—the distance between the two rails—enables connecting railway lines to exchange traffic. But despite the benefits of standardization, early North American railways used six different gauges extensively, and even today breaks of gauge at national borders and within such countries as India and Australia are expensive burdens on commerce. In Tracks across Continents, Paths through History, Douglas J. Puffert offers a global history of railway track gauge, examining early choices and the dynamic process of diversity and standardization that resulted.
Drawing on the economic theory of path dependence, and grounded in economic, technical, and institutional realities, this innovative volume traces how early historical events, and even idiosyncratic personalities, have affected choices of gauge ever since, despite changing technology and understandings of what gauge is optimal. Puffert also uses this history to develop new insights in the theory of path dependence. Tracks across Continents, Paths through History will be essential reading for anyone interested in how history and economics inform each other.
When construction of the Madeira-Mamoré Railroad began in 1867, Bolivia had lost its war with Chile, causing it to become landlocked and unable to ship its minerals and other products from the Pacific Coast. Since Bolivia needed to find a way to move products from the Atlantic Coast, the government decided a railroad should be built around the Madeira River—which originates in Bolivia and travels almost 2,000 miles through Brazil to the Amazon—facilitating shipment to foreign markets via the Amazonian waterway. Completion of the railroad was initially stalled by lack of funding, but the project was resurrected in the early twentieth century and completed in 1912. Intended as an integral piece of the rubber export industry, the railroad became unnecessary once the world supply of rubber moved from Brazil to Asia.
Although there have been many brief chronicles and writings about the Madeira-Mamoré Railroad over the years, most barely scratch the surface of this incredible story. Of particular import in Tracks in the Amazon are the photographs—which until now have rarely been seen—taken by Dana Merrill, a New York photographer hired to document the construction of the railroad. It also includes reproductions of the Porto Velho Marconigram, an English-language newspaper written for and by the American expatriates who lived in the construction headquarters at Porto Velho. Because this unique railroad traversed the densest tropical jungle on earth, more than 10,000 workers lost their lives laying the first five miles of track. The images and descriptions of the life of the workers on the railroad illustrate the challenges of working in the jungles—the unforgiving climate, malaria and yellow feverbearing mosquitoes, and the threat of wild animals—which made conditions for the workers next to impossible.
Finalist for the International Latino Book Awards: Best Book in Nonfiction in Portuguese.
What are the best transit cities in the US? The best Bus Rapid Transit lines? The most useless rail transit lines? The missed opportunities?
In the US, the 25 largest metropolitan areas and many smaller cities have fixed guideway transit—rail or bus rapid transit. Nearly all of them are talking about expanding. Yet discussions about transit are still remarkably unsophisticated. To build good transit, the discussion needs to focus on what matters—quality of service (not the technology that delivers it), all kinds of transit riders, the role of buildings, streets and sidewalks, and, above all, getting transit in the right places.
Christof Spieler has spent over a decade advocating for transit as a writer, community leader, urban planner, transit board member, and enthusiast. He strongly believes that just about anyone—regardless of training or experience—can identify what makes good transit with the right information. In the fun and accessible Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit, Spieler shows how cities can build successful transit. He profiles the 47 metropolitan areas in the US that have rail transit or BRT, using data, photos, and maps for easy comparison. The best and worst systems are ranked and Spieler offers analysis of how geography, politics, and history complicate transit planning. He shows how the unique circumstances of every city have resulted in very different transit systems.
Using appealing visuals, Trains, Buses, People is intended for non-experts—it will help any citizen, professional, or policymaker with a vested interest evaluate a transit proposal and understand what makes transit effective. While the book is built on data, it has a strong point of view. Spieler takes an honest look at what makes good and bad transit and is not afraid to look at what went wrong. He explains broad concepts, but recognizes all of the technical, geographical, and political difficulties of building transit in the real world. In the end,Trains, Buses, People shows that it is possible with the right tools to build good transit.
The second volume in the history of the Union Pacific begins after the financial panic of 1893, one of the worst depressions Americans had yet experienced, which pushed the railroad into bankruptcy. Maury Klein examines the complex challenges faced by the Union Pacific in the new century—the expanding role of government and its restrictive regulations, the growth of labor unions, the devastating effects of two world wars, and the growing competition from new modes of transportation—and how, under the innovative and influential leadership of Edward H. Harriman, the Union Pacific again played the role of industrial pioneer. Union Pacific has remained one of the strongest railroads in the country, surviving the eras of government regulation and the corporate mergers of the past twenty-five years. Insightful, definitive in scope, rich in colorful anecdotes and superb characterizations, Union Pacific is a fascinating saga not only of a particular railroad but also about how that industry transformed America.Maury Klein is professor of history at the University of Rhode Island. He is the author of several books, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Life and Legend of Jay Gould.
For over one hundred years, Navajos have gone to work in significant numbers on Southwestern railroads. As they took on the arduous work of laying and anchoring tracks, they turned to traditional religion to anchor their lives.
Jay Youngdahl, an attorney who has represented Navajo workers in claims with their railroad employers since 1992 and who more recently earned a master's in divinity from Harvard, has used oral history and archival research to write a cultural history of Navajos' work on the railroad and the roles their religious traditions play in their lives of hard labor away from home.