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Taylor, Jacob N; Crooks, M. O. Sketch Book of St. Louis: Containing a Series of Sketches of the Early Settlement, Public Buildings, Hotels, Railroads, Steamboats, Foundry and Machine Shops, Mercantile Houses, Grocers, Manufacturing Houses, Etc . St. Louis: George Knapp and Co, 1858. [format: book], [genre: guidebook; narrative]. Permission: Tulane University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=taylorcrooks.html


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Chapter X. Railroads.

In giving our Sketches of St. Louis and her business, we would be false to ourselves and to the task we have undertaken, were we to neglect to notice the Railroads which centre here; they have exerted so powerful an influence in building up our city that they have become identified with our present and future greatness, and deserve from the historian a much more extended notice than we shall be able to give.

THE OHIO AND MISSISSIPPI,
which forms so conspicuous a link in the grand chain of Railroads connecting the West with the Atlantic seaboard, first enlisted the sympathies of St. Louis in the year 1852, and was then pushed forward with the utmost energy and swiftness till the last rail was laid on the 22d of April, 1857, amid the crowd of invited guests who were present to participate in the ceremonies.

The early completion of this road was brought about mainly through the indefatigable energy and perseverance of our fellow-citizen, Mr. Henry D. Bacon, who, having once taken hold of it, let no obstacle, however great, dishearten him, but with his whole soul worked on, amid the difficulties which surrounded him on all sides, until he had the proud satisfaction of seeing his labors crowned with success. In all his schemes,

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Mr. Bacon found an able and willing coadjutor in Mr. S. L. M. Barlow, a gentleman who shares with Mr. Bacon the honors their work reflects.

In the spring of 1856, Mr. Bacon, finding that all the plans for the completion of the road were hopelessly surrounded with difficulties, and the prospect of its abandonment to the bond-holders imminent, he went from St. Louis to New York, called together seven or eight of his friends, among the capitalists of the latter city, and submitted to them a plan which he deemed favorable for the completion of the eastern division of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad, and solicited their co-operation. They were at first reluctant; but finally, quite as much out of friendship for Mr. Bacon and desire to aid him in the completion of an enterprise that had prostrated him, as from any other motive, they adopted his plan, agreeing to execute it provided certain contingencies were complied with, and become responsible for the payment of three millions of dollars, the sum estimated as requisite to put the road in running order for the entire route.

At that time there was a million of old floating debt to be arranged — old contractors to be settled with — new contracts to be made — bond-holders in England to be negotiated with, and the City Council of Cincinnati to be approached and conciliated to the proposed plan. On the 10th of May, 1856, the preliminaries were all arranged and disposed of, and the contract signed by the New York capitalists for the completion of the road in eighteen months. In less than a year iron was brought from Europe, the floating debt reduced to about one hundred thousand dollars, and the first train of cars passed over the road, between Cincinnati and St. Louis, carrying the guests who had been invited to participate in the celebration of the event. The grand railroad jubilee of 1857, in honor of

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the completion of this road, will long be remembered as the grandest ovation ever offered, while at the same time it served to let the world know that, though we were situated upon the far western frontier, where, it is supposed by our eastern friends, the buffalo roams in unrestrained freedom, and wild Indians stalk in savage state through our streets, we had studied the art of hospitality and knew how to welcome our guests to our city, our homes, and our firesides, as only the frontiersman can.

So soon as the completion of this road had been achieved, the company determined upon celebrating the event in a style and manner becoming the occasion. Thousands of tickets were distributed in all parts of the country; arrangements were made for the transportation of guests over nearly every road in the United States and Canada. The City Councils of Baltimore, Cincinnati, etc., were special guests. All the distinguished men of the day were requested to be present to give eclat to the affair. Never had arrangements been made upon so grand a scale. The city took part in the affair and determined to equal any of her former efforts, if not surpass them all. Preparations were made, and when at length the day dawned upon our city every one was ready to join in the joys of the occasion. The guests were received amid the huzzas of the multitude — the booming of cannon and the music of the bands — the military were present in their gay uniforms, with glittering muskets and waving feathers, to escort them to the carriages prepared for the occasion. Then began the march to the Fair Grounds, where a splendid collation had been prepared. Here they were regaled with the hospitality of the borderer, such as every true son of the west delights to offer to those who visit him. Those who were present upon that occasion can never forget the manner in which they were received. It seemed as

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though each particular citizen had taken upon himself the task of rendering the visitors' stay amongst us as pleasant as possible. After spending several days in looking at our city, they departed for their homes, with an enlarged opinion of our people, our city, and especially the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad and its management. We do not intend here to speak of the noble conduct of the Baltimoreans, who, after their return home, forwarded invitations to our citizens to come and visit them and accept the hospitalities of their city — how, when our delegation arrived there, they were welcomed to Baltimorean firesides as brothers — how they were feasted, feted and treated with the hospitality for which the Monumental City is so famed.

The Ohio and Mississippi and Baltimore and Ohio Railroads won golden opinions from all sorts of people by their generosity, and since that time have become a favorite route with the travelling public. The excursions afforded the people an opportunity of observing the manner in which these roads are conducted — of seeing and inspecting the admirable arrangements, and satisfying themselves of the peculiar advantages possessed by them over most other roads.

For romantic beauty of scenery the country through which the route of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad passes stands far in advance of all other routes in the West, and compares favorably with the much-boasted beauties of the Hudson river. The broad and extensive prairies of Illinois, where, in days gone by, the Illinois, Delawares, Peorias, Sioux, and other wild tribes — who made their homes upon the banks of the Illinois or Wabash rivers — hunted the buffalo, now present one of the loveliest pictures imaginable to the eye. Millions of varied colored flowers bloom in native sweetness, rendering the atmosphere redolent by their perfumes — the lowing herds of the

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thrifty farmer grazing upon nature's bounteous pasture — the curling smoke ascending from the solitary cabin of the hardy pioneer — the droves of wild deer playing in fancied security on the hill-sides — the meandering streams skirted by tall waving pines — all serve to render the scene one of exquisite beauty; — the villages, which have sprung into existence as if by magic, assist in affording the delighted traveller a view of one of nature's most beautiful and picturesque panoramas.

Vincennes, the eastern terminus, is situated on the Wabash river, about one hundred and twenty-five miles from Indianapolis, the capital of the State. It is the capital of Knox county, and the oldest town in Indiana, having been first settled in 1735 by a body of French Canadians. The country all around was one vast wilderness and remained so for many generations, its only tenants being the Indians, then very numerous, who lived on amicable terms with the colonists. Vincennes has a fine site along the left bank of the river; it is laid out with great regularity, and its public and county buildings, churches, &c., are well finished edifices, and marked with great taste in their construction. There are several benevolent institutions in the town, a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical institute, and commodious public schools, private academies, &c., much attention being devoted to educational interests. It was once the capital of Indiana, previous to the seat of government being removed to Corydon. Its population, which is rapidly increasing, is about 6,000.

Olney is a pretty little village of Richmond county, Illinois, thirty miles from Vincennes, on this route. It was first laid out in 1845, and contains about 800 inhabitants. Noble, Middleton, Sandoval, Caseyville and other villages on the line of this railway have only sprung into existence within the last few years. They are all flourishing, prosperous places, having been

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greatly benefited by the construction of the road, and the uninterrupted communication with the great cities of the West — Cincinnati and St. Louis, Another cause exists in the over-flowing stream of immigration to this part of the country, the fertile prairies and rich lands of the State of Illinois, offering especial inducements to persons engaged in agricultural pursuits.

We have already spoken of the scenery on the line of the Western Division. We now propose to speak of the beautiful things with which nature, with lavish hand, has decorated the Eastern Division. Leaving Vincennes, the snort of the iron horse is soon heard reverberating among the "knobs of the Forest State." Well do we remember, in the halcyon days of boyhood, of reading the thrilling deeds of daring performed by the early settlers of the then far West. Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky were the scene of many a fierce strife and bloody rencounter. The "dark and bloody ground" has become the household name for Kentucky, yet many were the deeds of blood committed upon the soil of the Hoosier State; and could those wild hills, whose brows uplift toward heaven and are bathed by the morning dew, but speak, they could, indeed,

"A tale unfold, whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul; freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine."

Those tall oaks, with tops upreared, and whose limbs, like an hundred weird-like fingers, are pointing to the heaven to come, would add to the bloody record their tales of interest. As onward you speed, at every bound nearing the Queen City of the West, new beauties come crowding upon you — over hill, through dale, and across plain, ever varying, until you reach

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the loveliest spot in all the west — the banks of the White river. One can scarcely believe as he swiftly glides along through the forest that girdles him in, and he hears naught but the rattle of the cars and the dash of the water-fall at the base of yonder picturesque mountain, or the rapid song of the whipporwill, that a half dozen hours ago he stood in the centre of the commercial metroplis of the West. The change could not be greater if he had been transferred to another planet. The paved street changed for the mountain slope — the rattle of the omnibusses and carriages for the rush of the cars, as they are echoed back from the craggy precipices — the voices of the passing multitude for the song of the rippling waters. Oh, how charming the scene! See how lazily that tree swings its green top in the wind — how gently the brook goes, talking to itself through the forest — and how leisurely the very clouds swing themselves over the heavens, seeming delighted to linger for a moment amid scenes so enrapturing. While your eye is yet drinking in with delight the beautiful panorama before you, it is left far behind, and the vineyards scattered over the hills on the banks of La Belle river are before you — with one sweep of the eye around the horizon you take in an area of immense extent and beauty. The luxuriant vines covered with clustering fruit, from which the sparkling Catawba is expressed, grow in abundance, and yield a large return for the fostering care given them. Along the banks of the Ohio you are borne, the landscape upon the Kentucky shore giving variety to the scene, until South Bend is reached; here is the tomb of the gallant General Harrison, sheltered beneath the overhanging trees which in life he loved so well. Anon, the smoke of the city is observed; soon we see the tall spires, and then hear the rattle of the cart, and the call of the porter, singing the praises of his hotel, and the passenger finds himself seated in the

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runing-room of the Burnet House, enjoying his fragrant Havana, before he has had time to feel weary, so delighted has he been. The day is near at hand when the superior scenery of the Ohio and Mississippi road will cause thousands to pass over it for the purpose of gazing upon it and feasting their eyes on the beauties of nature, bestowed with so lavish a hand.

The connections of the Ohio and Mississippi are among the most important of all the many roads leading East. They are — at St. Louis, with the Pacific Railroad, Missouri river packets for all points in Kansas, Nebraska and Western Missouri; with the Keokuk packets for all points on the Upper Mississippi; and with the steamers for Memphis and all towns on the Lower Mississippi.

At Sandoval, with the Illinois Central, going north, through Patoka, Vandalia, Ramsey, Pana, Macon, Decatur, Bloomington, Panola, Lasalle, Dunleith and Dubuque; and on the Chicago branch of the Illinois Central, Mattoon, Totono, Chicago, &c. Leading south from Sandoval, we find they have the most direct route to Centralia, Richview, Tamaroa, Duquoin, Villa Ridge and Cairo.

The indefatigable efforts of Mr. Isaac Wyman, the popular and favorite General Western Agent, together with several of our most popular and experienced steamboat captains on the lower Mississippi, have succeeded in establishing a line of Southern Packets to run in conjunction with the Ohio and Mississippi and Central Illinois Railroads. This line of steamers comprises a number of the finest boats on the western waters; and are, the Imperial, Capt. Gould; New Falls City, Capt. Montgomery; Wm. M. Morrison, Capt. Bofinger; City of Memphis, Capt. Kountz; J. E. Woodruff, Cap. Rogers; Pennsylvania, Capt. Klinefelter; A. T. Lacy, Capt. Rodney; New Uncle Sam, Capt. Van Dusen; J. O. Swon, Capt. Jones; Aleck Scott,

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Capt. Switzer — ten packets in all. They are first class steamers unrivalled for speed, capacity of accommodation, and general appointments. There is not one of the ten but can make the trip from New Orleans to St. Louis in six or six and a half days. The captains are experienced commanders, who have earned a high reputation in this community, and the travelling public having occasion to go southward could not fall into more gentlemanly and skillful hands.

Rates of passage are fixed between St. Louis and all points below. Rates of freight are to be determined on, and thirty days' notice to be given of any change in the rates of either passage or freight. The packets agree to use all reasonable efforts to accommodate the business brought to them by the roads. The roads have established offices in Memphis and New Orleans for the sale of tickets and contracting for freight. The roads have also adopted measures to place tickets for the steamboat line at all places East and North, where through tickets are sold, for the convenience of travellers to the South, who can in this way be ticketed through from the East and North to New Orleans and all intermediate points.

This arrangement will be a very great accommodation to all travellers passing between the North and South on the Mississippi, as it establishes that which has so long been wanted, a regular conveyance at fixed times and reasonable rates of fare; while it will prove, as we trust, profitable to the companies, it will be advantageous and acceptable to the travelling and business community.

This arrangement with the Packet Line was projected, as we have before stated, by the steamboat captains and officers of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad; and through the efforts of W. H. Clement, Esq., Superintendent, the Illinois Central was subsequently secured to cooperate. The public owe the above

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officers, both of the roads and boats, many thanks for their valuable aid in rendering travelling facilities between New Orleans and the West, and St. Louis and the Atlantic seaboard, so rapid and comfortable; and we mistake much if they do not render to them a bounteous equivalent by embracing the opportunities thus placed before them.

The road connects at Vincennes with the Evansville and Crawfordsville Railroad for Evansville, Terre-Haute, Crawfordsville, Indianapolis, &c.

At Seymour, with the Jeffersonville Railroad for Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort, Jeffersonville, Indianapolis, &c.

At Mitchell, with the New Albany and Salem Railroad for Louisville, Lexington, New Albany, Greencastle, Lafayette, Chicago, &c.

At North Vernon, for Madison and points on the Ohio river.

At Cincinnati, with the Little Miami, Central Ohio, Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati; Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton; Richmond, Eaton and Cincinnati; Mad River, Lake Erie, Marietta and Cincinnati; Cincinnati, Wilmington and Zanesville; Steubenville and Pittsburgh Railroad, for all points North or East; and Covington and Lexington Railroad, for the interior of Kentucky; the Maysville Packet Line for Maysville and Kanawha river.

The Ohio and Mississippi Railroad is the best stocked road in the West, having now about fourteen hundred freight and baggage cars, one hundred passenger cars, and sixty locomotives. Their greatly increasing business will soon demand a large increase, which we feel assured in asserting will be provided as fast as the demand increases. They have in successful operation two of the most complete machine shops and locomotive works in the country — one located at each end of the road — where a large force of excellent workmen are constantly employed.

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A great part of the road is now ballasted and by fall the entire route will be in the most complete running order of any road in the United States. Contracts have also been entered into for fencing the entire route and will soon be completed.

The officers of the road at present are, Mr. Jos. W. Alsop, of New York, President Eastern Division; S. L. M. Barlow, of New York, President Western Division; W. H. Clement, of Cincinnati, General Superintendent, both Divisions; P. W. Strader, of Cincinnati, General Ticket Agent, both Divisions; Isaac Wyman, of St. Louis, General Agent and Western Manager; all of whom are gentlemen of large experience in railroad matters.

The selection of Mr. Isaac Wyman as General Western Agent, was characteristic of the management, evidencing a desire to render every thing agreeable and comfortable to the travelling community. Mr. W. is a gentleman who has won for himself an enviable reputation by his courteous and affable manner towards all who come in contact with him. In Mr. W. this road has found a worthy representative, and one who has done much towards gaining for it the reputation it now bears.

The Ohio and Mississippi Railroad is the only road in the West that is built upon the broad guage principle. We have always been an advocate of this principle of building railroads, believing that it affords a greater degree of security against accidents, independent of the increased capacity for accommodation to travellers. There has lately been placed upon this road a couple of those newly invented sleeping cars, which, we are convinced, will become before long popular to such a degree as to drive the present inconvenient car out of use.

There are two trains leaving East St. Louis daily, carrying, besides a host of passengers, the United States mail and Adams' Express matter. They have their hours of starting so

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arranged as to arrive in Cincinnati in time for the trains East, thus affording a speedy transportation hence to the Atlantic. The passenger, in taking the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad, can, on entering the cars, find himself a bed, if he gets on board a sleeping car, and sleep till he arrives in the Queen Gity without having to change cars. A courteous and gentlemanly set of conductors are in charge of the trains, and efficient engineers conduct the engines, giving security that "all is well."

When the route of this road was first surveyed it was through a deep forest of trees and across the broad prairies of Illinois. Miles and miles were often traversed without a single habitation being discovered. Now almost the entire course is dotted with villages or teeming with golden grain, which springs like magic from the face of the earth wherever it is tickled by the plow or hoe of the husbandman. No better farming land can be found in the world; no better market for the products of the farm than St. Louis. Where five years ago was a vast field of natural pasturage, now can be found a busy village of four thousand inhabitants, cheerfully performing the duties of the mechanic and adding their portion of worldly goods to the grand total of Western wealth. Where a few short years ago naught but the sighing of trees and the rustle of the tall grass, as the gentle zephyrs played over and around them, disturbed the repose of nature, now can be heard the ringing sounds of the woodman's axe as he levels the huge trees to the ground, and the merry voice of the herdsman as he watches his immense herds of stock. All this, and much more, is owing to the building of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad. Indeed we owe much to the rapid settlement and development of the West to the building of our railroads, and to none more than the Ohio and Mississippi.

CINCINNATI, OHIO. — The metropolis of the State, and is

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called the "Queen City of the West." It is the most populous city of the Western States, and the largest inland city in the Union. It occupies two terraces, or even surfaces, about twelve miles in circumference, surrounded by beautiful hills, rising to a height of about 300 feet in gentle slopes, which are mostly covered by native forest trees.

The shore of the Ohio river, at the principal landing-place, is paved to low water-mark, and supplied by floating wharves, or, what in Cincinnati are termed wharf-boats, adapted to the great rise and fall of the river, which renders the landing at all times convenient. The handsomest portions of the city are Broadway, Pearl, Walnut, Fourth and Eighth streets. At the foot of Main street is the public landing or levee — an open area often acres, with 1,200 square feet front.

Cincinnati is one of the great emporiums of the western States. It is the principal mart for the pork and bacon trade in the United States; the receipts for hogs, pork and bacon, amounting to $5,486,592 for the year 1852; in 1854, this had increased to $8,310,290; and is now in a most flourishing condition. The climate in and around Cincinnati is peculiarly favorable for the cultivation of the vine, and the wine made from the Catawba grape is of excellent quality. Over 220,000 gallons are produced annually.

There are several first-class hotels in Cincinnati, as the Burnet, Spencer and Broadway Houses; also the Walnut-street and United States Hotels. Of restaurants, the St. Charles, William Tell, and Debolt, are the principal. Cincinnati was originally called Losanteville, and was settled, in 1788. It was incorporated as a city in 1819. In 1800, it contained 750 inhabitants; in 1840, 46,0,00; 1850, 115,000; 1856, 200,000. Previous to the arrival of the trains at Cincinnati, passengers will be waited upon by the baggage agent, who passes

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through the cars; by giving him their baggage-check, he in return will give them an omnibus ticket, which entitles them to one seat in the omnibus and the carriage of one trunk to any part of the city.

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Taylor, Jacob N; Crooks, M. O. Sketch Book of St. Louis: Containing a Series of Sketches of the Early Settlement, Public Buildings, Hotels, Railroads, Steamboats, Foundry and Machine Shops, Mercantile Houses, Grocers, Manufacturing Houses, Etc . St. Louis: George Knapp and Co, 1858. [format: book], [genre: guidebook; narrative]. Permission: Tulane University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=taylorcrooks.html
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