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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
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Chapter XV. Railroads — (Continued.)


The Pacific Railroad was incorporated by the Legislature of the State of Missouri on the 12th Marth, 1849. The company was organized in January, 1850. The surveys were commenced in June, 1850, and the work of construction was commenced in 1851, the ground being broken on the 4th of July of that year.

The line of road commences at the corner of Seventh and Poplar streets, in the city of St. Louis, and will terminate at the western boundary of the State, in Jackson county, immediately at the junction of the Kansas and Missouri rivers, where the flourishing town of Kansas City is situated, the distance being two hundred and eighty miles.

The location of the road passes through the counties of St. Louis, Franklin, Gasconade, Osage, Cole, Moniteau, Cooper, Pettis, Johnson, Cass and Jackson; and the towns of Kirkwood, Glencoe, Allenton, Franklin, South Point, Washington, Hermann, Osage City, Jefferson City, California, Otterville, Georgetown, Warrensburg, Pleasant Hill and Independence are situated uoon or near the line of road.

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From St. Louis the road ascends westwardly to the dividing ridge between the Missouri and Meramec waters, reaching the summit at Kirkwood, thirteen miles; it then descends to the Meramec, at the Meramec station, eighteen miles, which stream it follows for nineteen miles to the town of Franklin, Franklin county, thirty-seven miles. At this point the South-west Branch diverges from the main line. From Franklin the main line ascends to the divide at Gray's summit, whence it descends to the Missouri at South Point, fifty-two miles from St. Louis, and then follows the south bank of the river to Jefferson City, one hundred and twenty-five miles. In this distance it passes through the towns of Washington, sixty miles, and Hermann, eighty-one miles, and crosses the Gasconade and Osage rivers eighty-eight and one hundred and sixteen miles. From Jefferson City the road follows the river four miles to the mouth of Gray's creek, and then ascends the valley of that stream to its head, reaching the high prairie land, one hundred and forty miles from St. Louis. From this point to the western boundary of the State the line traverses the high prairie country. Near Round Hill, one hundred and sixty-four miles, the Missouri Central Railroad, from Boonville twenty-four miles distant, will connect with the road; crossing the valley of the Lamine, near Otterville, one hundred and seventy-three miles; thence to a point about three miles south of Georgetown, one hundred and eighty-nine miles, and then crossing the valleys of Big Muddy and of several tributaries of the Blackwater it reaches in Cass county the valley of Big creek, a branch of the Osage, and passes near Pleasant Hill, two hundred and forty-nine miles; thence to the valley of the Little Blue, which it crosses, and ascends the Independence ridge, upon the summit of which and one mile north is located the city of Independence; then descending the ridge to the Missouri, at the mouth of the Big

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Blue, which it crosses, the line continues on the river to Kansas City. The graduation and masonry is completed for one hundred and sixty-two miles, to Round Hill. A large amount of work has been done on the eleven miles immediately west of this point, and several heavy points are under construction in Johnson county.

The track is now laid to California, one hundred and fifty miles, and twelve miles more to Round Hill will be laid in time for the summer's business.

The graduation of the first one hundred and forty miles of this road has been exceedingly heavy, and very costly, traversing as it does for fifty miles the broken country between St. Louis and the Missouri river, and then occupying for the next eighty miles the bluff bank of the Missouri, encountering in this distance four tunnels of an aggregate length of twenty-six hundred feet, a very large amount of exceedingly costly rock excavation, and the expensive bridges over the Gasconade and Osage rivers, near their mouths — the first being eight hundred feet, and the second twelve hundred feet long — with numerous smaller bridges, from sixty to one hundred and sixty feet span.

The work of graduation and masonry has been faithfully executed, and will compare favorably with the best roads in the country. The masonry is of a much better character than is customary upon western roads. The bridging is excellent, all but one being the improved Howe truss, and that one a McCallum bridge of two hundred and ten feet clear span.

The track of the road conforms to the established gauge of the State — five feet six inches — and is laid in the most substantial manner; the rail weighs sixty pounds per yard, and are placed and fastened upon ties of large size, with two

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thousand four hundred in each mile, firmly bedded on broken stone and gravel ballast.

The stations and other buildings of the company are excellent and very convenient for the purposes intended. The passenger and freight stations at St. Louis are located immediately in the heart of the city, upon a magnificent plat of ground extending from Seventh to Twelfth street, and between Poplar and Cerre. The freight house will contain quite a large amount of freight, is very easy of access, and but a short distance from the levee and business portions of the city. At Fourteenth street there is also a large and commodious freight house, with extensive platforms for the loading and unloading of goods. At this point the trains are all made up, and many hundred feet of sidings are upon the ground.

This company has been exceedingly fortunate in obtaining such desirable locations for their city stations, and the advantage that will result to them from the proximity to the business portion of the city is incalculable.

Between St. Louis and Jefferson City the company are provided with necessary buildings for the passenger and freight business, which, although not expensive, are all that is required for the trade of the road.

About two miles from Seventh street, at the western limits of the city, are situated the extensive construction and repair shops of the company; attached to them is a large circular engine house, containing stalls for sixteen locomotives. All the buildings are of brick, built in the most substantial manner. The shops are provided with the necessary tools and machinery of the best kind for doing the work of the road, and the power used is a stationary engine of large size. All of the passenger and freight cars of the company are constructed and fitted up complete in these shops, and are in every respect

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equal to those manufactured at the best establishments of the country.

Since March, 1856, the western terminus of the road has been at Jefferson City, where there are very extensive arrangements for transacting the heavy Missouri river business seeking the road. The freight house covers a large area of ground. During the past winter extensive additions have been made to accommodate the rapidly growing business of the road.

During the past year a regular line of Packets ran in connection with the road, carrying passengers and freight to Weston and intermediate points. For the year 1858 arrangements have been made for placing a Packet Line upon the river that can not be excelled on the western waters. The boats will be first class new Missouri river boats, capable of carrying a large number of passengers and a great amount of freight.

The company have just completed arrangements for carrying the troops and supplies of the United States destined for the army employed on the Western frontier and in Utah. This, with the immense travel to Kansas and the upper Missouri, will largly increase the receipts of the company, now greatly beyond the most sanguine expectations of the friends of the road.

During the past year the earnings of the road amounted to — $663,335 00
Expenses of working the road — $352,272 00
Nett earnings — $311,063 00
Being about 47 per cent, of the total earnings, or $2488 per mile. Of this amount there was derived from through freight and passengers carried over the whole road — $382,401 00
Way freight, passengers and mails — $280,934 00
Total as above — $663,335,00

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The South-West Branch diverges from the main line of the Pacific Railroad at the town of Franklin, Franklin county, thirty-seven miles from the city of St. Louis, and will terminate at the State line, about sixteen miles west of Neosho, Newton county, and twenty-five miles north of the Arkansas line.

The general direction of the road is south-west, and, in its length of two hundred and eighty-three miles, traverses the counties of Franklin, Crawford, Phelps, Maries, Pulaski, Laclede, Webster, Greene, Lawrence, Barry and Newton, Lebanon in Laclede, Springfield in Greene, and Neosho in Newton, are upon the line of the road; Union of Franklin, Steelsville of Crawford, Waynesville of Pulaski, and Mt. Vernon of Lawrence, are within ten miles of the road.

From Franklin, the road for the first twenty miles passes over very broken ground, and the work is quite heavy, a great deal of rock work, and very extensive embankments across the Meramec and Calvey valleys and on Section No. 7. The Meramec river is crossed twice by bridges of five hundred and twenty-eight and three hundred and seventy feet in length.

At the end of the twenty miles, the line reaches the Meramec and Bourbeuse divide, which it follows with moderate work for sixty miles, to Webbers; from this the descent to the Gasconade commences, and the river is reached in thirteen miles, at the mouth of the Little Piney, ninety miles from Franklin. For the next fifty miles, to the town of Lebanon, the work is exceedingly heavy, encountering the breaks of the Gasconade river, in Pulaski county, and crossing the Big Piney, Robidoux, Gasconade and Osage Fork rivers, and with two tunnels of an aggregate length of one thousand four hundred and fifty feet.

At Lebanon, the rich prairie country of South-West Missouri

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is reached, and is crossed by the line to its contemplated terminus, in Newton county, with very moderate work. The alignment of the whole road is good, with maximum gradients of sixty-five feet per mile.


By an act of Congress, approved June 10th, 1852, a grant of land was made to the State of Missouri to aid in the construction of a Railroad from St. Louis to the western boundary of the State.

By an act of the General Assembly of Missouri, approved December 25th, 1852, the land so granted to the State was transferred to the Pacific Railroad Company for the construction of a branch terminating at the State line south of the Osage river.

This branch was located in 1853, and the land selected along the line of road; the selections were approved by the Land Department, and a certified list made out, which it is now decided rests the fee simple title in the company. This land grant of one million and forty thousand acres is assigned to the South-West Branch, to be applied to the construction of the road, and was selected before the lands were so much sought after in this part of the State, being located in a magnificent country, rich in mineral and well adapted to every variety of agriculture. The lands are now worth from eight to ten millions of dollars, and with the branch road completed will be worth, at least, fifteen millions of dollars.

The lands embrace extensive bodies of rich minerals on the waters of the Meramec, interspersed with fine agricultural tracts, the minerals consisting of lead, copper and iron; also valuable timber lands along the Gasconade, consisting of oak, walnut and yellow pine. Beyond the Gasconade, and one

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hundred and forty miles from Franklin, the road strikes the beautiful prairie country of the South-West, which expands and improves in beauty and interest on to the end of the road.

This country (the South-West) maybe designated as a vast table land, forming the divide between the small streams running into White River and the Arkansas on the south, and the Osage on the north, and is as large as the State of Massachusetts, well watered with fine bold springs and good mill streams, never obstructed by ice; there is an abundance of timber along the streams, and the uplands are rich prairie. About seven hundred thousand acres of the company's land are located in this fine country, and all within fifteen miles of the line of road.

Lands along the line, near Springfield and beyond that point, with some small improvements, are now selling at from fifteen to twenty-five dollars per acre.

The most valuable lands owned by the company are situated in Newton, Jasper and Barry counties, in the great had region. The mineral discoveries on the lands of the company are very remarkable for their richness and value. Geologists consider them superior to any mines in the West, and their value can not be fully estimated. On one half section belonging to the company they are now taking out seventy-five thousand pounds of mineral per day; this will be very largely increased during the present year, the parties to whom the land has been leased having erected extensive smelting furnaces, the want of which has greatly retarded the working of the rich mineral lands of this region.

The State Geologist (Prof. Swallow) estimates the lead region as embracing about four hundred square miles. The Pacific Railroad Company own about forty per cent, of this territory, and so far the richest discoveries made are on the

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company's land. The greatest drawback there is on the value of these lands is the great,distance from market without the facilities for transportation; the building of this road will remove this obstacle.

In conformity to the law of December 10th, 1855, the Pacific Railroad has executed a mortgage upon the Branch Road, and one million of acres of land to secure the payment of ten millions, seven per cent, first mortgage bonds, these bonds having twenty years to run from January 1st, 1856. By the same law referred to, it was provided that the State should guaranty three millions of the bonds, and by law approved March 3d, 1857, the guaranty extends to four and a half millions of the bonds, which bonds may be first used in the construction of the Branch road.

In the guaranty made by the State, the form of which is given in the law, the State assumes the payment of the bonds, making it the undertaking of the State as fully as if they were the bonds of the State; and in providing for the protection of the State credit, by the creation of an interest and sinking fund, provision is made for paying the interest on these bonds if the company fails to pay.

The company have a stock subscription, amounting to $356,000, made along the line of road, conditioned that it shall be expended on the Branch road. The road is under contract, to be completed for $7,621,000.

To this time, some $637,413 have been expended upon the road. Twenty miles of graduation are nearly ready for the track; the iron rails are in St. Louis, and by the 4th of July the road will be opened to Mosely's. Beyond this point the work is comparatively light for the next sixty miles, and it must be but a short time until the South-West Branch will be opened one hundred and twenty miles south-west of St. Louis.

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To give a history of the Pacific Railroad from its conception until the present time, a period of nine years, would require more space than can be allotted to it in this book. Sufficient to say that it has struggled manfully through all the troubles of the intervening years, and is now in as good condition as any road in the country. The difficult sections of the main line have been passed, and there remains but one hundred and fifteen miles of graduation to the State line; this through a country unparalleled for richness, and more thickly populated than any portion of the State, except that immediately on the two great rivers — the Mississippi and the Missouri.

The Pacific Road, when opened to the western boundary of the State, will become the great highway between St. Louis and the fertile plains of Kansas, now rapidly filling up with an intelligent and industrious people, and through Kansas to the boundless West.

To attempt to estimate the business of the road, when this desirable end is accomplished, would be impossible. Even now the receipts of the road, passing, as it does, through the roughest part of the State, on the bank of the Missouri river to Jefferson City, exceed all estimates.

The friends of the road must congratulate themselves upon its bright prospects in the future. There can be no doubt that it will be a paying road; the return has been tardy, but when the goal is reached the fruition of their hopes will be complete.

The South-west Branch of this road is rapidly growing in favor. To this time few but those directly interested, either as residents on the line or officers of the company, appreciate the importance of this great work. To the city of St. Louis and to the State of Missouri it will be of incalculable advantage by opening in our own State a boundless mineral wealth

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of iron, copper and lead, and inviting to the rich and fertile prairies of South-west Missouri an enterprising and hardy population, who will send daily the returns of that garden-spot to enrich our beautiful city.

Nor will this be a local road of Missouri only; it will inevitably become one of the outlets of the great through line to the Pacific.

The question of the construction of the Great Pacific Railroad was agitated first some twelve years since. Since 1853 only has the question been seriously considered. In that year Congress authorized the surveys of the various lines proposed; the results have been published by the Government in eight large quarto volumes; five volumes have been distributed and are now before us. From these it is manifest that the soil, climate, population and topography point out the route of the 35th parallel as the proper one to be adopted, with which the South-West Branch can be readily connected in the valley of the Canadian. Can there be a doubt of the ultimate use of the South-west Branch, since over it will pass the immense trade and travel between the great northern and middle States of this confederacy and our possessions on the Pacific. Upon the banks of the Mississippi, in the city of St. Louis, will hereafter be transacted a business that would appear visionary now to anticipate. The agricultural and mineral productions of the great West, the shining product of California, and the wealth of the Indies, will pass through the limits of this great city, which is destined to be the agricultural and commercial metropolis, as it now is the geographical centre, of this glorious Union.

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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
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