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View of Galena
View of Galena

This view of Galena, Illinois (circa 1850) shows the vigorous activity surrounding a Mississippi River port in an era in which steamboats carried passengers and freight up and down the great river and its navigable tributaries. Note the railroad "swing bridge" in the foreground. This structure allowed a railroad line to cross a river without permanently blocking steamboats' progress on the river. Unlike a draw bridge, which raises its roadway surface to allow ships' passage, this bridge pivoted to the side in order to provide boats with the necessary clearance.

Image source: Chicago Historical Society
©Copyright 2002 Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project