Cleveland was founded in the late 1700's near the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. In the 1800's, with the addition of several canals and effective railroad lines, Cleveland quickly became an important manufacturing center.
Cleveland was conveniently connected with the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Erie Canal, and the Gulf of Mexico by way of the Mississippi River.
Railroads of Indiana added many miles of track during the 1850's. So many immigrated to Indiana in that decade, that it became the nation's fourth largest state by 1860, according to population.
Wisconsin became a state in 1848 with Madison as its capitol. The railroad arrived in 1854, beginning with the Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad, later known as the Milwaukee Railroad.
An 1854 description of Illinois by Ensign, Bridgman & Fanning states:
"The general surface of this State may be regarded as a gentle plain more or less rolling, inclined in the direction of the river. There are no mountains in its whole extent; the northern and extreme southern sections are somewhat broken and hilly. Some of the prairies are of vast extent, presenting the appearance of the ocean after a violent storm. There are some localities where very little timber is to be seen, and the prospect only bounded by the sky. In that portion north of Kaskaskia River the prairie country predominates; and it is computed that two-thirds of the State is covered with this class of land. Notwithstanding these lands are from thirty to one hundred feet higher than the bottom lands on the rivers, yet they are exceedingly fertile.
The vast railroad system projected, and which is now prosecuted with vigor, together with enlightened legislation, will soon rank this important star in the national galaxy among the most wealthy and populous of the Union; her lands in many sections having tripled in value within the past few years."
This detailed map displaying portions of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and Iowa was published in 1859 by J. Sage & Sons. It displays cities, towns, counties and waterways. The railroad network is clearly labeled including mileage between stations.