Historic Railroad Map of the Midwest - 1862 - G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co

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Map showing the location of the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad with its branches and connections.

This map of the mid-western United States was published in 1862 by G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co. It features portions of Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois and Nebraska. It displays counties, major cities and towns, waterways, and the railroad network of the 1860's.

Chicago was a mere trading post near the banks of Lake Michigan in the 1830's. Its transportation importance began in the 1840's with the building of the Illinois & Michigan Canal which connected the Mississippi River with Lake Michigan. The Galena and Chicago Union Railroad was Illinois’ first major railroad endeavor. It was originally designed to connect Chicago with the rich lead mines at Galena. The line is said to have been an important factor in the settlement of Chicago and its status as a major transportation hub. The Galena & Chicago Union Railway enabled enhanced shipping of the many agricultural products of the region. Cattle, hogs, grain and other farming products were abundantly traded as well as agriculturally dependent branch manufactures such as milling, slaughtering, packing, rendering, soap and candle making, tanning, brewing and distilling.

In 1862 the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad began leasing the Cedar Rapids & Missouri Railroad which was being constructed from Cedar Rapids to Council Bluffs in Iowa. That line was completed in 1867. The Galena & Chicago consolidated with the Chicago & North-Western Railway in 1864. The Chicago & North-Western Railroad reached Council Bluffs in 1867. Iowa was well covered by railroads during this era. Beginning in the 1850's railroad building commenced throughout Iowa to transport the valuable resources of that state to markets at Chicago and beyond. Iowa is displayed here in its days of much railroad building and local settlement. Eventually railroads reached every corner of the state.

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