Historic Railroad Map of the Midwest - 1865

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Map showing the line of the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad and its Western and North Western Connections.

This map of the Middle West United States was published in 1865 by G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co. It features portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. Shown are counties, cities, towns, waterways, and the railroad and steamboat network of the 1860's.

The Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad is shown in the years before its western expansion project. The line began in 1847 as the Milwaukee & Waukesha Railroad but soon after was renamed the Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad. Ten year later the line was forced into bankruptcy and was sold to the Milwaukee & Prairie du Chien Railroad. In 1867 it was merged with the LaCrosse & Milwaukee Railroad becoming the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. It would later expand and become the important Pacific Coast link known as the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad. The western expansion reached all the way to Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean. Milwaukee was incorporated as a city in 1846.

An interesting article that appeared in the “Milwaukee Sentinel” in June of 1897 gives an insight into the impression made by Milwaukee on German-born Franz Neukirch, who arrived in the Milwaukee region in 1839 and sent for his family to follow in 1840. It is provided in the form of a letter describing the area to his friends in Germany. This letter and others he wrote generated such interest in Milwaukee that the Burgermeister of Darmstadt, Germany, Neukirch's native city, said 2,000 Germans were induced to immigrate to Milwaukee as a result of reading them. An excerpt from one of Neukirch's letters is provided below:

"Most fruits grown here are indigenous. Wild apples, cherries and plums are found in abundance. There is plenty of hunting and fishing. The Indians are peaceful and the character of the white settlers is above reproach. Nothing is ever stolen and everything is left wide open. Envy is unknown. Work alone commands respect. The inhabitants are all hard working people and help each other as much as they can. There are no beggars. Every male inhabitant is obliged to work two days a year on the streets, which are in bad condition. Canals and railroads are projected to form a direct communication with New Orleans. I think that Wisconsin will some day be one of the wealthiest and best states in the Union."

Throughout the 1840's Wisconsin and Milwaukee specifically became the destination of many Germans who were fleeing the political upheaval in Germany and Austria, seeking the freedom and opportunities that were being presented in the newly settled area. Milwaukee had more German language newspapers than English language newspapers throughout the second half of the 19th century and into the 20th century. Polish immigrants also arrived in large numbers, settling mostly on Milwaukee's South Side.

There were 138 taverns in Milwaukee as early as 1843, and by 1856, there were more than two dozen breweries in the city. Most breweries were German owned and operated, with names still remembered today such as Pabst, Blatz, Schlitz and Miller.

The Minnesota Territory was designated in 1849 with St. Paul named as its capital. By 1850, St. Paul contained 257 families and had a population of 1,294. A county court house was completed in 1853.

In 1858, Minnesota was made the thirty-second state, with St. Paul as its capital. St. Paul grew quickly from that point with increased manufacturing opportunities and railroad facilities.

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