Historic Railroad Map of the Midwest - 1868

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2.00 pounds
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Map showing the line of the Rockford, Rock Island & Saint Louis Railroad and its connections.

This map of the Middle West United States was published in 1868 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 Rockford, Rock Island & St. Louis Railroad was organized in the 1850's to run between Rockford, Illinois and St. Louis by way of Rock Island. The line chartered an existing line from St. Louis to Sterling, Illinois, but was unable to complete the remainder of its line because of an economic panic that hindered most railroad building in 1857, and then complications of the American Civil War. It was sold at foreclosure in the 1870's to the St. Louis, Rock Island & Chicago Railroad Company, and later to the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company.

Rockford was established in the 1830's along the Rock River. Rockford was a leading furniture manufacturing town in the late 1800's. Many of Rockford’s factories operated as co-operatives producing fine furniture that was heavily influenced by Swedish immigrant craftsmen.

The town of Rock Island began to prosper in the 1830's with water power being generated at that point along the Mississippi River. This valuable power source enabled new and promising manufacturing possibilities. The Chicago & Rock Island Railroad constructed the first bridge crossing the Mississippi at Rock Island in the mid-1800's. The island, just upriver from town, was used as a prisoner of war camp during the war. The island is now known as Arsenal Island. It maintains a U.S. military arsenal and manufacturing facilities. In the years following the civil conflict, Rock Island’s economic interests returned to lumbering, and the manufacturing of agricultural implements and railroad supplies.

In 1850, St. Louis became the largest U.S. city west of Pittsburgh. St. Louis' population more than doubled from 1850 to 1860, and in 1859 its first streetcar tracks were laid.

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