This double map image of the Middle West United States was published in 1869 by G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co. The lower map is a close-up of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, while the upper map shows the northern middle states from coast to coast. Included are counties, cities, towns, waterways, and the railroad and steamboat network of the 1860's.
The agricultural resources of Illinois exceeded those of any other state of the Union in the 1860's. 35,000,000 bushels of wheat and 140,000,000 bushels of corn were produced in Illinois in 1860. Products that were sold and sent out of the state exceeded 1,500,000 tons. The deep, rich loam of the prairies was cultivated with such ease that farmers from eastern states moved to Illinois in great numbers. The population of Illinois in 1850 was 851,470 persons. By the census of 1860 the state had 1,723,663 persons; a gain of nearly one hundred thousand each year. By 1869 millions of dollars had been expended on 3,551 miles of railroads within the borders of Illinois. This was done by private capital.
Chicago's transportation importance began in the 1840's with the building of the Illinois and Michigan Canal which connected the Mississippi River with Lake Michigan. Cattle, hogs and grain were abundantly grown and traded in Chicago, as well as a number of dependent branch manufactures such as milling, slaughtering, packing, rendering, soap and candle making, tanning, brewing and distilling. Transporting these items prompted much railroad growth in the during the 1800's.
By 1850 Indiana had so heavily invested in its building of roads, canals and railroads, that it was forced into bankruptcy. Voters officially enacted a new state constitution in 1851. So many immigrated to Indiana during the 1850's that it became the nation’s fourth largest state by 1860, according to population.
Bloomington, Illinois was an agricultural center with limited attributes until the advent of railroads in the 1850's. The railroads established shops and car works at Bloomington and the community prospered greatly as the railroads grew.
The Danville, Urbana & Pekin Railroad was chartered in 1866. By the time the line opened in 1869 it had merged with the Indianapolis, Crawfordsville & Danville Railroad. The two completed lines operated between Indianapolis and Pekin, Illinois from 1869 until 1879 when a foreclosure reorganized the line as the Indiana, Bloomington & Western Railway. Further financial problems in the 1880's left the portion of line from Indianapolis to Pekin sold to the Peoria & Eastern Railway.