Historic Railroad Map of the Midwest - 1881 - Ohio Southern Railroad

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Map showing the Ohio Southern Railroad.

This railroad map of the mid-western United States was published in 1881 by G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co. It emphasizes the Ohio Southern Railroad and its connections through the Cincinnati, Sandusky & Cleveland and Indiana, Bloomington & Western railroads. Shown are counties, cities and towns, stations, rivers, canals, lakes, and the railway network of the 1880's. It features Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

Cleveland was founded in the late 1700's near the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. With the addition of several canals and effective railroad lines, Cleveland quickly became an important manufacturing center. Cleveland was connected with the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Erie Canal and by the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The city was an important transportation point for Minnesota iron ore and other raw materials being transported across the Great Lakes. By 1850, with railroads continuing to add mileage, the canals’ use and maintenance began to decline. Ownership of 3 miles of the canal at Cleveland that measured 40' wide at the top and 26' at the bottom with a depth of 4 feet was transferred to the city of Cleveland from the state in 1872. The drained and abandoned canal bed was leased to the Valley Railroad in 1879.

Cincinnati prospered greatly in its own production of iron. It also was an important meatpacking, woodworking and millinery town.

Cincinnati began to be served by railroad in 1836 and by 1900 more than 15 railroads linked the city with other parts of the country.

Sandusky was founded in 1816 on land reserved for "Firelands" refugees of the American Revolution, and named "Portland". Later the name was changed to Sandusky and it became the county seat of the newly formed Erie County.

Bloomington was an agricultural center with limited attributes until the advent of railroads in the 1850's. The railroad companies established car shops and maintenance facilities at Bloomington and the community grew with the industry.


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