The Kansas & Gulf Short Line Railroad was built between Tyler, Texas and Sabine Pass on the Gulf Coast to serve local Tyler business interests.
The Texas & St. Louis Railway was designed to connect St. Louis with Texarkana for the transportation of cotton. Building of this complicated railroad required numerous bridges and trestles. Builders were constantly hampered by exposure to swamp-like, and malarial conditions during the line's erection. The Texas & St. Louis was completed between Bird's Point, Missouri and Gatesville, Texas in August of 1883 to much fanfare. Both railroads became part of the St. Louis Southwestern Railway, better known as the "Cotton Belt Route" in 1891.
This map, published in 1881 by G.W. & C. B. Colton & Co. highlights the region's forests and mineral deposits, as well as its railroad network of the era. Rivers and counties are labeled, along with cities, towns, and forts. Shown are Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, and portions of Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Tennessee and Mississippi.
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