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Development of the Railroad in Iowa

With the development of railroads reaching from eastern cities to Chicago, railroad transportation began in Iowa during the late 1840s as the railways began to extend past the big city. The first railroad company to complete construction near the Mississippi River, was Chicago & Rock Island (CRI) in 1854, with the Burlington Company (CB&Q) closely behind. Other railroad companies began to emerge, such as the Galena & Chicago Union, the Northern Cross, the Aurora Branch, Peoria and Oquawka (P&Q), Central Military Tract (CMT), and Chicago & North Western (CNW), Cedar Rapids and Missouri River (CR & MR), Illnois Central, and the Milwaukee Central. Although many companies had completed railways near the river, the first to cross it was the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad in 1856 (later known as the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad). By 1860, Iowa had nearly 655 miles to railroad in operation. In 1862, the Pacific Railroad Act was passed by President Lincoln to begin construction of creating the transcontinental line from Omaha to Sacramento through the Union Pacific Line. With Iowa as a middle-state between each coastline, more railroad traffic, including passenger trains, began to emerge. Passenger trains allowed people to travel cross-country and get a view different from home, travelling to cities such as Chicago, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Washington D.C., or cities in the states of California, Colorado and Oregon. Ticket fares cost 2-3 cents per mile, however rates would vary depending on the number of railways in the area (less railways = a higher price). A typical passenger car consisted of a two-seat wooden bench, with temperatures often rising or falling depending on the season. Lighting was provided by either candlelight, oil lamps or stoves, which turned dangerous when a wreck took place. First class passengers could ride in a newly renovated Pullman car with carpeted floors and comfortable seating that could be converted into bedding. Additional beds were also provided in the sleeping car. Pullman cars also included a parlor and dining area to relax in (meals typically cost 75 cents), and porters to attend to the passengers. Trains would make frequent stops at railroad depots to allow the crew and passengers a break from the train to relax, walk around and grab something to eat. This would also be a time for train maintenance and repairs if needed. The Mississippi and Missouri Railroad Company developed the first passenger car in Iowa, and when it arrived in Iowa City on January 3rd, 1856, the passengers were met with celebration at the State Capitol. As passenger trains increased, the amount of settlers moving westward did as well. Large numbers of new towns were built along tracks as trains stopped at the depots. Businesses were able to thrive as passengers stopped to eat, shop and stay overnight. The rapid growth of town development due to the railway helped to not only create new jobs, but helped those in the already established agriculture field as well. The railways helped farmers to transport their crops and produce to a wider-range selling area and to save time from delivering crops to river towns to be transported by boat. Similar to farmers, the lumber industry was able to branch away from river transportation, growing their industry across the state. Due to major cities no longer being only centered around river ports, businesses and banks could grow and expand to other areas of the state. Resource can be used with the following standards to further develop lessons: 4th grade SS 4.25 Technological Change and 4th grade SS 4.26 Changes to Agriculture.
U.S. Chronology
Iowa History Eras
Relational Notes
Resource is related to the following objects, which can be found by searching the catalog number in the advanced search section: Catalog #: 2018.051.035- Klemme Railroad Depot 2018.005.001- Winfield Railroad Depot 2018.051.017- Crystal Lake Railroad Depot 2018.051.025- Rock Island Railroad Depot 2018.051.029- Hutchins Railroad Depot 2018.021.009- Mount Ayr Railroad Depot 2018.051.039-Klondike Railway Depot 2018.021.043- Benton Railroad Depot 2018.021.036- Diagonal Railroad Depot 2018.021.053- Diagonal Railroad Depot 2018.021.066- Knowlton Railroad Depot 2018.021.073- Tingley Railroad Depot 2018.051.011- Corwith Railroad Depot 2018.021.042- Delphos Railroad Depot 2018.021.062- Kellerton Railroad Depot 2018.021.060- Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Wood 2018.051.034- Kanawha Railroad Depot 2018.046.004- Sioux City's Elevated Railroad 2018.056.007- Chicago & Northwestern Railroad Viaduct 2018.056.009- Railway Map 2018.051.046- Railway Map of Hancock County 2018.056.002- Railway Map 2018.056.003- Railway Map 2018.056.015- Railway Map