The Role of the Railroad in a Growing Industrial Nation
Steamboat Landing, Vicksburg, Mississippi. Circa 1915. Click on image to enlarge.
Before railroads connected American cities and towns the major routes of transportation were water ways, not just along the coast and across the Great Lakes, but up and down rivers, and to a much lesser degree canals. By the 1850's, hundreds of steam-powered river boats moved goods up and down the great Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, connecting cities like St. Paul, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Memphis, New Orleans, and many more. Towns not on a major river were connected by horse drawn wagons. As railroads moved across the country, the transportation system become more complete.
The levee on the Ohio River at Louisville, Kentucky circa 1905. Click on image to enlarge.
Vicksburg, Mississippi waterfront circa 1915. Click on image to enlarge.
A barge serving as a dock on the Ohio River at Louisville, Kentucky circa 1905. Click on image to enlarge.
Unloading bananas from a steamer at a dock in New Orleans, c. 1906.Click on image to enlarge.
Steamer loading resin at Gulfport, Mississippi in 1906. On this levee, the track is right on the levee next to the steamer. Click on image to enlarge.
Mule teams carrying cotton from the levee to waiting trains in New Orleans, 1903. Click on image to enlarge.
Thornberg hoists unloading iron ore at the Lackawanna ore dock in Buffalo, NY, c. 1900. Click on image to enlarge.
Loading a US mail car at the L&N Railroad Station, North Florida in 1940. Click on image to enlarge.
Flour mills in Minneapolis, MN in 1939. Photo by John Vachon for the U.S. Farm Security Administration. Click on image to enlarge.
A crane car loads timber onto a flat car in northern Minnesota in 1937. Click on image to enlarge.
Cascade Mountains near Seattle Washington in 1899. How they got that log onto the flat cars is a mystery. Click on image to enlarge.
Michigan iron mine, circa 1890 Note the rails laid on logs. Click on image to enlarge.
Laying new track at a coal loading station circa 1912. Click on image to enlarge.
Loading hopper cars with sulphur at the Freeport Sulphur Company in Hoskins Mound, Texas in 1943. Click on image to enlarge.
Unloading sugar beets in Loveland, Colorado in 1910 Click on image to enlarge.
Cars being transported for the Southern Pacific Railroad at New Orleans, circa 1910. Click on image to enlarge.
Steel ingots loaded on special flat cars at the the Homestead Steel Works, Homestead, Pennsylvania c. 1908 Click on image to enlarge.
Loading a 28-ton tank onto a flat car at the Chrysler tank arsenal near Detroit c. 1943. Click on image to enlarge.
Loading ice into a refrigerator car, San Bernadino, CA c. 1943. Click on image to enlarge.
Keystone Lumber Company circa 1905 - Hauling logs to to the railway. Note the rail built on three layers of logs. Click on image to enlarge.
The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad Ore Dock, Buffalo, New York. Circa 1905.
There were several ore docks on the banks of Lake Erie in Buffalo at the turn of the Century belonging to different companies and feeding different railroads. Some of the other docks had McMyler hoists or Brown Hoists. Shown in this photo are six Thornburg hoists. You can see how they work with a strictly front-to-back overhead action with no lateral swiveling. They swing a hanging bucket that looks small compared to the scale of the hoist structure. Note the chutes in the floors of the 19th Century hopper cars.
In 1907, ports on the U.S. side of Lake Erie offloaded over 35 million tons of iron ore from lake steamers. According to the 1908 Annual Report of the Buffalo Merchants' Exchange, the total shipments of iron ore from Lake Superior mines was 403,299,591 tons in the years 1857 through 1908. Trains transported the ore to iron and steel mills mostly in Pennsylvania near coal deposits.
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