ONE YEAR AFTER—THE RESTORATION OF CHICAGO
The Lakeside Monthly, October, 1872
Part I Reconstruction.
Part II Public Works and Buildings
Part III Churches and Schools
Part IV Private Buildings
Part V Business Blocks
Part VI Amusements, Arts, and Science
Part VII Chicago and Its Railways
Part VIII The Year as Seen From the Board of Trade
Lakeside Monthly, October, 1872
CHICAGO AND ITS RAILWAYS.
The subject of Chicago and its railways embraces the city as a centre. But in commeree, as in na ture, there are centres and centres. In this view one cannot, probably, do better than recall the idea of the ingenious individual who defined the universe as a system having its centre everywhere and its circumference no where. The Sun itself, with its planets and their attendant satellites, is only one among the myriads of the “fixed” stars—centres of other systems which are together making the grand tour of tout le monde. It is so in this mimic world of the Earth’s commerce. Every city is, in some sort, the centre of a tributary system, great or small; and all these in every country—their confines overlapping one another are auxiliary at last to the metropolis. There are, for example, elements in which St. Louis holds Chicago as a tributary; while Chicago, in the larger aspects of its commerce, embraces St. Louis and much of its peculiar territory, along with many other towns and regions in a score of States. After comparing the volumes of traffic by which each aggrandizes the other, we should find at least a certain residuum—the aggregate contributed by all the other centres within the sphere to Chicago. That this is so now, is simply matter-of-fact—as much so as is the balance of trade, as between Chicago and New York, in favor of the latter city. How long this will remain so, whether, if ever, the net results will be in favor of St. Louis,—is simply a question of facilities; of the comparative advantages afforded by the two to transportation, transfer, and trade. The subject is thus seen to have magnitude; and so many and varied are the factors which make up the equation, that within the limits of a few pages the most that one can do is to sketch its general aspects.
A glance at the representative character of the system to which the commercial cities of the world belong, is suggestive. Between the parallels of thirty-five and forty-five degrees of north latitude, which traverse the two historical continents and their intermediate oceans — the waters of commerce—lies the habitat of civilization. With in this belt, a thousand miles broad from north to south, and adjacent thereto, have flourished all the permanent centres: Constantinople, Athens, Venice, Rome, Paris, Berlin, Antwerp, London, New York, Chicago, St. Louis, San Francisco, Yeddo, Pekin. Built up by local civilizations, and connected by routes of traffic and travel having their termini within the commercial belt, these all are now for the first time united as members of one vast community, thriving on diversified indus tries, by the bonds which wind, steam, electricity, and the press wrought, and have at length welded indissolubly. To this belt tend and return the primeval water-routes of the world; within it lie, almost wholly, the vast railway systems established unchangeably in the old world and the new, and the rapidly-forming ones of the Orient; along these parallels also stretch, be neath oceans and over islands and continents, the magnetic wires which annihilate distance and time, and render ubiquitous human thoughts, the touch of which makes the whole world kin;—here, to sum up all, have had their birth and home all the higher agencies of civilization: religion and philanthropy; the state and the home; the written word and the arts of use and beauty; the art of war; the sciences of weight and measurement, and their applications; the compass, steam motive-power, electro-magnetism; mineralogy and manufacture, and coinage, currency, and exchange. Our continent—whose central portion, with its homogeneous population and polities, from sea to sea, embraces the whole breadth of this belt,—has its two shores facing those of Europe and Asia, respectively; has, that is, centrality. The dream of science, the quest of enterprise, was ever in the old times to discover a connection between the European-Asiatic coasts, more direct, certain, and cheap than those around Good Hope and the Horn. In this instinct lay the inspiration which, seeking a due east and west route, found America lying in the path. The two oceans bridged and their intermediate continent traversed, the dream has, within the decade, dawned into reality. Probably, therefore, the course of events which resulted in the establishment across this continent, and with in the territory of the United States, of a direct, feasible, and economical route for travel and trade, and answering to the necessities of modern commerce, both as respects capacity and dispatch, will take its place as the most momentous in commercial history. Wise were the minds that conceived and beneficent the hands highway, that laid this inter-ocean they planned and builded even better than they knew. Theirs was the master-thought which is to find fruition in the old world in a route traversing Europe and Asia and connect ing their capital cities on the most direct lines possible, and here in the construction, within a very brief period, of fellow routes to the Union Pacific, from the Mississippi to the Pacific. Of these, the one will follow the northern and the other the southern border of the commercial belt. These, with their branches, and especially with their connections with the central route al ready established from shore to shore, are destined to pour into the lap of San Francisco, St. Louis, Chicago, and New York, and their fellow cities on the coasts and in the interior, all the vast and varied wealth of our temperate zone.
Of these cities—indeed, of all the cities of the world—Chicago is distinctively the railway city. Its character in this respect is as pronounced as is that of New York in finance and trade, Liverpool in ocean commerce, or Birmingham and Pittsburgh in manufactures. That this distinction is recognized and accepted, is strikingly seen in the utterances of the newspaper press, not only of this country but of Europe, called out by the great fire a year ago. The hope of the city was seen to lie immediately in its railway system. It was in the railways alone that was found living assurance in the dead ashes of the metropolis; it was the “great civilizer,” the locomotive, whose breath was anew to “create a soul under the ribs of death.” The ascending smoke from a thousand speeding engines formed in fancy above the des olated city a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night; and, no doubt, some poetic imagination may have pictured its curling volumes shaping themselves, in the upper air into form of fabled Phoenix, volant,— the new city’s shield and coat of arms.
We can in these pages do no more than supplement the general statements with a bare catalogue of the schemes which, within three years from the fire, will fully double the railway mileage directly tributary to Chicago. As all the various through routes lie with their feeders in different, and some of them in several, States, they can best be considered one by one as systems.
Northern Pacific.—Beginning at the North, this is first referred to, since it is to points on this line that most of the new roads building northwest from Chicago aim. It is practically finished west to the Missouri River, about 450 milesfrom Duluth; and north (extension of St. Paul & Pacific) down the valley of the Red River of the North to Pem bina, British Possessions, in the direc tion of Fort Garry.
Chicago and North Western Railway Company.
Chicago & North-Western.—The immediate objectives are, Lake Superior on the east, and the line of the Northern Pacific on the west. The completion of the remaining forty miles along the west shore of Green Bay will give Chicago an all-rail route to the Marquette iron region; and this route will be materially shortened by the construction of a line recently be gun from Milwaukee direct to Fond du Lac. From Madison the company are building directly (Baraboo Air Line) to a connection at Winona with the Winona & St. Peter Road; and the latter, under the auspices of the North Western, is in effect completed via St. Peter, Minnesota, to the Dakota line, and is to be speedily completed through Dakota to a connection with the Northern Pacific at the Missouri River.
Milwaukee & St. Paul.—This system, which has placed itself in competition with the North-Western at every important point in Wisconsin, has hitherto had no eastern terminus ex cept Milwaukee; and, with the exception of the line by steamer across Lake Michigan, has had to depend on its rival for connection with the through routes to the seaboard. This disa bility will be overcome by the construction of an extension from Milwaukee to Chicago. It is also building to a connection at Winona with its Min nesota system, giving it a through line from Chicago to St. Paul and the Northern Pacific, very much shorter than its present line via the McGregor Road.
Wisconsin Central.—This new project will take the field in full strength within about two years of its inception. Its various members meet at Stevens Point, on the Wisconsin River, about the geographical centre of the state. This point will be reached by two roads of the company (with three Chicago connections): one from Milwaukee north to Manitowoc on Lake Michigan, thence west (via Menasha, foot of Lake Winnebago) to Stevens Point; the other, from Portage City, thirty-nine miles north of Madison, to which point a road is now operated by the Milwaukee & St. Paul. These lines unite at Stevens Point in a trunk line which, about forty miles west, divides into two: one, under rapid construction, north, between the Wisconsin and Chippewa Rivers to Ashland and Bayfield, on Lake Superior, and from Ashland, west, to a connection with the Northern Pacific, at or near Duluth; the other, projected, west, via Eau Clair to Prescott on the Mississippi, near St. Paul.
West Wisconsin.—In connection with the Baraboo line of the North Western (at Elroy), this road will give a direct line from Chicago, via Eau Clair to St. Paul.
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy.—This system is sending out commanding lines Northwest, West, and Southwest, with a rapidity and on a scale quite bewildering. It seeks the Northwest over its Chicago & Iowa tributary, recently built from Aurora to Forreston on the Illinois Central, over which its trains now run to Dubuque. From this point, the Chicago, Du buque & Minnesota Road is building up the Mississippi to La Crescent and Northern Pacific connections. From Mendota, the company have built to the Mississippi at Clinton, to a connection (over a bridge, to be built) with a new through line to the Missouri—the Chicago, Omaha & St. Joseph. The route to Council Bluffs lies midway be tween those of the Rock Island and Burlington & Missouri River Roads; and it is proposed to connect, by a branch from Winterset, with the branch of the latter road to St. Joseph. From St. Joseph, all points on the Missouri to Kansas City, and in Kansas and the Southwest, will be reached over roads operated in the same financial interest. At Clinton connection is also made over the Chicago, Clinton & Dubuque, with the Dubuque & Minnesota above named. An extension of this line now running to Streator, midway between the Illinois River on the west and the Chicago & Alton (Jacksonville Branch) on the east, will give the company direct access to St. Louis. A road building due south, from Fairbury to Paducah, parallel with the Il linois Central, will give the company a direct connection with the Southern system at a favorable point. From Burlington shirts the Burlington & Southwestern Road, which will have two hundred miles completed this fall, giving advantageous connections with St. Joseph and Kansas City.
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific.—This company has, within the year, completed the Chicago & Southwestern line through Southwestern Iowa and Northwestern Missouri to Leavenworth and Atchison. Arrangements will very soon be perfected giving it direct connection with St. Joseph and Kansas City. The natural connection of this line is the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Road. This enterprise (of some years’ standing) has only risen during the past year to a place among the great trans-Missouri lines. It is now in operation to the Arkansas River, in Central Southern Kansas, and is under construction up that stream via Fort Zarah to Fort Dodge. Crossing the river at the latter point, it will doubtless be extended at an early day, by the route surveyed by General Pal mer, to a connection with the thirty-fifth parallel route in the valley of the Rio Grande, in the vicinity of Albuquerque. From Muscatine, Iowa, the Rock Is land company are building a line west, via Winterset, in the direction of Council Bluffs; and are also extending the line opened between Des Moines and Winterset, southward into Missouri. Under the auspices of this company, a road of the first importance is building in Illinois—the Chicago, Decatur & St. Louis. The building of one hund red and thirty-five miles of road be tween Bremen on the Rock Island road, twenty-three miles from Chicago, and Decatur on the Toledo, Wabash & Western road, one hundred and eight miles from St. Louis, will give a new through line between Chicago and St. Louis, two hundred and six miles in length, and passing midway between the Chicago & Alton and Illinois Central roads.
Illinois Central.—It always strikes a Chicagoan curiously that the line of this road to Chicago should have been designated as a “branch ” of the ” main line ” between Cairo and Dunleith; of the line to Dunleith (diverging at Centralia) nearly one-half at the northern end is already distinctively a Chicago road, by reason of its connection, above referred to, with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. This connection assumes especial importance by the recent opening of this road from Dubuque to Sioux City, with a branch to Austin, Minne sota, in the direction of St. Paul. And, indeed, the remaining portion of the main line, between Centralia and Forreston, is tributary to Chicago, by its connections with the Chicago branch through the Oilman, Clinton & Springfield, and Toledo, Peoria & Warsaw, and that with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy at Mendota. The original idea of the road as a portion of an allrail line to the Gulf, is at once to be realized in two directions. By the build ing of twenty-one miles between Cairo and Columbus, to be completed in early winter, the long-needed connection with Mobile will be secured; and, in like manner, a line is to be at once built from Cairo to a connection with the Mississippi Central and New Or leans, Jackson & Great Northern.
Chicago, Alton & St. Louis.—This company have taken the field for the Southwest with strength and energy. Under their auspices a new line is building through Missouri, which is already opened to Jefferson City, 238 miles southwest from where it leaves the Illinois line. The extension in the same direction would take the route through Springfield, Missouri, and Van Buren, Arkansas, on the Arkansas River, in the direction of Galveston, on the Gulf. The road is also building to Booncville, on the Missouri, where a bridge is under construction; and from thence it is projected on the south side of the river to Kansas City. The ar rangement bywhich thiscompany have become joint owners with two other companies of the St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern (late North Missouri) Road, is of considerable importance to Chicago, which is able to compete for the Kansas business over that line on at least equal terms with St. Louis.
Chicago & Alton R.R. Map
Missouri, Kansas & Texas.—This system, although it has no terminus in Chicago, will have connections so varied and commanding, and is in itself so important, that it merits a place here. Starting from Moberly, Missouri, its principal line passes southwest through Central Missouri to Fort Scott, Kansas, and thence on to the Neosho River. Here, at a place called Parsons, it is joined by a road down that valley from Junction City; and, turning south, passes through the Indian Territory, crossing the Arkansas river at Fort Gibson, to the northern line of Texas, which it strikes at Preston, on the Red river. From thence it is projected, in two divisions,—one southeast to Galveston, the other southwest to Carmargo on the Rio Grande and to the City of Mexico. It will this month have a through connection with Galveston, however, by the Texas Central Road, which has been rapidly pushed north to a junction with it. On the completion of the bridge over the Missouri at Booneville, Sherman, Texas, will be placed within 881 miles of Chicago nearer, that is, than is New York; while Galveston will be about as near as is Denver.
Chicago, Danville & Vincennes.—This company which about two years ago modestly began building a line from Chicago to Danville, Illinois, with immediate view to gain access to the celebrated Block coal-field of Indiana, is rapidly expanding into a trunk sys tem. From Danville it has leased the road south to Terre Haute, giving it a line to the Ohio river at Evansville. Under its auspices, a local company is about building a road from its line near Danville, south to Paducah. Of the two hundred and forty miles of this line, forty are already built, leav ing two hundred to be constructed. The distance from Chicago to Paducah by this line will be three hundred and forty-six miles. A bridge will be built at Paducah, giving through connections with the Southern system. The construction of the branch into Indiana will bring the Block coal within one hundred and forty-five miles of Chicago; and will bring along with it the excellent iron from Hardin county, Illinois, equal to that of the iron mountains of Missouri and Northern Michigan.
Michigan Central.—The extension of this company’s lines in Michigan are tributary partly to Detroit and partly to this city. Its branch connections embrace nearly a thousand miles of road—700 miles to the north and 300 miles to the south of its main line. Of the former, those of especial importance to Chicago, are the Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore, now running 150 miles north to Pentwater, en route for Grand Traverse, with a branch building northeast up the Muskegon river; and the Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw, also in operation about 150 miles into the heart of the “forest primeval,” north of Saginaw.
Lake Shore & Michigan Southern. —The branch lines of the road in Michigan, from White Pigeon via Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids, and from Jonesville via Albion towards Lansing, are important tributaries to the main line, and possess considerable importance in relation to its Chicago business.
Since the completion of the five great roads from Montreal, Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati to Chicago, no direct lines have been added from the East. It is not in the nature of things that these should be adequate to the traffic which six great systems of roads deliver here, in addition to the swelling volume of business local to this city; and the wonder is, not that new roads are projected from the seaboard to Chicago, but that they are not already built. The old roads have been endeavoring to accommodate themselves to the in creasing demands upon them, by in creasing their facilities. Two of them—the Michigan Central & Great Western and Lake Shore & Michigan Southern—are already very nearly provided with a double track; while the two Chicago connections of the Pennsylvania Railroad—the Pittsburgh, Ft. Wayne & Chicago, and Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis—constitute in effect a double track to its Pittsburgh terminus. Among several new schemes, two merit notice here as making actual progress in construction: the Canada Southern, and the Baltimore, Pittsburgh & Chicago.
Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Map
Baltimore, Pittsburgh & Chicago.—The Baltimore & Ohio company have entered the field for Chicago at a rather late day, and have proceeded very slowly since this extension of their line was proposed ; but, through all, this very important enterprise has made progress in a very legitimate way. Since this article was begun, the scheme has become so far a fixed fact, that advertisements for contracts of a large portion of the line in Ohio have been published. The line is, geograph ically, an extension of the Pittsburgh, Baltimore & Washington (originally Pittsburgh & Connellsville), a tributary line of the Baltimore & Ohio, completed about one year ago. It is the purpose to build a line from a point on this road forty-five miles east of Pittsburgh to Wheeling ; thence using for the present one hundred and ninety-five miles of the Lake. Erie Division of the Baltimore & Ohio to Havana, twenty-two miles south of Sandusky; thence nearly west to Defiance, about one hundred miles; thence to Chicago, about one hundred and sixty-three miles further—the route from Havana lying about midway between those of the Fort Wayne and Lake Shore Roads.
The Canada Southern.—The capitalists building this line, under separate organizations in Canada and the United States, propose a very direct, low-grade route, laid throughout with steel rails from Buffalo (over the International bridge, to be completed this season), along the north shore of Lake Erie; crossing the Detroit river below Detroit, and running thence as directly as possible to Chicago, with branch lines to Toledo and Detroit. Besides the present eastern connection of the road at Buffalo, it looks, no doubt, to a connection east, along the south shore of Lake Ontario. Such a line would connect with the New York Midland at Oswego, and doubtless with the proposed West Shore (of the Hudson) & Chicago Road. The Canada Southern is building chiefly by parties owning the Rock Island and North Western Roads.
The Canada Roads.—In this connection should be noted the change of gauge, within the past two years, of the Great Western of Canada, to the standard of connecting roads, and the construction, now in progress by that company, of a direct, low-grade line, laid with steel rails to Buffalo; also the proposed reduction of the gauge of the Grand Trunk Line from Sarnia east, and the project for a line across Michigan from Chicago to connect with the Grand Trunk.
Chicago & Canada Southern Map