Short History of American Railways Covering 10 decades SECOND edition By Slason

Short History of American Railways Covering 10 decades SECOND edition By Slason

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Short History of American Railways Covering 10 decades SECOND edition By Slason
 
Short History of American Railways Covering 10 decades SECOND edition By Slason Thompson 400 illustrations 1925 Hard Cover 473 Pages
WHEN the first edition of this short history was sent to press without the customary preface, it would seem that the second might follow similarly bereft. But since the favorable comment it evoked has almost universally been accompanied by the remark that it furnished a much needed chapter to the wondrous story of the republic, a few words may be added to emphasize the dereliction of American historians.
In Justin Winsor's monumental "Narrative and Critical History of America," neither in the indices to the eight quarto volumes nor the general index for the whole work does the word Railway appear. Other historians have not been so exclusive in their narratives but none of them has paid anything like proportionate attention, much less homage, to the one industry that has brought all other industries on this continent within trading distance of each other.
This omission probably accounts for President Coolidge's failure to recognize, in his noble memorial address at the Minnesota State Fair on June 8th last, the coincidence of the centennial there celebrated with the demonstration of steam and rail transportation on the Stockton & Darlington Railway, September 26, 1825. Until the railways came, the coming of the first shipload of Norse immigrants into New York in that year, so splendidly recounted by the President, would have been an insignificant event in the expansion of the republic. The landing of a ship's company of fifty-two souls who quickly found homes on the thickly wooded frontier of New York state was of small significance in the settlement of America until the rails came to carry them and their descendants and successors on to Illinois and later on to Minnesota and the Dakotas. Not until after 1840 was there a mile of railway in Illinois, and not until after 1860 was there a mile of railway in Minnesota or either of the Dakotas. As told in these pages, the first locomotive to reach St. Paul got there by boat in 1860; and immigration returns record that Norse immigration first assumed noteworthy proportions in the following decade.
Glancing over the printed, pages of this "Short History" the writer is conscious of how far it comes from filling the gaps in the general histories of the United States. As the reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle says, it merely "hits the high spots." The true history of American railways is to be found in the valleys-following the meandering rivers and rivulets and seeking the lowest grades across or through the intervening heights.
The American Railway Association might well devote a share of its activities to assembling the histories of its 200 Class I roads into a story of that "magnificent and wondrous adventure," the making of the railways of America, with at least one chapter given to the rescue of our Sister of the Snow from the long haul of the toboggan and the dog train.
In the following pages have been incorporated some forty-five corrections kindly pointed out by readers in response to the invitation on the flyleaf of the first edition. While the majority of these were palpable slips of the proof reader, one was in a material feature involving the substitution of a small cut of "Old Ironsides" for that of George Stephenson's "Planet" 1830. This was the more regrettable because the "Planet" was the real prototype of the early locomotives built in America. The interested reader can observe the resemblance in the cuts as they appear in this edition.
The reception of the "Short History" by the press, railway officials and the general public has been most gratifying.

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