Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

CONTENTS

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pp. v-vi

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Preface

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pp. vii-viii

From successive generations of Americans the railroad has exacted an almost universal fascination. It is not difficult to understand why this has been so. Prime mover in the civilization of a continent and the building of a nation, and, in its time, the indispensable mover of goods and purveyor of personal transportation, the railroad wove a net of steel rails that bound America together and brought a breath of far and fascinating places to the most commonplace of lives. Touching every life, the railroad could not be ignored....

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

My name is on the cover of this book, but it’s there because a whole army of helpful people made it possible. Many other authors have said this, but it is as true as ever: I could not have done it without them.
My thanks go first to Thomas G. Hoback, founder of the Indiana Rail Road (INRD), who conceived the idea of a book on the Indianapolis Union (IU) and the Belt and sponsored my efforts. He also showed admirable patience during a long research and...

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Introduction

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pp. xi-xiv

This book discusses the development of the steam railroads of Indianapolis and how they affected the urban form and character of the city, but the focus is on the two smallest ones: the Indianapolis Union Railway and the Indianapolis Belt Railroad. A basic resource for any railroad historian is The Official Guide of the Railways and Steam Navigation Lines of the United States, Porto Rico, Canada, Mexico, and Cuba. That being something of...

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1. Early Indianapolis: Settling “The West”

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pp. 1-18

Before the United States achieved independence from England, the lands west of the Appalachian Mountains were largely unknown, but with the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783 constraints upon westward expansion were gone and land-hungry easterners began to move. For many of them, the new United States, which had recently been thirteen British colonies, was simply too crowded, but another imperative was also at work: the promise that a free society and a vast land would offer wealth...

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2. The Railroad Arrives: A New Travel Technology

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pp. 19-50

Technological change comes so quickly today that each new advance—in flight, medicine, automobile design, computers, any of a thousand things—often elicits little response. We are conditioned to expect the Next Big Thing and, when it arrives, we are already waiting for Version 2.0. So it may be difficult to imagine the effect the railroad had on Americans in the era before the Civil War. The low friction and high load-carrying capacity...

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3. The Union

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pp. 51-120

On any given day, Indianapolis International Airport is a bustling scene of cars, buses, vans, taxis, arriving and departing flights, and crowds of people. Inside the terminal, ticket agents serve lines of passengers, baggage is tagged and sent on its way, and waiting areas are full of travelers. Now imagine that same activity transported to Indianapolis Union Station in the heart of downtown Indianapolis and backdated some eight or nine...

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4. The Belt: Another New Idea

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pp. 121-184

The Union Tracks built as part of the Union Depot project carried passenger and freight trains as well as local switching moves; in the early years they were more than adequate for the traffic they carried. The tracks enabled interchange of cars between railroads, and for shipments originating or terminating in downtown Indianapolis the railroads built freight houses and spur tracks.1 It would not be long, however, before the Union Tracks became too crowded....

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5. The City and Its Railroads

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pp. 185-218

W. R. Holloway’s history described the railroad as spurring Indianapolis to mature, causing “a change of features, of form, a suggestion of manhood, a trace of the beard, . . . of virility. . . . Everyone felt the impulse . . . of prosperity.”1 He was right, if a bit florid: urban maturity meant having railroad service. And for larger cities with multiple rail lines, the real rite of passage was a union station, a gateway to the city, a stepping-stone to...

Bibliography

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pp. 219-222

Index

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pp. 223-234