Railroad's for Michigan
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Michigan State University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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Chapter 1. The Pioneer Years, 1830–1855
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“I have no hesitation to say that it would be to the advantage of Government to remove every inhabitant of the Territory, pay for the improvements and reduce them to ashes. . . . From my observation the Territory appear[s] to be not worth defending and merely a den for Indians and traitors. The banks of the Detroit River are handsome, but nine-tenths...
Chapter 2. The Railroads Come of Age, 1855–1875
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By the middle of the nineteenth century the railroad was no longer a source of wonder or even a novelty. As more people rode trains, the railroad entered the flow of usual American life. This could not have been otherwise since no other form of land conveyance provided such speed, convenience, and affordability. There was no other...
Chapter 3. The Explosive Years, 1875–1897
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The booming prosperity that followed the end of the Civil War was brought to an abrupt stop by the financial panic of 1873. If one event has to be named as triggering the depression that followed, it was the collapse of the Philadelphia banking house of Jay Cooke on 18 September 1873. The effects rippled quickly through the country and soon grew...
Chapter 4. The Golden Years, 1897–1920
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Despite the severity of the short depression following the panic of 1895, the ebullience that preceded it could not be kept down for long and in fact soon reasserted itself. President Grover Cleveland, a Democrat with law-and-order attitudes who helped to break the Pullman strike in 1894, was blamed for the financial panic. The voters replaced him in...
Chapter 5. The Roaring Twenties, the Depression, and World War II, 1920–1945
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The “Roaring Twenties” of the 1920s and the “Great Depression” of the 1930s aptly describe the two decades following World War I. That these twenty years changed American society completely is an understatement. The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Amendments to the Constitution, which, respectively, instituted prohibition and granted the vote to...
Chapter 6. The Waning Years, 1945–1976
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World War II changed American society profoundly. The automobile became a necessity. A new house in the suburbs, new kinds of businesses, and the increased desire for higher education all characterized the postwar years, but are outside the scope of this work. The railroads turned to an overhaul of their physical plant after years of wartime...
Chapter 7. The Return of the Rails, 1976–2000
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When the nation’s bicentennial opened in 1976, the future of the American railroad business could not have seemed gloomier. The litter of bankrupt roads with historic names was everywhere. In Michigan the Ann Arbor; the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific; and Penn Central were in the bankruptcy courts. The Rock Island and the reincarnated Erie...
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This narrative relates the beginnings, growth, and maturity of a vital and fascinating Michigan industry that extends over nearly two centuries. I began writing this near the beginning of the new millennium, and with each passing year it becomes clearer that Michigan’s railroads have played an important, even critical, role...
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Publication Year: 2013