Railroads in the Heartland

Railroads in the Heartland

Steam and Traction in the Golden Age of Postcards

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192 pages, 129 photos

“Roger Grant has utilized more than a hundred picture postcards in an innovative and effective way to elucidate and analyze the age of railways in the Midwest.”—Don L. Hofsommer

“Steam railroads and electric interurbans contributed greatly to the agricultural and industrial development of the Middle West. These clearly labeled pictures of tracks, signals, towers, bridges, depots, and docks accurately reflect the most important railroad functions. Roger Grant's well-rounded text authoritatively summarizes historical developments.”—William S. Greever

Historians of midwestern railroading during the early part of the twentieth century have generally focused on the production of railroad company histories while ignoring the regional view. Fortunately for railway historians and buffs, coincidentally with the zenith of the Railway Age, the national fad for producing and mailing postcards was at its height. Millions of cards, including "real-photo" images, were produced between 1905 and 1915. Roger Grant has selected more than a hundred representative picture postcards to visualize the principal themes and characteristics that gave this dynamic industry its distinctive regional features.

By the turn of the century, the railroad map of the Midwest was unequaled. Anyone who examined it carefully sensed that this was the vital center of America's massive network of steel rails. Depots erected in the western prairie environment were spartan, with only minor decoration, but those in the Midwest usually mirrored more ornate New England styles. These features are often reflected in the images in this heavily illustrated book, which depicts the spare but strong pioneering spirit of the enterprise.

Table of contents: 



Railroads in the Midwest

The Steam Roads

The Electric Roads

The Railroad Landscape

Facilities: Depots

Other Railroad Facilities

People and the Iron Horse

Electric Interurbans

Selected Bibliography