Frank P. Donovan, a master of railroad history, was the first writer to provide a complete exploration of the major steam railroads that served Iowa. This collection of Donovan's essays, originally published during the 1950s and 1960s in the State Historical Society of Iowa's Palimpsest, describes the history of Hawkeye rails during the preceding three decades. Editor H. Roger Grant also includes details of Donovan's life, his research and activities in writing the essays, and his overall contributions to Hawkeye state railroad history.
What began as a study of the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway stretched into more than a dozen contributions on Hawkeye state railroad topics. By 1969 Donovan had examined Iowa's “Little Three”: Chicago Great Western, Illinois Central, and Minneapolis & St. Paul as well as the state's “Big Four”: Chicago & North Western; Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific; and Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific. In addition to these seven core carriers, Donovan covered the state's less prominent railroads: Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe; Great Northern; and Union Pacific and Wabash. Moreover, he contributed an issue on Iowa's principal interurbans, most of which survived into the 1950s as electric-powered freight-only short lines. In uniting Donovan's articles into a single volume, Iowa Railroads provides the most complete history of Iowa's rail heritage.
The Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway
The Chicago Great Western Railway
Interurbans in Iowa
The Illinois Central in Iowa
The North Western in Iowa
The Rock Island in Iowa
The Milwaukee in Iowa
The Wabash in Iowa
Great Northern—Union Pacific—Santa Fe
The Burlington in Iowa