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The Great Road: The Building of the Baltimore and Ohio, the Nation's First Railroad, 1828-1853

Dilts, James D.

2 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0804722358 / ISBN 13: 9780804722353
Published by Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA, 1993
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Pride and Prejudice-Books (Ballston Lake, NY, U.S.A.)

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First Edition. Original green cloth. Near Fine in Near Fine Dust Jacket with one tiny edge tear. Bookseller Inventory # 020625

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Great Road: The Building of the ...

Publisher: Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA

Publication Date: 1993

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

This masterful, richly illustrated account of the planning and building of the most important and influential early American railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio, is an essential contribution not only to railyway history but also to the broader history of the development of the United States in the first half of the nineteenth century.

There was no precedent for the building of the B&O. The construction of the 380-mile line from Baltimore to the Ohio River over a period of 25 years is an epic story of astute planning and innovative engineering that overcame many formidable obstacles, notably the arduous traversing of 200 miles of mountain wilderness. Its successful inauguration provided a spur to internal improvements throughout the United States. Railroads, and certainly the B&O, epitomized progress, not only in the development and extension of the Western frontier but in the revelation that personal travel and the delivery of freight could be dramatically faster, better, and cheaper.

The railroad deeply affected the development of Baltimore's port, industry, and urban geography, as well as its financial, educational, and cultural institutions. George Peabody, Enoch Pratt, William Walters, and Johns Hopkins―the city's most prominent philanthropists―were involved with the B&O, some intimately; the Johns Hopkins University was founded on B&O Railroad stock. The B&O also contributed by aiding in the growth of the state's iron and coal industries.

The B&O came to be called "the Railroad University of the United States." Its civil engineers formed the core of the railroad engineering profession in America. The company's annual reports during the building of the line were, according to the American Railroad Journal in 1835, "a textbook and their road and workshops have been as a lecture room to thousands."

Throughout, the author highlights the many types of men who were involved in that history: promoters, financiers, politicians, lawyers, newspaper editors, fixers and bagmen, civil engineers, inventors and mechanics, foremen, contractors, and feuding Irish laborers, who together built the first long-distance, general-purpose railroad in the United States.

The book is illustrated with 80 photographs and drawings and 5 maps.

From the Back Cover:

“A comprehensive account of the legendary B&O. . . . Dilts recounts all aspects of surveying, civil engineering, steam locomotion, and labor. . . . Anchored in sober fact, adorned by 80 photos of people, bridges, and tunnels, this is a railroad history that can’t be bested in its special arena. —Booklist
“Dilts has immortalized himself by writing the definitive history of the construction of the B&O. . . . The Great Road is a masterful scholarly work and a delight to read. It has something for everyone, from high finance and dirty politics to thrilling accounts of labor riots and wrecks.”—Railroad History

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