Development of the Railroads

Though the actual construction and operation of railroads did not take place until after Wisconsin became a state, railroads were one of the most widely discussed subjects among territorial officials and businessmen. Seeking to connect the lead mines of the southwest with ships on Lake Michigan, the legislative council of Michigan petitioned Congress to make an appropriation to survey a proposed line from the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan. Settlements along the Mississippi River competed to be named the western terminus, while Milwaukee fought back competitors from Sheboygan, Green Bay, Racine, Southport, and even Chicago.

In the fall of 1836,... more...

Original Documents and Other Primary Sources

Link to article: A man recollects the development of the La Crosse and Milwaukee RailroadA man recollects the development of the La Crosse and Milwaukee Railroad
Link to book: Descriptions of Wisconsin disasters and catastrophes, 1848-1948Descriptions of Wisconsin disasters and catastrophes, 1848-1948
Link to book: A guide to the origins and evolution of Wisconsin's railroads.A guide to the origins and evolution of Wisconsin's railroads.
Link to book: Folklore and folktales collected by Charles E. BrownFolklore and folktales collected by Charles E. Brown
Link to book: A travel guide to healthful resorts in the upper Midwest, 1875A travel guide to healthful resorts in the upper Midwest, 1875
Link to book: A concise history of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad to 1899A concise history of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad to 1899
Link to images: 500 historic pictures of trains and railroads500 historic pictures of trains and railroads
Link to images: An Austrian painter depicts Wisconsin in the 1850sAn Austrian painter depicts Wisconsin in the 1850s
Link to manuscript: The 1857 diary of railroad surveyor Andrew M. Davis.The 1857 diary of railroad surveyor Andrew M. Davis.
Link to manuscript: An Austrian painter describes sketches made while traveling Wisconsin, 1856-1860An Austrian painter describes sketches made while traveling Wisconsin, 1856-1860
Link to manuscript: Milwaukee residents urge citizens to support railroads in 1857Milwaukee residents urge citizens to support railroads in 1857
Link to manuscript: A German immigrant describes coming to Wisconsin.A German immigrant describes coming to Wisconsin.
Link to map: The first railroad lines are advertised on a map.The first railroad lines are advertised on a map.
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