RailsandTrails.com - Texts - 1854 Ohio Railroad Guide


ROCKPORT, 7 miles from Cleveland, is the next station. We are now gradually descending the slope from the great plain of Ohio to the Lake. We approach Cleveland through a deep ravine, into the valley of the Cuyahoga, and find our depot nearly down to the level of the Lake-and in the midst of the shipping and bustle of what seems to be a seaport.

Accompanying this, is a plate of the Depot Buildings, Pier, and Harbor of Cleveland. The depot here is a very bustling place--crowded with multitudes of cars, and draymen, hackmen, porters, steam boat runners, &c., innumerable. Let the traveler take care of himself; for, although the railways and their officers and agents, are all systematic and orderly; yet in such a crowd there is abundant need of the caution which we see posted up, "BEWARE of PICKPOCKETS."

CLEVELAND, 253 miles from Cincinnati, and (via the Erie Railroad,) 602 miles from New York, is called the Forest City-and most appropriately, too; for nearly all the streets are shaded with beautiful trees. Cleveland is the second town in Ohio, and one of the most flourishing in the United States. Including Ohio City, its growth has been thus, viz

In 1825, 500

In 1830, 1,000

In 1835, 5;000

In 1840, 6,071

In 1845, 12,000

In 1850, 22,000

In 1854, (estimated) 37,000

Including Ohio City--separated only by the Cuyahoga--and with which it is now united-it is the twenty-second town in magnitude in the United States. It was founded by General MOSES CLEVELAND, in 1796, and named after him. For nearly thirty years, till 1825-when the canal got into full operation--Cleveland was only a small, straggling village--beset with sickness, and consequently a bad name. In the uncultivated state of the country and while the banks of the Cuyahoga were yet overhung with decaying vegetation--fevers infected the inhabitants, and the place was shunned by the immigrant. When the Ohio canal was completed, the business temptations to settle at Cleveland, were too great to be resisted. Vegetation became less luxuriant, and gradually the town recovered from both the fact and the fame of fever. After 1830, (as the above figures show), the town rapidly grew. Its advantages for business are very great-being the outlet of the Ohio canal, and the best harbor on Lake Erie, within an hundred miles. The canal brought to it the vast export trade of Northern Ohio-especially of the great wheat counties, and for the same reason, it became an entrepot of imported goods. This gave it the first impulse. Then came the era of railways; and Cleveland was one of the first western towns to foresee and take advantage of the new system of commerce and locomotion. So it received a second great impulse, and is now growing with great rapidity. In 1860, it will, in all probability, have some 60 or 70,000 inhabitants, and will have surpassed all but some fifteen or sixteen cities of the United States.

In order to give some idea of its commercial importance, I annex some statistics of its exports and imports--which, dry as they are, may nevertheless interest the mercantile traveler. The reports of the Board of Public Works, in Ohio, enable us to see how much of strictly Ohio products arrive at this port; though even this will be incomplete; for of course much is brought by railway. The report gives the arrival of the following articles, at Cleveland, by canal, for 1853, viz:

Flour, 589,466 bbls.

Wheat, 1,817,677 bushels.

Pork, 12,198 bbls.

Whisky, 39,807 “

Bacon, 1,160,624 lbs.

Butter, 1,844,554 “

Cheese, 1,178,525 “

Wool, 1,200,903 “

Iron of all kinds, 9,700 tons.

Coal 4,969,174 bushels.

These, with numerous other minor articles received and handled at Cleveland, of the produce of Ohio, make up lea millions of dollars in value; while the products of other States, and of foreign growth received here, amount to many millions more. There is room, therefore, for an extensive commerce--and as we look into the Harbor, we shall see steamers, schooners, propellers, canal boats, in every direction. Scarcely a moment passes, that there is not some sail vessel, or some smoking steamer arriving or departing. In fact, Cleveland has both the elements and the appearance of a commercial seaport; and one, which is yet in the very youth of its growth and vigor. All is activity and bustle. All is newness, freshness, and the springing elasticity of conscious strength.

Let us turn now to its RAILROADS, which are hereafter to constitute one of the main elements of its prosperity. We have now traveled 252 miles on the line from Cincinnati. This line was originally constructed by three companies-the Little Miami, the Xenia and Columbus, and the Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus. The interests of the two former have been united; and now the whole line is run by two companies, meeting in Columbus. The railways at present concentrating in Cleveland, are
The Cleveland and Cincinnati Line
252 miles.
The Cleveland and Erie Line
95 "
The Cleveland and Toledo Line, (northern division,)
60 "
(southern division,)
88 "
The Cleveland and Pittsburgh Line
99 "
The Cleveland and Zanesville Line
104 miles.
To Cleveland, proper
698 "

The last line is only completed in part; but the whole is in course of construction. By these several railways, connections are made between Cleveland, and almost every important point in the United States. The following are the principal railway routes, as formed by these connections, viz:

To New York, via Erie and Dunkirk 602 miles.

To Cincinnati, 252

To St. Louis, via Toledo, Chicago, and Alton 631

To Baltimore, via Pittsburgh 492

To Philadelphia, via Pittsburgh and Harrisburgh 480

To Washington City, via Baltimore 516

To Boston, via Albany 684

From each of these cities, again, there are connections with all the principal interior towns; so that, from Cleveland the traveler may find his way, in a very short time, to any point his business or pleasure may lead him. Cincinnati may be reached in nine hours; Philadelphia, New York and Baltimore in 24 hours. How wonderfully everything has changed ina very few years! I remember when it took a week to go from Cleveland to Cincinnati, and that, too, a week of hard work!

The united effects of large commerce-of rapid and cheap locomotion--of a healthy, tonic air--of an industrious people, and a moral and religious tone of society, are the building up of Cleveland, not only in property, but in a beautiful and attractive form. If the traveler has time to walk about, and take a view of the upper town, he will find Cleveland one of the most charming places in this country. We have approached it-as railways always do large towns-in a most unattractive way, and looked only at the ravine and low valley of the Cuyahoga, with its untidy and unarchitectural buildings. But not so Cleveland on the hill. The broad and regular streets, shaded with lofty trees-the blocks of fine buildings-the neat private residences-the numerous churches, schools and seminaries--the large public square, with its walks and avenues-the glorious look-out on the Lake-all conspire to please and charm the stranger. The SCENERY of Cleveland is lovely; and yet it is without mountain, rock or torrent. It is the beautiful, without the sublime.