RailsandTrails.com - Texts - 1916 Pennsylvania Railroad Guide

Indianapolis to Louisville

THE Louisville Division of the Pennsylvania System runs almost directly south from Indianapolis through a flat pastoral region, watered by the White River and its tributaries and shut off from the Ohio River by "The Knobs," a low-lying range of hills that stretch west from the valley of the White. The little stream, which the railroad crosses and recrosses many times between Franklin and Columbus, is Driftwood Creek, a tributary of the White River.

Columbus, the largest town in this part of Indiana, is the, headquarters for the farmers round about. It has a population of 12,000, and its manufactures are largely those used by tillers of the soil. From Columbus, a branch line extends to

Madison, a city of about 9,000, and an important steamer landing on the Ohio, as well as a manufacturing point. Madison, which was one of the early settlements, lies at the foot of the steep hill, which encloses the Ohio, and the railroad makes a very steep grade to get in and out of it.

Following the East Fork of the White River from Columbus south the railroad parts company with it near Rockford Station. Beyond Seymour one comes in sight of "The Knobs," and near Henryville is the Forest Reserve of the State of Indiana.

Jeffersonville, across the river from Louisville, with a population of 10,412, is a charming old town, with large manufacturing interests, chiefly in car shops.

Beyond Jeffersonville the railroad curves around to the southwest and crosses the Ohio on a long bridge, which was constructed after much tribulation by the sale of script issued by the State of Indiana.

Louisville, the terminus of the division and gateway to Kentucky for the Pennsylvania System, has a population of 235,114. It is the most important commercial city in the Blue Grass State, renowned for its fine horses and beautiful women.

Louisville goes back before the American Revolution. Captain Thomas Hutchins, of the British Engineers, first visited the Falls of the Ohio in 1766, when all this country was part of the territory of Virginia. His charming description of the beauty of the country induced Dr. John Connolly to locate 2,000 acres of land-to which he was entitled for military service in the French and Indian war--on the south side of the Ohio, at its falls. In 1774, he and Colonel John Campbell had the town laid out and advertised lots for sale, but no one bought on account of the Indian wars in the vicinity. Thus the town site sunk into oblivion.

George Rogers Clark brought some twenty immigrant families down the river with him when on his way to capture old Kaskaskia, and left them on an island in the river opposite Louisville in the early summer of 1778.

Here they stayed until Clark had captured the French forts farther west and put a stop to Indian marauding. Then they moved to the shore and Louisville became a town in fact as well as name.

Louisville, to-day, is the largest tobacco market in the world; and in the production of fine, old Bourbon whiskey its sixty-six distilleries produce many million gallons of the corn product every year. One of the three largest agricultural implement manufactories in the world--factories for the production of sole leather, corduroy, ????s, organs, wagons, boxes, flour, canned goods, soap, terra cotta, ????le, wooden ware, woolen goods, white lead and paints, and other commodities, make it one of the leading markets in the Middle West.