RailsandTrails.com - Texts - 1916 Pennsylvania Railroad Guide

Indianapolis to St. Louis

On the western outskirts of Indianapolis the St. Louis line crosses the west fork of the White River, the shallow stream flowing to the south, along whose banks the Delaware Indians waged bitter warfare around the year 1800. This tribe originally came from the Atlantic coast, where they are best known as the Lenni Lenape.

Between Indianapolis and Terre Haute many small towns and villages dot the hillsides and the little valleys. There is much coal land in this vicinity, and good farms under cultivation.

Greencastle, with a population of about 5,000, was one of the early settlements in Indiana, its history going back to 1822. To-day, it is a progressive city with extensive trade in lumber and tin plate. De Pauw University, which was founded in 1837 by the Methodist Episcopal Church, is located here.

Brazil is a junction with a short branch line running to Saline City on the south, and the Central Indiana Railway, a subsidiary company, extending to Muncie. There are very rich mines of block coal in the vicinity, as well as very extensive deposits of pottery clay, which are utilized in the production of tiles. Brazil has a population of 12,000.

Beyond Brazil one comes down into the valley of the Wabash River, which, during the early years of the nineteenth century, witnessed many bitter struggles between the Indians and the settlers who took up land in what was then the Northwest Territory.

Terre Haute, laid out as a city in 1816, and chartered in 1833, is one of the most prominent railroad and manufacturing centers in the Middle West. It lies in the midst of a rich agricultural region, and in the center of coal lands, comprising over 2,000 square miles. The Michigan Division extends northeastwardly from Terre Haute to Logansport and Toledo and the Peoria Division northwestwardly to Peoria.

With a population of 63,529, and industries embracing rolling mills, foundries, distilleries, breweries and flour mills, its streets are well laid out and many handsome public and private buildings lend an attractive atmosphere. The Indiana State Normal School, one of the leading educational institutions of the State, is located here.

Two miles and a half north of Terre Haute was the site of Fort Harrison, built by General William Henry Harrison, in October, 1811, as a part of the defenses in the campaign against Tecumseh. Here, Captain Zachary Taylor, afterwards President of the United States, with but fifteen men, withstood a fierce attack by Indians on September 3 and 4, 1812. The Wabash River is crossed just after leaving Terre Haute.

Six miles west of Terre Haute, just before reaching Liggett station, a large sign post set up in the midst of the farm lands on the left-hand side of the track, going west, marks the dividing line between Indiana and Illinois.

Farrington, just inside the borders of Illinois, is the junction point for the Peoria Division running northwest to Peoria. This line traverses the great corn belt of Illinois, one of the richest agricultural sections in the United States, passing through Decatur, where are located the largest corn mills in the country, and the James Milliken University.

Peoria, the center of the distilling district of Illinois and a thriving manufacturing city, with a population of 66,950, was the site of old Fort Crevecoeur, built by the early French invaders of the West under La Salle in 1680. George Rogers Clarke also built a fort here in 1783.

Nauvoo, lying on the Mississippi River midway between Keokuk and Burlington, the western termini of the Toledo, Peoria & Western Railway, a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania System, is noted as the first large settlement of the Mormon followers on their way to Utah.

En route to St. Louis, the line crosses the Embarras River, a mile or so east of the hill on which Greenup sits, and one comes a few miles further on to

Martinsville, interesting from the fact that it is the center of about twelve hundred acres of land on which the Ohio Oil Company maintains a "tank farm," which is always an object of interest to travelers by this line to St. Louis. For several miles on either side of the track are located 223 iron tanks, each numbered in large numerals. These tanks have a capacity of 35,000 barrels of oil each.

Teutopolis, is the seat of St. Joseph's Seraphic College, an educational institution for the training of young men for the Roman Catholic priesthood, founded in 1861, largely under the influence of a number of religious men who had been driven from Germany on account of persecution.

Effingham, prettily situated in a little group of hills, on either side of which run the two tributaries of the Little Wabash River, is the trading center for the extensive agricultural section extending for miles on both sides of the railroad. It is also the seat of Austin College.

As the trains speed west, the railroad crosses the Kaskaskia River, a winding stream rising almost in the middle of Illinois and flowing southward to empty into the Mississippi a little to the southeast of St. Louis.

This river shares with the Wabash reminiscent glory from the fact that its banks witnessed some of the most bitter struggles in the early settlement of the Middle West. About eighty miles to the southwest was the site of old Kaskaskia, captured from the British on the night of July 4, 1778, by General George Rogers Clark, which led to the establishment of the Northwest Territory in 1783. Kaskaskia for years after its settlement bv the French, in 1720, was known as "The Paris of the West."

Vandalia, one-time capital of Illinois, boasts of handsome residences and substantial business houses, and the old capitol buildings that, set back amongst stately trees, shelter the county officials, and are landmarks for the whole State.

The selection of Vandalia as the capital of the new State of Illinois, after its removal from Kaskaskia, is the subject of a well authenticated tale. The Board of Commissioners, appointed in 1819 to select sites, so the story runs, followed the Kaskaskia River back from the Mississippi until they came to the spot where now Vandalia sits. Here one of the party killed a deer and, with his fellow commissioners, stopped to cook and eat it. So delighted were the party with the surroundings at this particular spot that they decided the State House should be erected on the very ground where the deer had been slain. The State capital was removed to Springfield in 1839.

Beyond Vandalia, low, rounded hills dot the prairie land as far as the eye can reach, and the country is under good cultivation. This was once the habitat of the Kaskaskia, a tribe of Indians who are now practically extinct. It is more than probable that members of a prehistoric race also inhabited this section, for near

Collinsville station there may be plainly seen from the passing train two mounds, one on either side of the track, which are in a good state of preservation.

West from Collinsville, the railroad cuts through the bluffs that line the Mississippi River, and, finally, comes down alongside the "Father of Waters" just before the East St. Louis yards begin.

East St. Louis, on the Mississippi directly opposite St. Louis, with which it is connected by three bridges-the Eads, the Merchants, and the St. Louis bridge-is one of the busiest cities of its size in the United States. In addition to being the converging point for eighteen of the railroads entering St. Louis, which deliver their trains here to the Terminal Railroad running into the great Union Station across the river, it is one of the largest live-stock distribution centers in the United States, and the most important horse and mule market in the world. Its manufactories are extensive and produce a wide variety of goods.

St. Louis, the western terminus of the Southwest Division of the Pennsylvania System, with a population of 734,667, is the fourth city of the Union and the gateway to the Southwest, whose trade it controls in connection with Kansas City, its nearest rival for this supremacy. It ranks next to Chicago as a railroad center.

St. Louis was founded February 14, 1764, by a party of French under a 14-year-old boy named Auguste Chouteau, who had been sent from New Orleans by his step-father, Pierre Laclede Liguest, to establish a trading post. The little village was named in honor of Louis IX of France. Unknown to Louisiana province, France had already secretly ceded the entire territory west of the Mississippi to Spain, but the village continued French until formal possession was taken by Spain in 1770, when the population numbered some thirty-three whites and seventeen colored slaves. Spanish domination lasted until 1800, when by another secret treaty the vast Louisiana territory was secretly. ceded by Spain back to France, and sold in 1803 to the United States by Napoleon I. The formal transfer of authority from France to the United States over Upper Louisiana took place at St. Louis, March 9, 1804, and it was the centennial of this event which was celebrated by the World's Fair of 1904.

The population of St. Louis at the time of the Louisiana Purchase was about 1,000 whites and 300 slaves and free negroes, but settlers swarmed in soon after the change from foreign denomination; particularly Germans. To such an extent did the Germans count that they entirely overshadowed, in a few years, the original French settlers. The names of many streets, however, still show the French influence and domination, and King's Highway, an avenue destined to be one of the most beautiful streets of the city, is a relic of the broad highway originally laid out for the King of Spain from St. Louis to the village of New Madrid, hundreds of miles south.

St. Louis was a hot bed of contention during the Civil War, although no battles were fought in the city or near it. It was a base of supplies for the western troops and at Carondalet, now a part of the city, Captain James B. Eads built the first United States iron-clad gun boats which played so large a part in the Mississippi River campaign.

Although St. Louis was always a factor in trade between the East and West in connection with steamer and canoe trade on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, John Jacob Astor having located here as a fur trader as early as 1819, the extension of railroad lines west through Missouri to the Missouri River and thence over the plains, and the building of the Eads Bridge in 1874, bringing the eastern trunk lines across the river, gave the city its great commercial impetus. The Merchants Bridge, over which some of the Pennsylvania System trains cross the river, was built in 1890.

The value of St. Louis manufactures approximates $400,000,000. Prominent lines are dry goods, boots and shoes, street cars, beer, tobacco and cigars. In two lines-hardware and woodenware--it boasts the largest concerns in the world.

The city has a series of eighteen public parks, of which the four large parks--Forest, O'Fallon, Tower Grove, and Carondalet--are connected by a system of boulevards carried across Mill Creek Valley by a magnificent viaduct. The best known of the parks is Forest Park, where the Louisiana Purchase Exposition was held in 1904. In this park stand the granite buildings of Washington University, which were occupied as the executive offices of the Exposition staff during the World's Fair. There is also Shaw's Garden, where flowers and plants gathered from all parts of the world are grown and carefully tended.

Twenty-two lines of railway meet in Union Station, one of which is electric, and four of which extend both east and west of St. Louis. This station, standing on Market Street, between Eighteenth and Twentieth streets, covers thirteen and a half acres. Its spacious train shed covers thirty-two tracks each long enough to accommodate eleven car trains. There is also a hotel housed in the same building with the station proper.