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by David Leider




 
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The Wisconsin Central in Illinois

270 Pages
49 Maps
90 Photographs


To many, the far eastern end of the Wisconsin Central is somewhat of a mystery. This book documents building to Chicago and the men who did it. Telling this story must include what was happening not only in Milwaukee and Chicago, but also in the great banking centers of New York and Boston. It took money to build a railroad; how it was financed was just as important as the actual construction.


Of course the story did not end after the final spike was driven. I have attempted to show the various factors that affected the Chicago extension, both internal and external. How it entered Chicago, the problems it faced and how they were resolved is a fascinating story of turn of the century railroading


The influence of the Northern Pacific was always present. In fact the WC was originally conceived as a link for NP traffic to the east. This would come to fruition once the Chicago extension was completed. The signing of the lease to the NP came with high expectations for the future. However, they were short-lived and the financial collapse of the NP not only pulled the WC down with it, but also the Chicago terminals.


It would take six years before the WC lines emerged from bankruptcy and were united. With new management and under the skillful hand of President Whitcomb the railroad enjoyed nearly a decade of prosperity before being swallowed by a Canadian Road.


The book is divided into two parts. Chapters 1-11 concentrate on the railroad, from its inception to its lease to the Soo Line (Canadian Pacific) in 1909. The final two chapters profile the railroad facilities for each town served, including bridges and milk stops. A short history is included for each, along with what traffic was generated.


Some of the maps are copies of original plat maps drawn when the railroad was built. Other maps are from journals and newspapers and have not been seen in over 100 years.

 
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Other books by the author: PICKLE and VINEGAR MAKERS of the MIDWEST