Where, when, and why were railroads first brought to Appalachia?
Brigham, Albert Perry, A.M. Port Washington: Kennikat, 1907. Print.
This book is about early railway and transportation development in Appalachia. The book goes over the location and process of various roads, canals, and railways in detail. Here are chapters on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the Pennsylvania Railroad, and the Cumberland Gap that were particularly useful. These were some of the first major railroads to touch Appalachia, and the Cumberland Gap is a very important pass through the Cumberland Mountains. The author describes the history and importance of each topic. Since this book was written in 1907 it is fairly dated; it refers to the skepticism surrounding the “flying machines” of the time. Even through the book is older, it is still a reliable source. It does not cover the complete time range I am looking at, because it was written in the middle of it. This book helps to give an opinion of the railroads from a time where the majority of them were still being created.
Burton, Mark L., Richard V. Hatcher, and Thomas Maraffa, eds. “Transportation.” Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Knoxville: U of Tennessee, 2006. 686+. Print.
The book is a complete encyclopedia of Appalachia. This book covers almost every aspect of Appalachia. The transportation section of this book has information about many forms of transportation in Appalachia, including railroads. There are sections on general railroad development as well as basic effects of railways in Appalachia. There is a brief but detailed history on various railways through the region. Some of these, such as the Baltimore and Ohio, The Pennsylvania, and the Charleston, Clinchfield, and Ohio Railways, are particularly relevant because they were some of the first to successfully build through the roughest parts of Appalachia. This book is packed full of information and was a good first source to provide a base of knowledge for this research.
Cootner, Paul H. “The Role of the Railroads in United States Economic Growth.” The Journal of Economic History 23.4 (11963): 477-521. JSTOR. Web. 04 Nov. 2016. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/2116211>.
This resource addresses the how railroads in the Unites States changed the economy. This source was harder to understand and dense with economic jargon, but it was interesting and effective in dissecting the importance and purpose of railroads in the United States. The paper explores many complex theories in the context of railway development. This source helped to understand the impact of railroads on the Unites States as they came about. The paper was published in the Journal of Economic History and is a reliable scholarly resource.
“The Golden Age of American Railroading.” The University of Iowa Libraries: Exhibitions. The University of Iowa Libraries, n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2016.
This is an introductory resource to the overall arc of railroads in America. This source explains some contributing factors to the rise and fall of railroads in the U.S. The unions that we created by rail workers were mentioned and brief histories given. This source provided me a macro history of U.S. railroads that was much needed to contextualize more specific information. This source is published by the University of Iowa Libraries and provided an accurate description of railroad history in the United States from the beginning, through the most popular age for railroads, to the start of a decline in railroad activity.
“History of the Virginian Railway.” Princeton Railroad Museum. Princeton Railroad Museum, 31 Dec. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2016.
This resource helped me to expand on the knowledge I gathered from visiting the Virginia Museum of Transportation. It is a history of the Virginian Railway that includes information about the beginning stages of the railroad and the smaller companies that came together to form the full Virginian Railway. This resource focused more on the building of the railroad and the resistance it met. It was also useful in exploring this particular railway further. This page is published by the Princeton Railroad Museum in Princeton, West Virginia.
“Railroad Maps, 1828 to 1900.” The Library of Congress. Web. 20 Sept. 2016. <https://www.loc.gov/collection/railroad-maps-1828-to-1900/>
This source is the first source to consist of maps. This collection of maps consists of many maps created in the years between 1828 and 1900. Many of them have the early railway lines on them. Maps are a great source because they show where the railroads ran, and from there it can be seen where the rails ran into certain obstacles. These maps are all old and hand drawn. They are complex and confusing at first glance and take some time to comprehend and understand. Since this collection consists of many maps from different years during heavy railway development the changes and progress in the railroads can be seen through the series of maps.
“The Fabled Baltimore And Ohio Railroad, Linking Thirteen Great States With The Nation.” American-Rails.com. American-Rails.com, n.d. Web. 2 Nov. 2016.
This website was all about the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. This rail is worth learning about because it was the first common carrier rail and it had a tough route that cut through the mountains of northern West Virginia. This resource describes how the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was different from other railroads being constructed and it speaks to the challenges faced when building the railroad. American-Rail.com is a website that has pages of information for many different railways. Their information in thorough and they provide a Works Cited page for all the information on their website.
Virginia Museum of Transportation. 303 Norfolk Ave SW, Roanoke, VA 24016. 16 November 2016.
This museum is located in the old freight station in Roanoke, VA. They have many exhibits specific to railways, and lots of information relevant to the area. There was an exhibit on the Claytor brothers and their work on the Virginian Railway system. Part of the museum is a railyard where several old cars and engines sit on old, inactive railroad tracks. I believe everything in the museum to be accurate, but museums can thwart how things are seen by what they have available to display. This source was very useful in gathering information on the railroads specific to southwest Virginia.
Creative Portion – The Virginian Railway
As a culmination to my research on railroads in Appalachia I decided to present the route of a railway on a useable object that would been seen. Maps can hold a lot of information; even the creation of a map informs you that that area or subject is important to someone or something. With that in mind I stitched the route of the Virginian Railway with minimal geographic reference onto a tote bag. The red is the route of the railroad and the black around it outlines its namesake state, Virginia. On the bottom right I stitched the Virginian Railway logo.
I chose the Virginian Railway because it was the first railroad to cut across southern Virginia into Appalachia. This was the first railroad constructed for the purpose of moving coal within the region and out of it. This seemed particularly relevant to this class because it seems that whatever we discuss, we cannot avoid the topic of mining.
I chose to embroider the railway onto the bag because the Virginian Railway, and railways in general, are so utilitarian and powerful, I loved the juxtaposition with the softness of working with fiber. I kept the design simple to reflect the utilitarian ways of railroads. Little embellishment is needed, so little is given. The railway is red to make it stand out and make it the obvious focus in the center of the bag. The logo pulls the eye down and simply explains.
Looking forward it would be incredibly interesting to create a whole series of stitched railways on tote bags and possibly scarves. Many people have little sense for geography and the world around them at any scope. By placing map patterns and images on accessories that will be used and seen I hope to make someone stop and think about the greater space around them.