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The Importance of the Railroads

Pocket map
The Tourist's Pocket Map, published in 1839, shows a fleshed out Indiana with proposed railways, canals and most of its counties formed. Click to see the full-size image.

As we are approaching the first stop of our Indiana Bicentennial Train this week, I am reminded how railroads were such an integral part of immigration. 

The railroads’ heyday in Indiana started in the 1840s and lasted through the 1860s. It was the construction of the railroads that brought some of our ancestors to Indiana to build the tracks. It was the train engines and cars on those railroads that physically brought some of our ancestors to Indiana. 

For many of our forefathers, the railroad was the only reason they settled in Indiana. It may have been for a job, because of a trade, because Indiana was as far as their money would bring them, or even because it looked like a nice place to stop.

It is nice to think about how important railroads were to the immigration of our ancestors while we are preparing to welcome thousands of people to the four stops on our Bicentennial Train this year. If you are in one of the towns we are visiting, come visit!  You too can ponder the wonder of railroad travel while celebrating our Hoosier heritage.


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