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Memoirs of the Miami Valley - Volume One

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            IT is a far cry from the winding trails of the Indian along the high ridges of the Miami country to the swift-winged aeroplane of the twentieth century, yet it remained for this rich valley whose early commercial development was so greatly retarded by inadequate transportation facilities to give to the world that almost unbelievable invention which became the eyes of the armies in the great world war, and which is being rapidly developed into commercial possibilities. It was just about the beginning of the nineteenth century when a sufficient number of early settlers had occupied land in the Miami country to make the question of disposition of their surplus agricultural products and modest requirements one involving the problem of transportation.

            The founding of Columbia and Losantiville, afterward Cincinnati, formed the nucleus of the fifth community district of the Ohio valley, and with the first budding of commercial opportunity came the pioneer merchants with the then luxuries of groceries, dry goods, tobacco and whiskey. As these were exchanged for agricultural products and furs and skins, the more adventurous farmers and trappers who had broken farther into the forest, made their way by blazed trails and Ihdian and buffalo paths to the river settlement in order to barter their products for those imported from the east. The stocks of these pioneer merchants were chiefly bought in Baltimore and Philadelphia, and transported in the specially built wagons of those days to Pittsburg, at a cost of from $5 to $8 per hundred weight. The goods were then loaded into keel-boats and floated and poled down the Ohio to Cincinnati. These keel-boats were long and narrow, constructed with a view of navigating the swift waters of the river, and of being poled in shallow places, or towed by hand from paths along the bank. A more pretentious type, known as a barge, was from 75 to 100 feet long, and from 15 to 20 feet wide, carrying from fifty to one hundred tons. Some of them were equipped with masts and sails, and carried as high as sixty men to ply the oars, and were capable of making as high as fifteen miles a day against the current. About two trips a year were made by each boat between Pittsburg and New Orleans. About 1800 the sailing barge reached a state of development which permitted operation with greatly reduced crews to between from $5 and $6 a ton between Cincinnati and New Orleans, thereby greatly stimulating the exports from the valley.

            It was by means of this type of boats that the merchandise from the east, dragged so laboriously over the mountains, completed its journey to Cincinnati, if, indeed, that journey were ever completed. It was not unfraught with danger, both to the crew and cargo, for frequently the merchant purchased his own boat, and, being (page 157) unfamiliar with the shoals and rapids, lost his property or even his life, on the journey. If successful, the trip required about twenty days.

            Safely arrived, the goods might be placed on sale in the frontier stores to await the incoming customers, but the more ambitious. found it necessary to seek out the settlements, then forming, further up the valleys of the Miamis. As the trails were only wide enough for a man to advance single file, carrying limited supplies upon his back, crude roadways were soon broken through in order that the goods might be hauled to the new communities. At this point advertisements would be sent out and traders invited to ride or walk in to inspect them. While the volume of barter was greater than that of sale, and the early flow of commerce set in for both import and export, the provisioning of the army engaged in Indian warfare furnished a profitable source of business, and the passage of the troops led to a considerable improvement of the roadways. Nevertheless there was but little development along this line, and the expansion of commerce in the Miami country was materially retarded by the inaccessibility of interior points, which could only be reached by loaded wagons under the most favorable weather conditions. The economic demands of the new territory were such, however, that these avenues of transportation gradually took the form of a system. Five thoroughfares radiating from Cincinnati were fairly well developed before 1809. One of these led to Lebanon; another through Hamilton and Franklin to Dayton ; with laterals branching out through the Miami valleys. At Dayton connection was made for Springfield, Urbana and Piqua, and branches from Hamilton extended eastwardly through Lebanon to Chillicothe, joining the Zane Trace, which in turn extended through Lancaster and Zanesville to Wheeling. Another branch from Hamilton reached Eaton. Up the river through Columbia a roadway extended through Williamsburg, Newmarket and Bainbridge to Chillicothe, and another to the west followed the river to Cleves. A fifth passed through the blue grass region to Lexington.

            During the process of the evolution of these highways, access was found to some of the more northern points of the Miami valley region by keel-boats passing up the Great Miami, and floating back with a return cargo. The treacherous and rocky character of this stream made the undertaking one of difficulty, but it appears that a considerable amount of produce was shipped in this way, sometimes continuing down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans. Flour, bacon, whisky, pelts and venison were the. principal commodities shipped over this route. In the meantime river transportation had improved and, with the influx of settlers, better types of boats were put into commission. A packet line was established between Pittsburg and Cincinnati, making the trip every two weeks. The boats were armored in a crude way, and equipped with small cannon, in addition to rifles and muskets as a protection against Indians.

            The difficulty of up-river transportation soon began to popularize travel by land, and the road from Wheeling to Maysville laid out by Ebenezer Zane, as well as that through Chillicothe, became more and more frequented by parties from the east.

            (page 158) The War of 1812 impressed upon the nation the necessity for military roads to take the place of the rough highways which were passable only at certain seasons, and the Miami country came in for its share of a pioneer good roads movement, which spread throughout the east and penetrated more slowly into the west. Many maps were made and many turnpikes proposed, but little was actually accomplished until more than a decade later.

            That historic highway, the Old National road, was extended into Ohio in 1825 and did not reach Springfield until 1837, connecting the northern section of the Miami valley with the eastern states and ultimately through Indiana to the west. However, in the decade beginning 1830 macadamized turnpikes multiplied with great rapidity. The most important of these were the Cincinnati and Hamilton turnpike, twenty-five miles in length, the Harrison turnpike, twenty miles, the Lebanon and Springfield turnpike, forty miles, the Cincinnati and Wooster turnpike, twenty miles, and the Covington and Lexington turnpike, eighty miles in length. These were completed or well under way in 1840, and, together with the subsidiary or lateral roads made seventeen turnpikes interlacing the Miami valley and leading directly or indirectly into Cincinnati. From the earliest days the comparatively lower cost of water borne traffic was very apparent, and as early as 1815 Dr. Daniel Drake launched a campaign for the construction of a system of canals in Ohio. In 1819

            Governor Brown took official notice of the movement, and in 1822 the legislature authorized a preliminary survey which led, three years later, to the authorization of the construction of the Ohio and Miami canals.

            The latter exercised a most important influence upon the development of the Miami valley, knitting into it a community of interests and solidarity that was destined to become enduring. Built at a time when the roadways of this section were in a deplorable condition, it offered an opportunity for expansion which the Miami territory so badly needed. The canal commenced near the mouth of the Mad river at Dayton, descending the Miami valley through the villages of Miamisburg, Franklin, Middletown and Hamilton. From this point it followed the course of Mill creek to Cincinnati. The length of the canal from Dayton to Cincinnati was 67 miles, and it was completed in 1828. Later, the canal was extended to Piqua, and in the latter part of the 40's continued to the junction of the Auglaize and Maumee rivers, whence it continued to Lake Erie under the name of the Wabash canal.

            The canal earned $8,507 in tolls, and ten years later its income amounted to $81,431. All kinds of products were transported over it, and a thriving passenger business conducted between Cincinnati and Dayton, and to some extent to northern points. In 1840 the governor of the state pointed with pride to the fact that the Miami canal had netted in excess of 6 per cent on the total cost of construction. This cost was upward of a million dollars for the section between Cincinnati and Dayton'. The success of the Miami canal soon led to a movement for the construction of the Whitewater canal to connect Cincinnati with the Whitewater canal of Indiana, which was originally planned to extend from Cambridge City, on the (page 159) National road, to Lawrenceburg on the Ohio, and of which forty miles had already been completed. This connection was made at Harrison on the Ohio state line about twenty-five miles from Cincinnati. It was confidently predicted by Historian Cist that "this canal will likewise be navigable during a greater portion of the year than that of any other canal in the state ; it being situated at the base of a hill which has southern exposure, and it will not only receive the direct rays of the sun, but will also have the benefit of its reflected rays from the sides of the hills, as well as from the water from the rivers running along parallel with the canal. This will make a difference of from two to three weeks in the time of opening this canal in the spring."

            The construction of this canal proved to be an expensive undertaking, costing $800,000, of which the state of Ohio subscribed $150,000, the city of Cincinnati $400,000, private individuals $90,000, the balance being raised by certificates and bonds issued by the company. It passed over two wooden aqueducts, a freestone arch and through a 1,900-foot tunnel. The first boat reached the city in 1843.

            Heavy damages by floods seriously interfered with the success of the undertaking, and in later years it was finally abandoned, and the terminal at Cincinnati converted into an entrance for steam railroads.

            The Miami canal was more prosperous, and the collection of $315,103 in tolls in 1850 moved the same historian to say: "As will be seen, our railroad facilities have not, thus far, reduced, nor are they ever expected to reduce materially or even relatively the canal business of Cincinnati and vicinity." It is interesting to note that Cist, in the next edition of his sketches and statistics of Cincinnati, published eight years later, makes no reference to the canals or in fact to any other kind of transportation than steam railroads. It is nevertheless a tribute to the energy and resources of the Miami valley that the Miami canal at all times showed more vitality than any other artificial waterway in the state. It was laid out carefully to follow closely rivers and other sources of water supply. The first spadeful of dirt was excavated by Governor DeWitt Clinton of New York, the father of internal waterway improvements in this country, by whose efforts the Erie canal in New York state had just been completed. There were bands of music, companies of soldiers, and orators from all parts of the United States. The ceremonies took place at the Doty lock, then about a half a mile below the village of Middletown, and now within the corporate limits of that city. Although a tablet was imbedded in the stonework when the Doty lock was completed commemorating the ceremonies, it, like the canal system of the state, has been neglected and its inscription is totally illegible.

            The first boat passed up the canal in May, 1827, and was known as Packet No. 1, Farmers' and Merchants' line. P. A. Sprigman was its master, and it was announced that regular trips would be made between Cincinnati and Middletown. An example of one of the effects of building this canal, and indeed one that is strikingly typical of the effect of transportation upon community building, is found in the experience of Jacksonboro, a town in Butler county. Prior (page 160) to 1825 the principal highway of this section extended through Hamilton from Cincinnati to Jacksonboro. As a result of its being the terminal the town grew rapidly and was soon the second in size in the county. Middletown was an isolated country village without good road connections and most of its people did their trading in Jacksonboro. With the building of the canal, Middletown became prosperous and grew rapidly, while Jacksonboro shrunk in proportion, until today its population is smaller than it was in 1825, and Middletown ranks as the second city in the county. With the building of the railroads through the valley the importance of the canal diminished, since its capacity was limited and the competition of the steam lines very vigorous. Finally, in the late 60's, that portion of it in Cincinnati south of Broadway was abandoned, and Eggleston avenue constructed, the water being turned into a sewer near Eighth street, and emptied into the river. Later, like the Whitewater canal, its terminal was leased to a steam railroad.

            Unlike the Whitewater, however, the vitality of this public work was not destroyed, and business continued to be done in a sufficient amount to justify the state in keeping it in operation. It is interesting to note that one of the forces most potent in preventing its abandonment was the C. H. & D. railroad, which had contributed so largely to destroying its business. This was not done in any spirit of affection or foresight into the future development of waterway transportation, but because competing lines of steam roads were looking with covetous eyes upon this right of way which led through so many prosperous towns of the Miami valley and into the very heart of Cincinnati. In no small degree due to this influence canal associations were formed, resulting in an education of the people as to the potential value of the canal. Finally the United States Government became interested in the preservation and expansion of the waterway. In 1894 an act of Congress was passed directing the secretary of war to appoint a board of three army engineers to survey the Miami and Erie canal and the Ohio canal, with branches, rivers, etc., as might in their judgment form a continuous canal connecting Lake Erie with the Ohio river, through the state of Ohio. This board was directed to report upon the feasibility of improving and widening such canal to seventy feet, with a depth of seven feet. Great interest was taken in commercial circles and every opportunity was given to the commission, headed by Major Chittenden, to carry out its work. The Chittenden report recommended the Miami and Erie canal as the most feasible and produced statistics to prove its commercial value when completed. The report, however, held that the proposed depth of seven feet was entirely inadequate, since it would restrict the benefits to intra-state commerce. A sufficient water supply was available, it said, for a ten-foot canal during the dry season, which was not true of any other route in the state. In his report, Major Chittenden says that the size and type of boat to be used will be fixed by the maximum draft possible on the Ohio river, and the minimum draft capable of navigation on the lakes. Naturally this will control the character and capacity of the canal, as it is assumed that whenever the work of uniting these two (page 161)  important systems of inland navigation is undertaken, it will be upon a comprehensive scale designed to render the ports of both systems accessible to a single type of boat. Such boats of not less than eight or nine feet draft could operate by way of the Erie canal, Lake Erie, the Miami and Erie canal, and the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, from the Atlantic seaboard to the gulf. The possibility of being traversed by such a highway of commerce produced much enthusiasm in the Miami valley, but only disappointment followed, as no practical steps were taken to complete the improvement. In the meantime, having successfully resisted the schemes of steam and interurban railway promoters to seize its right of way for a roadbed, the Miami and Erie canal entered upon a new phase of its tempestuous career. A company was formed for the purpose of towing canalboats by means of an "electric mule" operated on tracks along the towpath. The suspicion that the real purpose of this company was to gain possession of the canal property for interurban railway purposes aroused the most vigorous opposition on the part of the waterway advocates. It was insufficient, however, to prevent the passage of enabling legislation and the execution of a lease between the state and the electric mule company. The roadbed was graded, tracks laid, and apparently everything in readiness for operation, but the continued agitation of the opponents, the most active among whom were the owners of water right leases, together with the publication of the names of the stockholders, including the names of many persons prominent either directly' or indirectly with the passage of the enabling act, interfered with the financing of the project or the carrying out of its plans, whatever they may have been. The company disappeared and the rails, ties, and other equipment disintegrated on the banks of the canal. That portion of the canal property lying within the city limits has now been turned over to the city of Cincinnati, to be used as an entrance for interurbans, the very purpose which had been so earnestly opposed in previous years.

            It might be supposed that this would write finis to the canal story on the Miami valley. On the contrary, the stimulus given to water transportation by the inability of the steam railroads to handle the traffic of the nation during the war period, has brought about a revival of interest in the building of a cross state canal connecting the lakes with the Ohio river. Again Congress has provided for a survey to determine the most feasible and practical route, and this work is now being carried on under the direction of Col. Lansing H. Beach, of the United States Corps of Engineers.

            Notwithstanding its dependence upon water transportation, the valley took little interest in the invention of the steamboat by Robert Fulton, and when Nicholas J. Roosevelt, a brother of the grandfather of the former president, visited Cincinnati and discussed his plans for building a steamboat to navigate on the Ohio, he was treated with polite incredulity. He had, however, been in conference with Fulton and was confident of his enterprise. In 1809, from May to December, he floated down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and studied the channels and shoals preparatory to the operation of his steam-propelled craft.

            (page 162) In the spring of 1810 the keel was laid in Pittsburg for a boat 116 feet long and 20 feet wide, costing when completed $30,000. He arrived in Cincinnati, the first stop, and was greeted by throngs who congratulated him upon his success, but cheerfully assured him that he would never be able to go back, as the boat could not possibly run up stream. At Louisville the same assurances caused him to give a banquet to leading citizens and while there on board, to their great alarm and consternation, got up steam and actually carried them several miles up stream. The noises of escaping steam and the rattle of machinery caused great excitement along the river, where it was thought the comet of 1811 had fallen into the Ohio. A devastating earthquake occurred, adding to his difficulties. The trip was made, demonstrating the feasibility of steamboat operation on the western rivers, and the intrepid promoter lived to see the industry he had launched rise to a pre-eminent position, but before his death in 1871, he must have been brought to the sad realization that it was being forced out of the field by a newer method of transportation.

            Shortly after the success of the experiment had been fully admitted, efforts were made to have Congress grant exclusive rights for the operation of steamboats on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, it being argued that capital was timid and that it would not invest in steamboats unless assured against competition. Congress, however, did not yield to the argument and capital did invest in hundreds of boats to ply these rivers and their navigable tributaries. As Cincinnati was the port of the Miami valley, the entire territory shared in the control exercised by the Queen City over the markets of the south and entire middle west.

            Steamboat building became a great industry and the most palatial steamers plied the river, lending a glamour and romance to the period that still lives in song and story.

            In 1852 there were 4,058 arrivals at Cincinnati and the shipyards were turning out upwards of thirty new boats a year. No heed was given to the railroads that were being chartered by the legislature, nor the promotions that were being fostered. But there came a period when the roads were actually built and when trunk lines led the traffic away from the river instead of toward it. In the latter part of the 50's there began a railroad policy, most natural in itself but since admitted as most unwise, by which reduced rates were given at river points in order to destroy the steamboat business. The uncertainty of river transportation, caused by periods of low water, aided the railroads and gradually reduced the revenues of the steamboats and made their future so precarious, investors became wary. As boats were burned or sunk by accident, none were constructed to take their places. Steamboat building at Cincinnati accounted for but three boats in 1885 and, from the records of the Chamber of Commerce, then ceased to exist. Towboats towing barges of coal and heavier materials took the place of the numerous freight packets and the passenger business all but disappeared.

            In the latter part of the 80's the people of Cincinnati and other parts of the Miami valley set out to arouse a national interest in the (page 163) improvement and canalization of inland waterways, in order that, with permanent channels assured, one of the handicaps might be removed.

            So successful was this movement that the improvement of the Ohio with 48 locks and dams is now more than half completed, and the nation is spending millions in various parts of the country. The necessities of war brought about the adoption of a national policy of co-ordination of rail and water transportation, which will doubtless bring back into use latent resources of the Miami valley, materially aiding in the advancement of her prosperity. While water transportation on both rivers and canals was still in its earlier period of development, it was recognized that this system had its limitations, since its highest usefulness would be confined to those industries located along the natural and artificial streams. The bad condition of the roads acted as a deterrent, since they made truckage not only slow, but an expensive factor. The coming of the railroad was being foreshadowed, and the entire valley was thrilled with discussions of the great prosperity which would follow the building of these inland arteries of commerce. Great stimulus was given to these discussions when, early in the 30's, the Erie & Kalamazoo railroad, connecting Adrian, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio, was put into operation. It was an unchartered affair at first, operated by horse power, but it was not only the first railroad in Ohio, but the first operated west of New York. In 1837 it was changed to a steam road.

            Although the Miami valley could not boast the first railroad, it exercised leadership of the whole state in the rapid and feverish development of this character of transportation, which set in about this period. The thirtieth general assembly, in 1831 and 1832, was deluged with incorporations and proposed incorporations of railroads promoted and backed by some of the most distinguished men of the day. The first of these to be incorporated was the Richmond, Eaton &. Miami Railroad company, by an act of December 29, 1831, giving it the sole and exclusive right to construct a railroad from Richmond, Indiana, to some point on the Miami canal, between Dayton and Hamilton, deemed most eligible to "carry persons and property upon the same, by the power and force of steam, of animals, or of any other mechanical force or power, or any combination of them." The capital stock was $500,000, divided into ten thousand shares of $50 each. The incorporators were Cornelius Van Ausdal, Joseph C. Hawkins, William Hall, Peter Van Ausdal, Benjamin Sayre, David Powell, Abraham Troxell, Samuel Caldwell, Jonathan Marin, Robert Milliken, James McBride and Abraham Chittenden, all of Ohio, and John Erwin, Warren B. Leeds, Samuel Shutes and Robert Morrison, of Indiana.

            The second incorporation, granted on January 5, 1832, was to the Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad company, and showed the disposition of the progressive capitalists of the valley to extend their opportunities into other parts of the state. The right was given to construct a railroad from Dayton to Springfield, Urbana, Bellefontaine, Upper Sandusky, Tiffin and Lower Sandusky. This was incorporated for $1,000,000, and prominent among the promoters were (page 164) the following citizens of the Miami valley section : Samuel W. Davis, Francis Carr and Ethan Stone of Hamilton county; Charles G. Swain, Alexander Grimes and Horatio G. Phillips of Montgomery;

Pierson Spinning and Henry Bechtel of Clark, who had associated with them leading capitalists from other points along the proposed route.

            On January 25, 1832, the third incorporation was authorized by the legislature for a railroad in the Miami valley. It was the Franklin, Springboro & Wilmington railway, to run from Franklin, on the Miami canal, through Springboro to Wilmington. On February 8, 1832, the Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad company was launched with $1,000,000 capital to run from Cincinnati to the state line in the direction of Lawrenceburg, thence from Lawrenceburg to Indianapolis and St. Louis. The incorporators were Samuel W. Davis, Ethan Stone, W. Green, J. P. Foot, George Graham, Calvin Fletcher, W. S. Johnston, Lyman Watson and Alexander McGrew, all of Hamilton county.

            The Chillicothe & Lebanon Railroad company, incorporated February 11, 1832, was the first proposed to extend from the outside into the valley, its route being from Chillicothe through Leesburg and Wilmington to Lebanon. Many features of these charters seem peculiar, in the light of present day operating methods. For example, they contain clauses permitting private individuals to pass over and along the tracks of the railways in their private vehicles, thus early recognizing the basic principle upon which subsequent interstate commerce railroad legislation is founded. This principle is, that charters granted to steam railroads are for the use of the public highway, which primarily belongs to the people, and over which they reserve the right of regulation. Other provisions limited the charges per ton mile by providing that they must not exceed the tonnage schedule of the Miami and. Erie canal.

            Other incorporations relating to the Miami valley were the Oxford & Miami Railroad company in 1835, the Chillicothe & Cincinnati, Wilmington & Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Western, and the Ohio, Miami & Wabash in 1836. From this period until 1851 sessions of the legislature granted charters to railroads in every direction, throughout the state. In a great many cases the hopes of the promoters were shattered and many financial losses were sustained. In a great number of cases charters lapsed without any attempt being made to build the road.

            On some roads construction was begun, only to be abandoned, while others were partially built and operated, but later absorbed by their more successful competitors. After 1851 legislative charters were advocated and in conformity with the new constitution, incorporations came under the terms of railroad laws general in their application.

            Notwithstanding the early agitation, railroad development was held in abeyance by the timid investors and doubting Thomases, and it was not until 1835 that serious steps were taken for the building of a railroad through the Miami valley. This road was the Little Miami, extending from Cincinnati to Springfield, a distance of 84 (page 165) miles. It encountered the greatest difficulties and progressed very slowly. This is clearly indicated by the words of historian Cist in his "Cincinnati in 1841," in which he says: "About 35 miles of this road are graded and more under contract. The iron rails for fifteen miles are bought, and locomotives procured to run on the road. The fifteen miles from Cincinnati, it is supposed, will be in operation the first of September, 1841. Funds are procured to finish the whole road from Cincinnati to Xenia and it will no doubt be completed to Springfield."

            In 1851 the Little Miami was the only railroad leading from Cincinnati in actual operation. It had, however, been extended to Springfield and had become one of the most important factors in the upbuilding of the Miami valley territory, located, as it was, entirely in the valley of the Little Miami. Its connection at Springfield with the Mad River & Sandusky railroad, and at Xenia with railroads for Columbus and Cleveland, opened up transportation facilities to the northern system which was rapidly being developed. That it was patronized is shown by the fact that in 1851 it carried 52,288 through passengers, and a total of 144,486, and collected $204,589 from this source. Its earnings from freight transportation disclose that the largest part of its business was between the towns of the Miami valley, since its through freight for the year brought $35,000 and its way freight $157,607. Two trains were operated daily "at five o'clock and twenty minutes a. m." and "two o'clock and thirty minutes p. m." Evidently the early morning train was the Flyer, as it was designated as "the Express," and did not run on Sunday. The trip to New York was made in 48 hours by the following schedule-leaving Cincinnati at five o'clock and twenty minutes a. m., and Columbus at 11 o'clock and thirty minutes a. m., arriving at Cleveland at six o'clock that evening. From this point passengers took the boat for Buffalo, arriving the next morning, and thence by express train at Albany, at which point they again embarked by boat for New York, arriving 48 hours after leaving Cincinnati. The trip was made over four railroads and two steamboat lines, but, in the light of present day cost of traveling, the fares could hardly be regarded as excessive, since they amounted to $17.50 from Cincinnati to New York and there was no charge for meals or staterooms on the boats. The sleeping accommodations of the trip were on the boats, as sleeping cars were then an unheard of luxury. It is hardly likely that traveling was an unmixed pleasure, in those days, as much remained to be desired in the way of construction and equipment, such as are now required, even in the least highly developed lines. In place of the hundred pound rails of the present day, oak stringers were used, covered with five-eighths inch thickness of strap iron. The first passenger coaches were extremely crude and followed closely the design of stage coaches, with a double deck arrangement, in all seating about twenty-four persons. The first engines were similar in design to those used for threshing machines and weighed only ten tons, including fuel and water. This may be contrasted with the modern 280-ton engine with a tank capacity of 7,000 gallons of water and ten tons of coal. The speed of the early engines was about ten miles per hour for passenger, and half of that (page 166) for freight, while transportation charges ran as high as 25 cents per ton mile.

            The construction of the Little Miami opened up railroad connection in the valley of the Little Miami river, and suggested the demand for a similar facility for the territory of the Big Miami valley, which led to the construction of the second railroad, the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton. It was largely a Cincinnati enterprise, promoted by the leading capitalists of the day, and was put into operation between Cincinnati and Dayton in 1851. This road exercised a potent effect upon the commercial development of the valley, as it was regarded with highest local pride, until in its latter years it became a football for frenzied financiers and finally passed out of existence, being absorbed into the Baltimore & Ohio system. The Eaton & Richmond railroad opened from Cincinnati to Camden the same year, and by the end of 1852 was completed to Eaton, and thence extended to Richmond, Ind., a year later. Connecting links of a developing railway system were pushed rapidly, hooking up Troy, Greenville, Piqua and other points in the Miami valley, and the Ohio & Mississippi railroad was promoted as a great east and west trunk line from the Mississippi river to the Atlantic ocean.

            Less difficulty was experienced in procuring the necessary capital, since the success of the roads already in operation had been manifested. The Little Miami stock, which had sold as low as $7 a share, was quoted at 108, and the C. H. & D. declared dividend of 4 per cent in the first nine months, said to be the only instance of the kind on record of western roads up to that time. The feverish spirit of the 30's, which led to so many wildcat enterprises with attendant losses, had given way to a more substantial belief in the future of steam railroad investments, based upon investigation, and public subscriptions were made with a restored faith that was not

always justified.


            If railroads advanced the prosperity of the valley, in their earliest period, there at length came one which imperiled it. Through the Cincinnati gateway, the south had offered a profitable market for the products of factory and farm, transported by river. The citizens of Louisville raised the funds necessary to build the L. & N. railroad, which tapped the southern system of railroad at Nashville. giving the Falls City a tremendous advantage, since to compete the merchants of the valley must use the L. & N. at Louisville, and that city placed a heavy arbitrary charge on all shipments to and from Cincinnati. Because of this situation, the city of Cincinnati built the Cincinnati Southern railroad, as a municipal enterprise, to Chattanooga.

            Following the panic of 1873 there came a period of narrow-gauge railroad building, and these lines were projected in many directions, and much capital invested with the belief that the lower cost of construction and equipment would make them formidable rivals of the older roads. They were not, however, successful and were later abandoned or standardized.

            Consolidations into related groups followed, and today almost without exception the important rail lines of the Miami valley may (page 167) be traced back to the foresight of the early promoters of the period of the 50's.

            About 1895 came the beginning of the development of the interurban electric railroad, which promised to revolutionize not only the passenger but the freight and express transportation as well. As the name indicated, it proposed to furnish transit between cities by means of high-speed electric cars, operating directly into the business district of the cities through which it passed. Syndicates were formed and promoters, waxed fat on selling the stock in enterprises promoted in every direction, without much consideration of the cost of construction, the probable traffic to be furnished or the conditions imposed by the authorities granting the franchises. It was found that none of the existing laws which had been drawn for steam railroads and street railways covered this new character of enterprise, so its development proceeded without much, if any, public control. The earliest promotions which resulted in the actual building of these lines was in the vicinity of Dayton, radiating out to Piqua, Troy, Xenia, Eaton, and into Indiana.

            The first road in the southern part of the valley was the Cincinnati & Hamilton, connecting these two points. This was followed by the C. D. & T., organized for the purpose of building over the route from Cincinnati to Toledo. The Cincinnati, Lawrenceburg & Aurora extended west along the Ohio river, with branches to Aurora and to Harrison, the former terminal of the Whitewater canal. The Cincinnati, Georgetown & Portsmouth, a narrow-gauge steam road, was electrified, running through the eastern part of the valley to Georgetown. A group finally known as the Interurban Railway and Terminal company were constructing one branch to New Richmond, another to Bethel and a third to Lebanon. The Cincinnati, Milford & Loveland followed the valley of the Little Miami through the points indicated by its name. The Cincinnati & Columbus completed construction as far as Hillsboro and terminated in Norwood.

            Owing to the fact that the gauge of the street car tracks in Cincinnati was six inches broader than "standard," the interurbans of standard gauge could not use the tracks for terminal purposes and were compelled to discharge their passengers outside of the city limits, while those adopting the broad gauge did not reach any other large city, hence the development of this character of enterprise was far behind that in other parts of the country, where high speeds were obtained with luxurious equipment, in some cases including dining and sleeping cars. From Dayton north a much better type of service was furnished and schedules operated efficiently, connecting with points in northeastern Ohio and with the highly developed system in Indiana. However, unwise financial methods, overcapitalization, and injudicious franchise conditions contributed to bring disaster upon many of the interurban properties. Receiverships have been plentiful and a number of the lines have been abandoned with applications pending for others. High prices of labor and materials, during the war, in many cases put on the finishing touches, until it is admitted that the future of this type of industry is very problematic.

            (page 168) It is an interesting feature of modern economics, that what promised to be the latest and most revolutionary method of transportation owed its difficulties in no small degree to the reincarnation and modernization of the despised and neglected roads, which were the valley's first means of commercial intercourse. The advent of the automobile brought a renewed interest in roads, first for pleasure cars and later for heavy trucks bringing the products of the farm to the markets and returning laden with supplies from the cities. Toll roads were displaced by free turnpikes and the formation of good roads associations forced the legislature to action. A state highway department was organized and state funds appropriated to aid the counties in the construction of laterals to the market highways, constructed out of public funds. The auto trucks, taking advantage of these conditions, cut more deeply into the already slender resources of the interurbans and added to their financial discomfiture.

            In no part of the state has a livelier interest been manifested in the good roads movement than in the Ohio valley, where main market highways, built and proposed, will lead out with their glistening trails of brick and concrete, to all parts of this. and adjacent states, while the counties and townships with a network of secondary and tertiary roads, will form a complete system, embracing the cities and the surrounding agricultural regions, and binding them together in a common interest.

            As with the introduction of each new method of transportation, enthusiasts predicted the most extravagant and revolutionary development, so the good roads advocates and the motor truck promoters look forward to a monopoly of all but the heaviest traffic. History would suggest that disappointments may be avoided if we refrain from an overweening optimism, and the steam railroads, the waterways and the interurbans may still play an important and specialized part in the transportation destinies of the rich, beautiful valley of the two Miamis.

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