It’s an important part of our nation’s history.
On Tuesday evening, Walt Smith and John Carl, of Newton, presented “Railroads and Railroading: Past, Present, and Future” at the Musco Technology Center. Smith and Carl Spoke as part of William Penn University’s Chautauqua Speaker Series.
Steve Noah, vice president of advancement at Penn, introduced the speakers at Tuesday’s event. Noah said Smith is an industrialist and entrepreneur and Carl is a retired radio executive.
“John and Walt have traveled the world to visit and travel on railroads and tonight they’re going to share some of their railroading lore with the William Penn community,” said Noah.
Smith focused his presentation on the history of railroads and railroading.
Many of Iowa’s early residents lived near water, explained Smith. In 1846, Iowa became a state with just about 25,000 people living in the state, Smith said.
“If you didn’t live on a river, you couldn’t get your grain out or your supplies in,” said Smith.
The role played by railroads in Iowa’s history has been “quite significant,” Smith pointed out.
Ten years after Iowa became a state, railroading in Iowa picked up some steam when a railroad bridge was able to be built across the Mississippi River, said Smith.
“That brought railroads to Iowa,” Smith said.
The Civil War would slow the progress of railroads in Iowa, noted Smith. The northern states’ railroad infrastructure worked in their favor during the Civil War, Smith said. He noted that the northern states were able to move troops and materials via railroads more effectively than their southern counterparts.
In 1862, Congress passed a bill authorizing the building of the Transcontinental Railroad, said Smith. This is when railroads began to have a real impact on the nation, said Smith.
Smith said there are many railroads passing through Iowa and used a map from 1917 to show the state of railroading at that time.
Carl discussed more recent history of railroads and railroading during the course of his talk. He talked of the economics of railroading, as well as changes in the industry, over the years since the early 1980s. He talked about the moving of coal across the country via railroads, among other railroad-related topics, as well.
Carl also talked of differences between railroads in the United States and those in Europe. He pointed to the differences concerning passenger vs. freight in Europe and the U.S.
During his portion of the presentation, Carl looked to the future of railroads in the U.S., as well.
“I think probably the network — the rail network — that we have today will probably hold us in good stead for the coming future,” said Carl.
Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at email@example.com.
It’s an important part of our nation’s history.
- Local News
- Oskaloosa firefighters battle barn blaze
- Oskaloosa High School 2014 Prom Court
- Kids bank eggs at annual hunt OSKALOOSA -- Need your yard cleaned? Fill it with Easter eggs filled with cash and prizes, advertise and several hundred youngsters will get the job done in a few minutes. Need proof? Check out next year's Bank Iowa Easter Egg Hunt. Bank Iowa has hos
- North Mahaska Jazz Band are Class 1A state jazz champions
- Public learns latest about Northwest Bypass at DOT meeting OSKALOOSA -- Many area residents learned the latest about the U.S. 63 Northwest Bypass of Oskaloosa at a public information meeting held Wednesday evening at Oskaloosa Middle School. The two-hour meeting featured tables with maps of the three propose
- Windmill undergoes restoration OSKALOOSA -- The Mahaska County Historical Society is pleased to announce that the Mahaska County Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is funding the restoration of the Baker/Gilchrist Windmill. The Baker windmill at Oskaloosa's Nelson Pioneer Farm and Museu
- Oskaloosa Women's ClubSpring Luncheon set for April 25 OSKALOOSA -- The annual Oskaloosa Women's Club Spring Luncheon will be held on Friday, April 25, at noon at the First Presbyterian Church. All local talent is appearing for the program. Performing will be the men's quartet from the Central United Met
- Alcohol, prom, graduation don't mix DES MOINES -- April is Alcohol Awareness Month and marks the beginning of the prom and graduation season, a time when the spotlight turns to celebrations that can lead to underage drinking. The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division is encouraging retail
- Do you know what this is?
- Blue Zones kicks off OSKALOOSA -- Blue Zones Project held its Oskaloosa Kickoff Monday evening at the Oskaloosa High School gym to help improve the community's health. Blue Zones originated with Dan Buettner of National Geographic. He was asked to find areas of the world
- More Local News Headlines