At the close of the year 1879 there were 3,617 miles of railroad in full operation in the state of Missouri; during the year 1880 there were 390 additional miles constructed, making on the first day of January, 1881, a total of 4,007 miles of railroad within the State. Every one of the forty-four counties north of the Missouri river is now touched or traversed by one or more lines of railway, while of the seventy counties south of the river there yet remain nineteen untouched by any completed roads. This number of counties still unsupplied with railroads bids fair to be considerably reduced during the present year, by the construction of projected roads or the completion of those now under way.

The system of railways in Missouri comprises five trunk lines entirely crossing the State from its eastern to its western border, viz.; the Hannibal & St. Joseph; the Chicago, St. Louis & Kansas City; the Wabash, St. Louis & Pacific; the Missouri Pacific, and the St. Louis & San Francisco; one trunk line running diagonally through the State from north-east to south-west, the Missouri, Kansas & Texas; one trunk line running from St. Louis south through Arkansas and Texas, the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern; one trunk line leading north from St. Louis into Iowa, the Keokuk & St. Louis line; one trunk line leading north from Kansas City through Iowa to Omaha, the Kansas City, St. Joseph & Council Bluffs; and one trunk line leading from Kansas City and Leavenworth through the northern center of the State, the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific. Nearly all of these trunk lines have branches of considerable importance, giving additional outlets from the State and connecting with prominent roads east, north, west and south, and most of them have branches to leading points off their main lines within the State. Upon the whole, with the minor roads wholly or partially within the State, they form a nearly complete network of railways to give ample facilities for present transportation and travel.

Railways are great civilizers. In their wake, towns and cities spring up, new markets are opened and new industries started. While developing the country they traverse, they add value to its productions by cheapening the cost of sending them to the point where they are consumed. When the States west and south of Missouri shall be as well supplied with railways as this State now is the advantage will still remain in favor of Missouri because of their greater distance from the great markets of the world.

In connection with the subject of transportation the great river route deserves especial attention because its influence upon freight transportation will ever continue to increase in importance. All the railways between the Mississippi river and the Atlantic coast, and all that ever will be, will fall far short of equaling in capacity for transportation the great water route open to the sea, with 1,550 miles of shore line in Missouri.

The enormous increase in the amount of products passing through the State is almost beyond comprehension. Arkansas, Texas, the Indian Territory, New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas all send a greater portion of their surplus products, which include cotton, grain, livestock, hides, wool, minerals and many other important articles, to markets through Missouri, and receive in return, from or through this State, their machinery, implements, and various articles of merchandise which make up the vast inland commerce of the great and productive West. Other States also find in St. Louis a market for a great portion of their productions and in exchange receive from that great commercial center a large proportion of their merchandise.

When we consider that this is now the condition of the commerce which provides the traffic for Missouri railways, and remember that the producing capacity of the great territory which provides that commerce has as yet scarcely begun to be developed, and its capabilities are even far from being comprehended, we may safely conclude that the present seemingly most extravagant predictions of the coming greatness of the State which forms the commercial, manufacturing and railway center of this the grandest agricultural region of the globe, may yet be realized, and that the future greatness of the State is as well assured as its present prosperity. There is ample room and a cordial welcome for all who may desire to aid in the development of its extraordinary natural resources.

Any information in regard to Missouri lands either farming, public or railway, can be obtained by addressing The Missouri State Board of Immigration, 919 Olive St., St. Louis, Mo.

Transcribed from the:
Missouri State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1881, Vol III
St. Louis, MO, USA
Polk and A. C. Danser, 1881, Publishers

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