How the Railroads Built the Exposition
If some Irish wit with Brinsley Sheridan's gift of paradox chances to visit the Rainbow City" this summer, he will doubtless say that the greatest exhibit of all was one that he saw before he arrived. And that would be true for it would only be saying that nothing at the Exposition more fully typifies the forces of which it is an expression than do the railroads leading to it. In a very real way they are both a cause and a measure of progress. Development in industry and commerce has everywhere followed the shining track of the steel rail. And now, as a climax to that development the Pan-American Exposi tion has been reared in the state in which the first railroad was built.
In that fact there may be merely a coincidence but it is not without its human interest. Consider the vast arch of achievement that is spanned between the first train, on the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad in 1831, and the Empire State Express speeding to Buffalo in 1901 In these two generations the country has grown from barely more than a fringe of Atlantic States to a nation stretching to either ocean.
This has been made possible by railroads which have scattered people from the Hudson to the Columbia and then bound them together again, through commerce and travel, literally with bands of steel. Back over the roads that bore the thousands, now grown to millions, to their mighty work of nation building there have just been borne to Buffalo the myriad results of their endeavor and skill. No wonder the Pan-American Exposition is such a vital object lesson in progress. And there is nothing about it more vital than the railroad, for it is not only a striking exhibit itself but a highway as well for all the other exhibits and, now, for the thousands of visitors.
Within a radius of 500 miles of Buffalo, chiefly on the New York Central lines, there are 40,000,000 people. That suggests how potent a factor the railroad has been in populating and developing the western hemisphere. When the first clumsy locomotive pulled its first train of quaint little cars, back in 1829, Chicago was a small trading post in' a swamp, St. Louis a sleepy river town just being awakened by the whistle of the first Mississippi steamboats and Buffalo little more than a struggling village on Lake Erie. Today they are all great commercial and financial capitals in a region throbbing with the activi ties Of 40,000 000 people. This region, the very heart of America, with its resources and its industries, has made possible the Pan- American Exposition. In fact, in any view of things in their large relations, it looms behind the Exposition as the supreme exhibit, dominating all others. And behind this great region, speeding like a shuttle as it weaves the richest industrial fabric the world has seen, is the locomotive on its path of steel.
From this region, lying between Boston and St. Louis, will come the visitors whose total, it is expected, will place the aggregate attendance at the Exposition in the millions. From whatever direction they journey to Buffalo, they will traverse some part of the vast exhibit in industry whose epitome is the Exposition. If they come from Chicago over the Lake Shore Railroad, the great states of Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania are skirted near their northern boundaries and the thriving city of Toledo with its factories and elevators, the great commercial city of Cleveland, iron centre and lake port, and scores of prosperous towns, intervening, are passed, as are farms and vineyards by the hundred mile. If the route is over the Michigan Central, the fertile stretches of Southern Michigan are crossed and the southern part of Ontario, with the beautiful city of Detroit as the great centre between Chicago and Buffalo. Those coming from St. Louis, just stirring with interest and pride in the great exposition she is planning for 1903, will have the Big Four Road as the direct Pan-American route bearing them over the broad farms of Illinois and Indiana, through the fine Hoosier capital, Indianapolis, on across Ohio to Cleveland and thence to Buffalo. From Cincinnati the route is also over the Big Four across to Cleveland through Springfield, with its big agricultural implement factories, and Columbus, capital and manufacturing centre.
Those going to the Exposition from New York City, New Jersey
and New England will pass through what is essentially the manufacturing portion
of the great region whose mecca is Buffalo. The route from New York is over
the New York Central along the noble Hudson, with its 143 miles of splendid
panorama to Albany; first the Palisades, rising sheer from the river and capped
with green; then the broad sweep of Tappan Bay, as one reaches Tarrytown, hard
by Sleepy Hollow; a little farther north, the rugged top of Storm King beetles
over the guns at West Point and just beyond are Washington's headquarters at
Newburg. After Poughkeepsie is passed the Catskills soon loom to the west and
still farther up their peaks are seen forming the Titan contour of Rip Van Winkle
their tops. The train speeds on through Hudson and presently the Capitol at Albany rises above the horizon line. The trip from New York has taken but three hours, even less on the Empire State and other limited trains, and every moment has offered, from the car window, a view that for variety and beauty can nowhere be excelled. As a foot note of progress it is interesting to recall that this trip, which New York Central trains make in less than three hours, it took Hendrick Hudson in the tippy little " Half Moon " three New England, Worcester and Springfield, vital industrial exhibits themselves, silhouette the sky line with their factory chimneys, resembling guide posts pointing to the Exposition. From Albany the train goes over the New York Central track to Buffalo.
So whatever the direction from which one journeys to Buffalo and Niagara Falls over the New York Central lines - the great system including, besides the New York Central, the Lake Shore, the Michigan Central, the Big Four, the Boston & Albany, the Pittsburg & Lake Erie and the Lake Erie & Western - some part of the marvelous region is traversed which, after all, is the greatest exhibit in industry and prosperity in the world, an exhibit in shaping and developing which this mighty system of railroads has been a dominant factor.
In connection with the Exposition it is interesting to point to the vast work railroads now do as direct promoters of publicity. The New York Central, for example, printed and distributed three million red seals on the Pan- American Exposition before the Exposition opened its gates. Every American consulate in the world was made a means of scattering these broadcast to all parts of the earth. Then, too, the New York Central put on a special train, the Pan-American Express, two years before the Exposition opened and has been running it daily since, between New York and Buffalo, a flying advertisement of steel and steam of the great Fair the railroads have built.
Note: This article appeared in the World's Work Advertiser, August 1901, an issue entirely comprised of advertising. It is likely that this was written by the New York Central Railroad.
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