The Louisville, Cincinnati & Charleston Rail Road: Dreams of Linking North and South
"The ante-bellum era was an expansive time in American history, including the transport sector, when the agrarian republic was evolving into an industrialized society. It would be railroads, not canals, roads, and waterways that made this possible. The ambitious--perhaps too ambitious--Louisville, Cincinnati and Charleston Rail Road (LC&C) of the late 1830s became a part of rapidly spreading "railroad fever." This projected road was one of the first seriously attempted inter-regional projects. If the LC&C had begun operations as planned, it would have been the nation's longest railroad and also its largest private corporation. As a path-breaking railroad, the LC&C would have bolstered the economies of the three cities at its extremeties and scores of existing and new communities along its stem. The road also might have affected the political landscape of the nation, perhaps even preventing southern secession. As with most railroads, whether early or late, large or small, successful or not, several individulas sparked the drive. For the LC&C, its greatest champion was the politically prominent Robert Y. Hayne. No wonder this South Carolinian played a pivotal role in organizing the greatest railroad convention in the South prior to the Civil War. In July 1836, hundreds of delegates from nine states flocked to Knoxville, Tennessee, to discuss building this nearly 700-mile line. However, it would not be until 1894, with formation of the Southern Railway, that these dreams conceived at the dawn of the Railway Age were fully realized"--Provided by publisher.
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