Ohio History Journal

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The Steubenville and Indiana Railroad:

The Steubenville and Indiana Railroad:

The Pennsylvania's Middle Route

To the Middle West





There is not a port, a harbor, or even a curved place on the Lake

Erie shoreline of Ohio which today is not dreaming of the increased

prosperity it will gain from the completion of the St. Lawrence

Seaway. A little more than one hundred years ago there was hardly

a place in all Ohio which did not foresee for itself boundless growth

and wealth as soon as the great eastern trunk lines had pushed their

way to the borders of the state. But--and this was the sine qua non

of the matter--for a place to benefit from the oncoming railroads

it had to be on a railroad itself.

As a result of this eagerness to share in a prospective good thing,

the decade 1841-50 saw seventy-six railroad companies chartered in

Ohio and a vast amount of enthusiasm aroused for the iron horse.

Almost every town could produce reasons why it ought to be on at

least one line. A case in point is Steubenville.

Any intelligent person could see that, once the Pennsylvania

Railroad had crossed the Alleghenies and reached Pittsburgh, the

trade of the West would flow toward it in three main streams,

originating in Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Chicago, the three prin-

cipal western cities. Since Steubenville is squarely on a straight line

from Pittsburgh to St. Louis, almost on a line to Cincinnati, and not

too far off a direct line to Chicago, its chances were excellent of


* Walter Rumsey Marvin is executive director of the Martha Kinney Cooper Ohioana

Library Association.

This article, like the one preceding it, "Faith vs. Economics: The Marietta and

Cincinnati Railroad, 1845-1883," by John E. Pixton, Jr., was originally a paper given

at a session of railroad history specialists known as the Lexington Group during the

annual meeting of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association at Pittsburgh, April

19-21, 1956.