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The Hook and Eye

The Hook and Eye: A History of the Iowa Central Railway

Don L. Hofsommer
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    The Hook and Eye
    Book Description:

    Analyzing the origins, growth, and eventual dismantling of the Iowa Central Railway, Don L. Hofsommer examines how this “plain vanilla” railway was an example of the life cycle of the American railroad industry. Drawing the story from station records, annual reports, newspaper articles, and interviews with former employees, The Hook & Eye brings the industry and human sides of railroading into view._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9683-3
    Subjects: Transportation Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acronyms and Shortened Names
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Chapter 1 Urban Mercantilism
    (pp. 1-4)

    At the beginning of the nineteenth century, President Thomas Jefferson saw in the mostly untapped wilderness west of the Mississippi River a huge expanse that might for a time serve as a giant Indian preserve and eventually as a rich domain into which vibrant Americans could pour as the rate of settling land in the East demanded it. With that in mind, in 1803 he secured from France the vast territory of the Louisiana Purchase, which extended from the Mississippi to the Rockies. But not even the prescient Jefferson foresaw the rapidity with which that western country would be populated....

  6. Chapter 2 Iowa Central Railroad: Great Plans, Grand Failure
    (pp. 5-14)

    The state of Iowa was the scene of intense railroad activity during the mid-nineteenth century. Many efforts were fostered by dreamers and schemers of Chicago persuasion, each bent on a fervid campaign to promote that city’s interests by way of an expansive railway network. Promoting and building of these east-west, or horizontal, roads then was augmented by another flurry of railroad planning and construction that had as its purpose the connection of prominent Midwestern cities lying to the north and to the south of Iowa. Indeed, efforts to build a series of east-west roads across the state, and to overlay...

  7. Chapter 3 Eldora Railroad & Coal Company
    (pp. 15-22)

    Early in January 1866, a representative from the firm of Edgington & Brothers made his way to the newly opened offices of theEldora Ledger. The Edgington concern operated a daily stage line between Iowa Falls and Marshalltown and wished to advertise its services in the next issue and in subsequent issues of theLedger. Edgington stages were scheduled to “leave Marshalltown everyday on the arrival of the train from the East, arriving at Iowa Falls on the same day. . . .[The stages from Iowa Falls depart] everyday at 2 o’clock a.m. arriving at Marshalltown in time for the...

  8. Chapter 4 Iowa River Railway
    (pp. 23-27)

    Charles Carroll Gilman, President of the newly formed Iowa River Railway, was born on February 22, 1833, the son of Doctor and Mrs. Gilman, residents of Brooks, Maine. Young Gilman attended Waterville College in Maine and then studied medicine with his father. When his health failed, the future Iowa railroad president sought recovery in strenuous out-of-doors work. After a brief stay in Michigan, he continued west to Iowa, arriving at Dubuque in 1857. While a resident of that eastern Iowa community, Gilman engaged in the wholesale lumber trade and eventually opened retail yards in many surrounding towns. Later he was...

  9. Chapter 5 Central Railroad Company of Iowa
    (pp. 28-39)

    On June 23, 1869, incorporators of the Central Railroad Company of Iowa (CRCI or the Central) met at Marshalltown to affix their signatures to that new firm’s articles of incorporation. The Central’s objectives were practically the same as those of the Iowa River Railway, except that the new road announced that points on the “old” Iowa Central had been “established.” What this meant, in fact, was that Gilman had been successful in negotiating an agreement whereby the “property, rights, and franchises of . . . the . . . Iowa Central Railroad Company . . . about sixty five miles...

  10. Chapter 6 The Tangled Ways of Finance
    (pp. 40-50)

    President Gilman and his Iowa backers long since had been forced to yield financial control of the Central Railroad Company of Iowa in order to gain capital sufficient to see the road built. It augured ill for them; when the company defaulted on its second mortgage interest on April 15, 1873, Eastern bankers and investors, who held a majority of the bonds, decided that there should be a change in management.¹

    Charles Gilman and his administration left in bitterness. Theirs had been the energy that had given the road its impetus, and now they were thrust out of office under...

  11. Chapter 7 The Hook & Eye
    (pp. 51-73)

    The Central Railroad Company of Iowa had made a remarkable physical recovery under receiver Josiah Bushnell Grinnell. On July 18, 1877, Lewis M. Fisher, special master, requested that a master’s deed to the property be given Farmers Loan & Trust Company of New York. This request was granted by the U.S. Circuit Court in Iowa, but the road remained in the hands of a receiver until it was reorganized as the Central Iowa Railway. On May 28, 1879, Farmers Loan & Trust agreed to deed the property to the new company, which was fully reorganized on June 4 and then...

  12. Chapter 8 Iowa Central Railway
    (pp. 74-87)

    The property of the Iowa Central Railway was turned over to President A. B. Stickney in May 1889. He immediately took advantage of the company’s stable financial footing and the prosperity of the times by placing an order for passenger and freight equipment as well as seven locomotives. It was to be Stickney’s final contribution to the Iowa Central, for at the first annual meeting he was relieved of his assignment. In a highly unusual development, Russell Sage, long associated with the Iowa company in various capacities and long acknowledged to be the dominant force behind the Central’s management, assumed...

  13. Chapter 9 Enter the Twentieth Century
    (pp. 88-121)

    The dawn of the twentieth century came to Iowa Central amid rumors of vast change in corporate ownership. For reasons that are unclear, Russell Sage had relaxed his firm grip on Central stock, and this allowed an eager young man by the name of Edwin Hawley to purchase large blocks of Central securities. Hawley, born in Chatham, New York, in 1850, had started his railroad career as a clerk for the Erie Railroad in June 1867. During his subsequent rise to positions of management, Hawley was associated with several companies and a number of powerful capitalists. Collis P. Huntington, the...

  14. Epilogue
    (pp. 122-128)

    It was inevitable. From the days of the Eldora Railroad & Coal Company, the managers of that company and of the companies that evolved into Iowa Central had known that the property would have to expand or be absorbed. Cut off at both the northern and the southern borders of Iowa, it would be only a local road, the line out to Peoria notwithstanding. Its fight for survival was a long one and a good one; its several management teams showed remarkable ingenuity in keeping the operation independent for nearly a half century.

    Consolidation of Minneapolis & St. Louis and...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 129-138)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 139-146)
  17. Index
    (pp. 147-152)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 153-154)
  19. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)