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The steel highway improved the lives of millions of city dwellers. By the 1890s, the United States was becoming an urban nation, and railroads supplied cities and towns with food, fuel, building materials, and access to markets. The simple presence of railroads could bring a city economic prosperity. Railroads even helped shape the physical growth of cities and towns, as steam railroads and then electric street railways facilitated growth along their lines and made suburban living feasible.
Mail, sorted enroute aboard Railway Post Office (RPO) Cars, permitted reliable and rapid communication. Railway express and the rise of mail-order merchants permitted people in the most remote rural areas to enjoy inexpensive consumer goods. Telegraphy and railroading had been inseparable since the beginning, and virtually everywhere there was a railroad, there was a telegraph wire.
In 1893, the United States celebrated the 400th anniversary of the “discovery” of the New World with a spectacular fair in Chicago. The Transportation Building at the “World’s Columbian Exposition” featured railroad exhibits and equipment from around the world, but the most lavish displays were from Baldwin Locomotive Works, the Pullman Palace Car Company, and other American companies. The B&O erected a huge exhibit tracing the entire history of the railroad, while the Pennsylvania and New York Central railroads had separate exhibit buildings.
The world’s fair marks the high point of the railroad in American life. By the mid-1890s, almost the entire North American transport network was oriented around the 200,000 miles of track extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific and also connecting with substantial networks in the neighboring countries of Canada and Mexico.
By then, New York Central’s Empire State Express had exceeded 100 miles per hour on its runs to Chicago, leaving no doubt about rail travel’s potential for speed. As for comfort, Pullman cars of the day rivaled the finest hotels for the level of service and creature comforts provided. Railroads offered convenience, taking travelers across the continent in less than a week-or down branch lines to the most remote Appalachian hamlet in a matter of days.
In the West, railroads helped open new territory to economic exploitation, and then played a large part in the creation of the first national parks. They also pioneered modern forms of hotels, resorts, and restaurants. As the nineteenth century ebbed, every aspect of society and culture was reflected in the railroad. When the Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation was legal, railroads in the South responded with “Jim Crow” cars having “separate, but equal,” accommodations. There also were special Temperance Movement trains, as well as excursions promoting the vote for women.
Americans celebrated the railroad in song, literature, and art. The fledgling motion-picture industry turned its hand-cranked cameras on speeding trains because they were the most exciting things on wheels. Virtually every form of entertainment traveled by rail, from the latest popular magazines to touring circuses and New York theater companies.
By 1900, the people of Canada, Mexico, and the United States had settled a vast continent that the best minds of Thomas Jefferson’s day thought would take a thousand years to occupy. Largely because of railroads, it took only a few decades.
Extra Information About how did railroad expansion affect the growth of major urban centers? That You May Find Interested
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The Impact of Railroad Expansion – History | HowStuffWorks
The Impact of the Transcontinental Railroad – PBS
How did railroad expansion affect the growth of major urban …
10 Ways the Transcontinental Railroad Changed America
Did Railroads Induce or Follow Economic Growth? – jstor
Tracking Growth in the U.S. | National Geographic Society
Frequently Asked Questions About how did railroad expansion affect the growth of major urban centers?
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What role did railroads play in the expansion of cities?
Railroads helped cities receive more goods during the Second Industrial Revolution by reducing travel times, which in turn facilitated the expansion of factories and the movement of people in greater numbers on a more regular basis.
What impact did railroads have on cities?
By the 1890s, the United States was transforming into an urban nation, and railroads provided cities and towns with food, fuel, building materials, and access to markets. The mere existence of railroads could bring a city economic prosperity.
What results did the railroad expansion produce?
These developments in travel and transport contributed to the industrialization of the country and helped drive settlement in the western regions of North America. Railroads became a major industry, stimulating other heavy industries such as iron and steel production.
Why did major urban centers’ populations grow during the Gilded Age quizlet due to railroad expansion?
Traveling to and from cities became easier, which had an impact on the development of major urban centers. What is one reason why the expansion of the railroads led to a decline in the price of goods during the Gilded Age? Railroads provided quick and inexpensive transportation for both raw materials and finished goods.
What 3 advantages did railroad expansion have?
The railroad also made life easier on homesteads and encouraged the expansion of the cattle industry, all of which had a positive impact on the economy. The railroad also helped to facilitate trade between the east and west of the USA and between the USA and Asia.
What was the railroad’s biggest impact?
Large-scale commerce was made possible by the railroad, which also transported manufactured goods from East Coast cities to the West Coast and western food crops and raw materials to markets on the East Coast.
Why did railroads foster the development of cities and industries?
New technologies, such as machine building and iron and steel production, advanced to meet the demands of railroad growth, and the railroads helped create a new national market by offering less expensive and quicker freight delivery.
Quiz: What role did the development of a vast railroad network play in the expansion of urban areas?
Railroads could help people get to places faster, and with the new railroad system people could get to cities much faster, causing the urban population to grow, which is one way that the construction of a large railroad network contributed to urban growth.
Quiz: What role did railroads play in the development of cities?
By moving goods and raw materials, railroads aided urban development; by displacing workers from factories, railroads contributed to urban decline.