The Wilmington & Raleigh Rail Road Company, 1833–1854


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About the Book

In 1833, the Wilmington & Raleigh Rail Road Company set out to connect the port city of Wilmington to North Carolina’s capital. When it was done in 1840, after changing its route, the company had completed 161 miles of track—the longest railroad in the world at the time—and provided continuous transportation from the town of Weldon on the Roanoke River to Wilmington and on to Charleston, South Carolina, by steamboat. A marvel of civil engineering by the standards of the day, the railroad constituted a tour de force of organization, finance and political will that risked the fortunes of individuals and the credit of the state. This study chronicles the project from its inception, exploring its impact on subsequent railroad development in North Carolina and its significance within the context of American railroad history as a whole.

About the Author(s)

James C. Burke has published articles in North Carolina Geographer and Railroad History. A native of Wilmington, North Carolina, he teaches at Cape Fear Community College and serves on the board of trustees of the Wilmington Railroad Museum.

Bibliographic Details

James C. Burke
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 232
Bibliographic Info: 40 photos, tables, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6505-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8674-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

Introduction      5

I. Weldon, Tollgate of North Carolina      11

II. Early Plans for Railroads in North Carolina      32

III. The Building of a Railroad      60

IV. The Technology: Its Origins and History      79

V. Conflict and Crisis      109

VI. Rail Transportation and Economic Growth      141

Appendix A: The Railroad Land in Wilmington      169

Appendix B: The Depot Site at Wilmington      178

Chapter Notes      189

Bibliography      209

Index      217

Book Reviews & Awards

“the author has thoroughly researched this topic and presents his data in an engaging way…contains a tremendous amount of fascinating information”—SpeedReaders.