National Museum of Transportation near Kirkwood in St. Louis County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
The Pacific Railroad of Missouri: Audacious Dreams & Harsh Realities
19th century St. Louis was lucky. Its strategic location along some of "nature's highways," namely the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, turned the region into a center of commerce. By mid century, steamboats had become a dominant form of transportation in the U.S. and St. Louis prospered with their rise. However, as railroads developed elsewhere in the country, the Missouri state legislature recognized the need for railroad construction in their state, and began granting charters for many prospective lines in a "railroad fever."
Among these projects was a railroad that would potentially connect St. Louis to the Pacific Coast. A few visionary St. Louisans, like one of the railroad's first presidents, Thomas Allen, and United States senator Thomas Hart Benton, argued that by connecting St. Louis to the west coast, this railway would build direct commercial links between St. Louis and India, claiming the city a spot on the world stage. The road was given a simple name that reflected their ambitions: "The Pacific Railroad."
In a speech during the railroad's ground-breaking ceremony in July 1851, Edward Bates, a prominent
"When you have constructed the road to the frontier of Missouri, what power can stop it there? Beyond, lie the extended plains of Missouri and Arkansas, New Mexico, Utah, California, Oregon, the Pacific and the old eastern world. My mind recoils from the magnitude of the contemplation and I leave with the incalculable results to mingle with the future glories of our country's name."
Erected by Museum of Transportation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & Politics • Industry & Commerce • Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical month for this entry is July 1851.
Location. 38° 34.327′ N, 90° 27.643′ W. Marker is near Kirkwood, Missouri, in St. Louis County. It is in National Museum of Transportation. Marker can be reached from Barrett Station Road east of Old Dougherty Ferry Road, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3015 Barrett Station Road, Saint Louis MO 63122, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Ground-breaking! (here, next to this marker); The Missouri Pacific Today... (here, next to this marker); Jay Gould and the Missouri Pacific (here, next to this marker); #30 (here, next to this marker); Riot in the Tunnels (a few steps from this marker); #2804 (a few steps from this marker); Civil War Destruction (a few steps from this marker); The Pacific Railroad Controversy (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Kirkwood.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 11, 2023. It was originally submitted on April 28, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 127 times since then and 16 times this year. Photo 1. submitted on April 28, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.