175th Anniversary: Railroads come to town

Cass County Historical SocietyThe Pennsylvania Railroad Yard in 1909, looking west toward downtown from 15th Street.

The introduction of major railroads to Logansport in 1855 was a game changer for the region. Logansport was already becoming a transportation hub with the Michigan Road and Wabash & Erie Canal converging downtown. But railroads made the city a major player in commerce. Here’s how the Pharos-Tribune reported the events leading up to their arrival:

SEPT. 26, 1855

The opening of the rail road to Kokomo was duly celebrated yesterday by an excursion and appropriate exercises in our city.

No accident occurred to mar the enjoyment of the occasion. Every arrangement had been made by the gentlemen having charge of the road to secure comfort and safety.

At eight o’clock a train, consisting of several cars, and containing a fair representation of the citizens of town and country, the Logan Sax-horn Band, and a committee to receive the invited guests from Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and other points on the route, left for Kokomo.

The arrival of the cars at the Peru road was greeted with a cordial welcome. Gov. Wright, R. Corwine, Esq., Vice President of C. & L. Rail Road, J.C. Walker, editor of the State Sentinel, and other gentlemen were received by the committee.

The train returned to Logansport at 12 o’clock. Carriages were in readiness to receive the guests, who were escorted by the band through the principal streets, affording an opportunity of seeing our growing city.

The invited guests (according to arrangement) dined at the Barnett House.

The meeting at the Court House organized by appointing Capt. C. Vigus, President, and J.W. Dunn, Secretary. R. Corwine, Vice President of the railroad (who was introduced to the meeting by Judge Wright), after an apology for the absence of the President, Mr. Smith, on account of sickness, made a brief and happy statement of the present condition and future prospects of the enterprise. He said it was almost beyond the possibility of failure that the road from Cincinnati to Chicago would be completed in from twelve to eighteen months.

Gov. Wright made one of those happy, off-hand efforts for which he is noted. He referred to the important rail road connections awaiting Logansport, and paid a merited compliment to Judge Wright for the energy manifested in securing the early completion of the road from Logansport to the connection at Kokomo. The giant strides of Indiana in rail-road building were alluded to as indicative of the energy of Western character and the importance of relying upon individual enterprise rather than upon the government for the advancement of those great improvements which add importance and wealth to every community. We have not room to give even a brief synopsis of his entire speech. It was an effort which showed that Gov. Wright has thought much in reference to the influence of rail road improvements upon the age, and made a favorable impression upon the audience.

William Sheets, Esq., on behalf of the citizens of Indianapolis, congratulated our citizens upon the connection formed with the capital. He briefly spoke of the important position occupied by Logansport — her water power. Mr. S. closed with a sentiment in which the desire was expressed that the national advantages of our city might be improved by our citizens.

Judge Wright made a brief statement of the difficulties he had to overcome this spring in obtaining the iron. He thanked Gov. Wright for his important services in effecting that object.

The thanks of the meeting were tendered to the gentlemen who had visited our city on this occasion, and the meeting adjourned with three cheers for the Cincinnati and Chicago Railroad.

The train left the depot at half past four for Kokomo, where a special train was in readiness to carry the visitors to the Capital.

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