• Superb Railroad Americana: Contractor Analyzes Race Question: White Section Growing Whiter; Black Section Growing Darker

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    Railroad construction is made up of complex financial and operational systems. Economic conditions in the country often resulted in their being reorganized in the late 19th century. Over the years, railroad shipments became a measure of the health of the economy. Spectacular Railroad Americana.

     

    This 7 pp, 8" x 11" TLS, June 27, 1891, by R.H. Everett of J.W. Worthington & Co. (railroad contractors) to R.C. Armstrong and his partner or Rome, GA, proposes extending the East & West Railroad through the South. Everett discusses the profitability of extending the line, providing a highly-detailed analysis of the population, the need, costs and strongly recommends it. He writes about the drift of population in the South -- between what is called white man's country and the blackbelt and also “that the white section is growing whiter and the black section darker; also that nine tenths of the increase in all values...is in the white... "

     

    “The white section will be and is manufacturing, and uses all kinds of western product, and a great deal of the higher grades of freight fresh beef and flour..."

     

    "I had just reached this place and received the papers you forwarded making mention of the reorganization of the Macon Company. I had expected this for the past week and now have the whole Macon paper account, but do not know yet that it is sound and good. However, whatever the outcome, I have never been able to see that the interests of those who own the East & West and who propose to extend to the coast, would be materially affected by the Macon Line unless the Macon Line were owned by the Kansas City System. The Kansas City System have, I know, no interest or arrangement of any kind with the Macon people, and the field, I think, is entirely open to the owners of the East & West if they would build through the coast. The opportunity is still open, and any line from this point to Atlanta, Augusta and to deep water would be profitable. The line, beginning here, taking in the East & West, and connecting all the little lines lying loose above upper Georgia, would immediately give an outlet to their choked-up mineral interests. Birmingham needs the iron ore east of this place, and the Georgia brown ore section needs coke from Birmingham. Alabama coal has never had a chance in Georgia because the Georgia Pacific has been and is interested in one coal company and heretofore has done nothing for the district, not even hauled freight. Atlanta and Augusta and all North Georgia are practically to be shut up to the Kansas City Railroad System because the Gould Systems will haul the fresh beef and western products over its lines in the West, than over the Georgia Pacific to those places..."

     

    “The Kansas city line must connect with any line east of Birmingham that will let in to those towns or anywhere in North Carolina...Any line through the thickly populated upper Georgia section will offer the Kansas City advantages in distribution that she cannot but accept; and, again, the brown ores from Georgia offered by the East & West to the Kansas City line for distribution to furnaces here will give the East & West a grip on Kansas City through business that they cannot ignore and must acknowledge. These advantages in North Carolina offered by the East & West will and must control the Kansas City business to the coast should the East & West go to deep water. Anyone who knows the drift of population at the South or anyone who investigates it will discover that there is a division line between what is called a white man's country and the blackbelt; and also that the white section is growing whiter, and the black section darker; also that nine-tenths of the increase in all values of the whole section is in the white. A line from Birmingham via Atlanta and Augusta to the coast would not pass out of the white division until well below Augusta, and where construction is very cheap. The line from this place via Macon would enter the black section this side of Macon. The white section will be and is manufacturing, and use, all kinds of western product, and a great deal of the higher grades of freight -- fresh beef and flour... The Kansas City line (in my opinion) must connect with deeper water or finally surrender to adverse systems. The Macon line presenting as the shortest and cheapest at the time construction was discussed in 1888-89 and not then being encumbered with lines partially built was selected for investigation. However, the disadvantages of the line, the heavy work for a hundred miles, and the thinly populated country were fully recognized and really were the causes that may be said to have produced the delay and enabled the Macon people to occupy the ground... "

     

    The East & West line can, as shown, immediately offer a large and growing local business and by that can gain control of the through business to the coast. The combination would force itself into existence and could not be destroyed. You will notice that the Macon reorganization does not so far include the Macon & Birmingham and without the Macon & Atlantic is a tail without a head. If any combination controlling the East & West would determine to build through at once and without waiting for paper agreement, they would have the game in their hands. Their first move would, of course, be to quietly notify the western lines of their determination so that they might keep out of any combination entanglement...The argument that a tight money market is no time to build railroads by no means has all the argument in its favor. The hard times make every city government liberal and gracious to building corporations and rights can now be gotten by any railroad that will begin that work that would not have been considered a year ago and will be out of reach in twelve months. Every class of material is now cheap and can be readily secured. In hard times railroad building is out of reach of small local companies but is the true period for work by companies that can command the money... "

     

    The growth of the South is not rapid compared with western states, but it is sure and cannot be stopped. The conditions for such a growth do not exist here and they no longer are to be found elsewhere. If you will examine into the great immigration movement, you will see that it was begun and kept under the influence of prairie lands beginning after Ohio and the timber company was slowly filled...Prairie land is already cleared and needs nothing but ploughing...

     

    “The conditions here to not invite foreign populations nor rapid settlements, but they do invite a steady inflow of native Americans from the West and North and offer sure returns of money. People with small capital, one to five thousand dollars, are steadily flowing this way (and they all vote as Democrats after a few months' stay) and they, as a rule, are satisfied and remain...If I had any inducements to offer to people to put their money into this line would gladly do so for the returns on the money are sure and it can be built cheaper now than hereafter...

     

     "If your people wish to build, the filed is now open and the combination can be controlled..."

     

    Folds, light toning. Overall excellent condition. A spectacular example of Railroad Americana and the heavy analysis involved in railroad construction.

     

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