Item 12 reflects the beginning of the first railway expansion west. It is the Proceedings of Sundry Citizens of Baltimore, Convened for the Purpose of Devising the Most Efficient Means of Improving the Intercourse Between that City and the Western States, published in 1827. A group of Baltimore citizens gathered to discuss how Baltimore could compete for western trade with New York and Philadelphia, which had the advantage of canals. Ultimately, they came up with the idea of a railroad, and so was the concept that generated the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad born. One of those who participated in the planning was Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who by 1827, was the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence. When ground was broken for the railway the following year, the 90-year-old Carroll laid the first stone. The B&O operated until 1987, when it was subsumed by the CSX system. It does still live on as one of the railroad properties in the board game Monopoly. $650.
Not everyone was a fan of the idea for the B&O. Later that year, “A Citizen of Baltimore” (William Hollins) countered the preceding piece with Rail Roads in the United States of America: Or, Protest and Argument Against a Subscription on the Part of the State of Maryland, to the Baltimore and Ohio Rail-Road Company. Hollins attacks “the monied interests of Baltimore” for pushing through this project, stating that railroads are more costly to construct and less efficient to operate than canals. It would only be a decade or two before rails supplanted canals as the major form of transport in America. Hollins also denounces the “Utter impracticability, through our undulating and mountainous country, for a distance of three hundred miles.” Wrong again. One can only imagine what Hollins would have thought of the idea of the western railroad across the Rockies, just a few decades later. Item 124. $500.
There is some land for sale for a mere $2.50 an acre, or $3.00 if you want six-year payment terms. It is in Moira. For Sale to Actual Settlers. That's Moira, New York, on the road from Potsdam to Malone (which I'm sure helps virtually none of our readers locate it). The “soil is excellent,” “well timbered, and exceedingly well watered.” “It is a very healthy part of the country.” It also has a post office, school and distillery, the latter of which may be needed to get you through the long winter. The growing season is exceedingly short. This is the far north. Don't expect to drop by Manhattan for a Broadway play when the chores are complete. Moira is 15 times the distance from New York City as it is from Canada. The closest cities are Montreal and Ottawa. As of 1815, this broadside informs us that the town already has 30 families. The town has grown to a staggering 20 or 25 times that size in just the last 200 years. Item 34. $1,000.