Friday, August 23, 2019

Building America's Transcontinental Railway

At the same time as the American railroads were being constructed in the Nineteenth Century the new technology of photography was also being developed. The railroads made good use of this new technology to document and promote their drive to build routes from the east to west coast. Which is why the Library of Congress has been able to combine vintage maps and photographs in this story map exploring the construction of America's transcontinental railroad in the years 1863–69.

As you progress through the Camera and Locomotive story map you can view the vintage pictures captured by a number of different photographers in the construction of the railroad. A number of different maps are used, including a couple of vintage maps, to show the route that the rail companies used to build a transcontinental railway. On these maps colored markers are used to show the location of the geotagged vintage photos. The colors of these markers reflect the different photographers who captured each picture and you can click on the individual markers to actually view a photograph.

After the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad led the race to link the east coast to the Pacific. The early photographs in the Library of Congress' story map both document the work of these two companies and help reveal the beauty of the difficult terrain that they railroad companies were trying to conquer.

1 comment:

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