Railroads Are to the Country What Streets Are to the Citizens

November 10, 1870


Richmond needs railraods, as argued by this article, as railroads will propel Richmond forward in commerce, manufacturing, agriculture, and population.


Modern history demonstrates that those State have most rapidly advanced which most liberally constructed extensive systems of improvements. Thus those communities checked off in all directions by railroads have with giant stride increased in commerce, manufactures, agriculture, and population. These are conceded results attending such modern improvements. Like improved agricultural implements, they have only to be studied and known practically to sweep away all opposition to their universal use. Certainly it is too late seriously to argue the wide-spreading advantages flowing from a wisely-arranged system of railroads. From our most populous interior cities they radiate in all directions, thus making them focal points of attraction, inviting by their facilities both trade and travel from all sections of the country. In the Northwestern States passing North, South, East, and West, checking off in squares its agricultural, mineral, and manufacturing districts, they reenergise the entire community, augment production, advance civilization by promoting social as well as business intercourse between remote localities. Let the citizens of Richmond study the railroad system of the Western State - examine railroad maps of New England and of Georgia. Behold how those thrifty - because bold and enterprising - communities turn all things to good account. Let the timid property-holder - the tardy, wedded-to-old habits, and the despondent croaker - repose on "old-fogyism." It is a couch suitable for "do-nothings," where big with conceits, they can fully ventilate fully exploded dogmas, and demonstrate their capacity sometimes to act as brakesmen, but never as the engineers to direct the locomotive. The modern business men, the rising young men, the enterprising manufacturers, the enlightened professional men, must all admit that Richmond sleeps - that her noble energies lie dormant - that inertia has thrown its gloomy pall over her limbs, mind, and body. How long will she listlessly sleep under such deadening indigences? Norfolk has her Mahone, Alexandria her Barbour; but to whom will Richmond point as their peer? Who has the, will, spirit, dash, and mind to conceive and, lead in great undertakings? When the race is run, and success crowns the efforts of those who dared to prepare for the contest, the kill-joys, the do-nothings, and the croakers, no longer luxuriating in a state of inglorious dubiety, will sweep hither and yonder, like bats amidst the crumbling walls of a deserted city, cheering departed greatness with the sad cry of "illium fuit." Who so fallen as to decline to identify his name and means in all public efforts calculated to advance the prosperity of Richmond? Who so reckless as to place his dictum in opposition to the necessities of the country, the prosperity of the city, and the experience of modern limes? The direct southwestern trade is to Richmond a "sine qua non." Will she grasp it? The northwestern trade you will get. Is Richmond aspiring only to be a northside city, or will she nobly dare to be the great central focal point of trade, manufactures, and population? Let that be her aim. Let her put forth her energies and boldy contend for the prize. Young men of Richmond, rally to the rescue! Arouse and win success. May you inscribe your names amongst the architects of her future good fortune.
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Contributed By

Travis Terry




“Railroads Are to the Country What Streets Are to the Citizens,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed August 8, 2022, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/1881.