A Mighty Fine Road
A History of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Company
Published by: Indiana University Press
342 pages, 6.12 x 9.25 x 1.00 in, 86 b&w illus.
- Published: October 2020
- Published: October 2020
The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad's history is one of big booms and bigger busts. When it became the first railroad to reach and then cross the Mississippi River in 1856, it emerged as a leading American railroad company. But after aggressive expansion and a subsequent change in management, the company struggled and eventually declared bankruptcy in 1915. What followed was a cycle of resurrections and bankruptcies; a grueling, ten-year, ultimately unsuccessful battle to merge with the Union Pacific; and the Rock Island's final liquidation in 1981. But today, long after its glory days and eventual demise, the "Mighty Fine Road" has left behind a living legacy of major and feeder lines throughout the country. In his latest work, railroad historian H. Roger Grant offers an accessible, gorgeously illustrated, and comprehensive history of this iconic American railroad.
1. Pioneer Railroad
3. Robber Barons
4. Rough Tracks
5. Farrington Era
6. Saving the Rock
7. Liquidation and Legacy
"From its storied birth to its sordid death, H. Roger Grant provides a complete history of the Rock Island, one of America's most famous – and infamous – railroads."~Albert Churella, Kennesaw State University, author of The Pennsylvania Railroad, Volume I: Building an Empire, 1846-1917.
"Roger Grant has once again hit a home run with his latest book, a detailed but readable history of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific, a major Midwestern railroad. Grant's narrative spans the Rock Island's many significant accomplishments as well as its several sad chapters, including a final one that included bankruptcy and liquidation. It was a time, as Grant vividly phrases it, when "off came the wheels." Well-chosen maps and photographs add to the value of a "mighty fine" book."~Carlos A. Schwantes, St. Louis Mercantile Library Professor Emeritus
"H. Roger Grant's A Mighty Fine Road presents a masterfully researched and written history of one of the nation's most important railroads. From its earliest days crossing Illinois, then the Mississippi River, to its ultimate demise in the 1980s, Grant fills a significant void by producing this authoritative history."~Thomas G. Hoback, Founder, President and CEO, Indiana Rail Road (Retired)
"A Mighty Fine Road lays out the amazing, yet heartbreaking history of the railroad I loved. The historical opportunities and disappointments of the Rock Island is clearly explained in Grant's book, with visionaries keeping the dream moving forward, yet damaged and constrained by greed and lack of vision with the next management regime."~Dan Sabin, President, Iowa Northern Railway Company