Category: family

Narrative of a Private Soldier » Travel, 1862 (part 1)

Charles Lewis Francis traveled from Baltimore to Chicago in June of 1862, on the Baltimore & Ohio railroad. Here’s what his route would have looked like:

This is based on an 1860 map of the B&O Railroad available online at the Library of Congress. CLF reports that it took nearly 48 hours to make the trip. The same trip on Amtrak today would require a transfer in Washington, D.C., but would arrive in Chicago (on the Capitol Limited) in less than 24 hours, assuming no delays. Wikipedia reports that in 1861-1862, the B&O in the Cumberland valley was subject to disruption due to the war, so this may have added to his journey’s length. Additionally, according to the same Wikipedia article, the railroad bridge over the Ohio at Bellaire (or Bel-air, as CLF reports it) wasn’t completed until 1871, so CLF would have had to disembark in Wheeling, WV, and crossed the Ohio river some other way. CLF also reports passing through Columbus, but it’s not clear exactly which route was taken from there to Chicago. It’s possible that he passed through Dayton, Ohio, near where some of his descendants would one day reside.

It’s likely that CLF arrived in Chicago at the Illinois Central Depot, located where Millenium Station now stands, at the intersection of Madison and Michigan. In 1858, it looked like this:

This is a photo provided by the Chicago Historical Society. The white buildings behind the train tracks are grain elevators. All of this is underground now, under the Art Institute and Millennium Park. Here’s another view of the waterfront station, courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society, from an 1857 “birds-eye view” of the city. Note the train steaming in from the left (South) across what was then a breakwater, but is now Grant Park.

floridian notes

My sojurn in Citrus County, Florida is coming to an end.

sun set over king's bay

I’ve seen about a dozen manatees, a 8-foot alligator, and more retirees than you can shake a fist at. One of my favorite things down here is the “Eternity in hell is a long time!” billboard, which never fails to inspire a silent reverie in me, in the context of a holiday visit to my parents.

I’ll be returning to Chicago tomorrow, and not a moment too soon. From a balmy to me, but chilly for Florida, 56 today, it’s supposed to drop down into the 40s here tomorrow. I’m sure they’ll have to declare martial law here, as sweater riots are certain to break out among the snowbirds.

finally some truth about florida

Giblets reports on Florida

Florida has been in the news lately – and for something other than election fraud! – where millions of residents are once again battling the elements for the right to continue living in an overheated swamp infested with blood-sucking insects and killer reptiles.

I don’t want to say that I don’t like Florida, but I will say that on my “Most Favorite American States and Commonwealths” list, it’s down in the bottom two percent.

daylight hours are best

There is a probability greater than zero that my father will appear, in his kayak, in this live webcam picture.

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