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NEWS OF 150 YEARS AGO

January-February 1860

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, January 11, 1860.

DOWN THE IRON MOUNTAIN RAILROAD.

Editors of the Missouri Democrat:

Aboard the cars January 7th, 1860, for the Iron Mountain. Three cars filled with passengers; twelve miles-Jefferson barracks. Uncle Sam is said to own 1,700 acres of lands, connected with these buildings. The grounds are handsomely laid out, and ornamented with buildings. Why not the citizens of St. Louis purchase, or procure by donation, this ground, for a great public "River Park" to be improved similar to the great central park of New York, now being made? ? St. Louis must have a resort of this kind, either directly west of the city, or above or below on the river. Now is the time to secure the grounds, each year that is delayed the land becomes so much more valuable, and difficult of purchase in large bodies. The expense of the New York central park, will be many millions of dollars. The purchase was 700 acres of rocky land in the upper central part of the Island, and this is being improved and ornamented in the most beautiful and expensive manner, avenues lined with elms, for military parades, serpentine walks, bordered by beautiful shrubbery, cascades, lakes, miniature mountains, valleys, hills, creeks, and in fact a miniature representation of the whole physical geography of nature. There are to be seventy miles of carriage ways, and several hundred miles of walks in this park. These walks and roads are being made by blasting down beds of solid granite. The cross streets are in deep cuts, to be spanned by ornamental bridges-an observatory and other buildings are to be added, and, when finished, this park will be not only an ornament to the city, but a donation to the artistic beauty of the whole country. Last spring about five hundred workmen were employed on this park, and ten or twelve years will probably be required to finish it. The love of the homestead goes with a man through all latitudes. After Anthony had exhausted the language of the Romans in his eulogy of Caesar, he added, "He hath left you all his walks, his private arbors, and new planted orchards on this side of the Tiber; he had left them to you and your heirs for ever; common pleasures, to walk abroad and recreate yourselves." This moved the populace to revolution against the conspirators, and showed the great love of the people for the public grounds. There could probably be no better investment by the city, than this spring to select the grounds for a great central park, to be improved with carriage ways, walks, fountains, and an observatory, and other public buildings. This park should contain from two to three thousand acres of land, and, when completed, be the “garden spot” of the Mississippi Valley.

The influence of such a park on the people of a great city is to make them feel that they are freeholders, and own part of the lands, trees, and shrubbery of the public grounds.

Met a man on the cars who is shipping considerable quantities of stable manures by the railroad. He says he raised 1,200 bushels of potatoes last year on five acres of land, in Jefferson county, and sold part for sixty cents, and the balance for one dollar per bushel.

Met a nursery man, who says he is selling considerable quantities of peach and apple trees along the road, and says one man has planted nine thousand peach trees near the railroad. The writer, two years ago, through the Democrat, pointed out the superiority of this part of Missouri for fruit growing.

Victoria-twenty minutes to supper. This is one of the spots to be pleasantly remembered by the traveler. The Espey family may be said to know how to make their patrons feel agreeable, and to provide for the inner man, both artistically and substantially.

Mineral Point-Dropped some passengers for the Potosi branch. Considerable of pig lead, the staple of this district, seen ready to ship.

Irondale-This is one of the pleasant looking spots on the Iron Mountain Railroad. Messrs. Scott & Co. have just completed a new Iron furnace to smelt the rich hematite iron ores of this district. Very rich lead, copper and zinc mines are said to abound in this vicinity, and the time is probably not far distant when the furnace fires, to reduce all these ores to metal, will here be in blast.

Seven o'clock, P. M.-The next turn brings us in view of the three furnaces at the Iron Mountain. These pour out sheets of flame in the darkness and distance, making one think of his Plutonic majesty's dominions.

Middle Brook.-A thriving little town, comes next. Another blast from the iron horse and we reach the Pilot Knob, the present end of the road. The Knob rears its iron crest 500 feet above the surrounding villages-its outline looking in the darkness like one of the mammoth pyramids of Cheops. Two furnaces here shoot out sheets of flame.

Stage one mile to Ironton, a thriving village. Ironton House-this popular hotel has recently been purchased by Aug. Aubuchon, of Fredericktown, who is moving in; and the traveling public may look to be well cared for at the Ironton House.

J.V.P.

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