Arrival of the Chicago - Rock Island Railroad

The opening of the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad was celebrated with much rejoicing in Rock Island on February 22, 1854. The Rock Island Advertiser published the following article the next morning:

It is done! The tocsin of Progress and Enterprise has sounded its march from the Atlantic to the beautiful shores of the Mississippi at Rock Island. The first train of cars arrived at this city, on yesterday, at 5 o'clock, P.M.

We were on the ground at an early hour, prepared to see and rejoice with the thousands who were there collected. Amid the acclamations of a multitude that no man could number, and the roar of artillery, making the very heavens tremble, punctual to the moment, the iron horse appeared in sight, rolling along with a slow yet mighty motion to the depot. after him followed a train of six passenger cars crammed to the utmost with proud and joyful guests, with waving flags and handkerchiefs, and whose glad voices re-echoed back the roar of greeting with which they were received.--Then came another locomotive and train of five passenger cars, equally crowded and decorated. This splendid pageant came to a stop in front of the depot, and the united cheers of the whole proclaimed to the world that the end was attained, and the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad was opened through for travel and business.

The guests were appropriately received at the depot by committees appointed for that purpose, when J. J. Beardsley, Esq., in behalf of the city of Rock Island, arose and in an eloquent and imposing manner pronounced... "The event that has called forth this demonstration, is none other than the fact that on this day the coast of the Atlantic Ocean has been bound to the shores of the Mississippi River, with bands of iron."

On March 1, 1854, William Brackett, Esq., published remarks about John Buford's role in this event in the Rock Island Advertiser.

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