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Illinois Central Locomotive, The 'Mississipi'
Illinois Central Locomotive, The 'Mississipi'
Resource Typeimage
TitleIllinois Central Locomotive, The 'Mississipi'
Coverage / Year1834
DescriptionThe 'Mississippi' is a relatively small locomotive, even for its day. The locomotive's smokestack is twelve feet high, seven feet wide, and fourteen feet long. Behind the locomotive's engine is a flatcar that is seven feet wide and eight feet long. This flat car carried the locomotive's firewood and water. Both the locomotive and flatcar are painted black with white trim. The mechanical features of the 'Mississippi' are standard for steam locomotives built until the end of the steam era in the mid-twentieth century. These features include a separate firebox with the smokestack and a direct connection of cylinders mounted horizontally to coupled driving wheels.
InterpretationThe 'Mississippi' was built in the 1830s. The nineteenth century was an era of rapid locomotive development and railroad expansion around the world. Although extensively rebuilt, the Mississippi retains the fundamental features of locomotive design from the 1830s. The exact origin of the 'Mississippi' is unknown. Evidence suggests that Braithwaite and Milner built its components in England in 1834. Dunham and Company of New York City assembled all the imported train components around 1836. Operating from Natchez, Mississippi (a port city on the Mississippi River), the 'Mississippi' locomotive was apparently built for service on a short railroad line. The railroad company quickly ran into financial difficulties. It was purchased by another railroad company and used to deliver cotton on a line near Vicksburg, Mississippi. During the Civil War it is likely that the locomotive transferred Confederate troops and supplies to Vicksburg during the Union Army's siege of the city. After the Civil War, the locomotive operated on a short line between Vicksburg and Warrenton, Mississippi. It reportedly derailed in 1874 near Warrenton and was submerged in the mud and left forgotten. J.A. Hoskins purchased the damaged locomotive and its line in 1880. He cleaned and repaired the 'Mississippi', and, with his son, operated it on a rail line near Brookhaven, Illinois. After the Illinois Central Railroad purchased his rail lines in 1891, J.A. Hoskins donated the Mississippi to the railroad as an historical display. The 'Mississippi' traveled under its own steam from Mississippi to Chicago in 1893 to be featured at the World's Columbian Exposition in Jackson Park. After the 1893 fair, The 'Mississippi' was housed in the building that had been the fair's Art Palace and later became the Museum of Science and Industry. After being refurbished, the historic locomotive was displayed at A Century of Progress, Chicago's World's Fair of 1933-1934. The locomotive was installed in the Museum of Science and Industry in 1938.
Lesson Plans / ThemesHow we learn about communities; Antebellum Society and the Civil War; Exploring The Columbian Exposition
Learning Standards16 History; 10-12 Science; 13 Science, Technology and Society; 17 Geography;
Author or CreatorBraithwaite and Milner; Dunham and Company
SourceMuseum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Accession file #33.69
Subject / KeywordsRailroads; Locomotives; Illinois Central Railroad; Steam locomotives; Rail transportation; World's Fair; Columbian Exposition; A Century of Progress; Civil War; United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865; Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois;
Collection PublisherMuseum of Science and Industry, Chicago;
Further InformationFor any further information related to this record, please contact the Collection Publisher. See for more information about this project.
Rights Management Statement
Resource Identifier33.69
CONTENTdm file name1549181982002_MISSISSI.jpg
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