Tootin' Louie: A History of the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway

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The Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway (M&StL), affectionately known as the Tootin' Louie, was founded in 1870 to serve a Minneapolis business community threatened by powerful railway interests emerging from both Chicago and Milwaukee. Although its goal of providing a direct rail artery to St. Louis proved elusive, the M&StL became a 1,600-mile road that supplied essential freight and passenger carriage to the Midwest over its ninety-year existence. In The Tootin' Louie, railroad historian Don L. Hofsommer offers a comprehensive biography of the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway and its Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, and Illinois service areas from the dawn of the steamcar civilization into the post-World War II era. Incorporating an extraordinary collection of primary research documents, including station records and dispatchers' reports, Hofsommer brings the M&StL to life by vividly portraying the lives and times of the people involved in the railroad. His conversational style allows the reader to virtually see the workers, hear their stories, and sense their disappointments. The Tootin' Louie showcases the human dimension of railroading, emphasizing that the M&StL was long-lived primarily due to the loyalty of the communities and companies it served. Also a chronicle of business in the upper Midwest, this book reveals how the M&StL carried flour, lumber, even movie reels and beer between states and was often transportation for family reunions and other recreational excursions. Deeply connected to the Upper Midwest, the railroad company prospered and suffered with the communities it served. Essential reading for railway buffs and transportation historians nationwide, The Tootin' Louie is the ultimate guide to the M&StL and its place in an era of economic, social, and industrial change.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816643660
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
  • Publication date: 12/21/2004
  • Pages: 396
  • Sales rank: 1,151,177
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Don L. Hofsommer is professor of history at St. Cloud State University. He is the author of, among many other books, The Southern Pacific, 1901-1985, and coauthor of The Great Northern Railway: A History (Minnesota, 2004).

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Table of Contents

Contents Preface List of Acronyms and Shortened Names 1. Expectancy 2. Lethargy, Euphoria, and Panic 3. Albert Lea at Last 4. Optimism and Realism 5. The Great Rock Island Route 6. Independent Again 7. The Little Harriman 8. The Newest and the Best 9. It Will Be a Hummer 10. Everything from Caskets to Corsets 11. Struggling among the Titans 12. Sweet and Sour 13. Hard Times in Good Times 14. Soldiering On 15. Mean and Ugly 16. Frey and Dismemberment 17. Reason for Hope? 18. Free at Last 19. Don't You Know There's a War On? 20. Sprague and Prosperity 21. Sprague at the Throttle 22. The Ides of May 23. Halting Steps 24. Days of Red and White 25. Valhalla 26. Under a Green and Yellow Flag Appendix: List of M and StL Stations and Other Places Mentioned Notes Index

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2005

    The Great American Railroad Book

    I have read and collected books related to railroad history for almost 40 years, but I have never been as impressed by a rail book as this one. The author offers the perfect blend of technological and business history with the human side of railroading. When I first heard of the work I wondered why there was any need for it. Francis Donovan had written one of the great train books about the same subject, the Minneapolis & Saint Louis, back in the Fifties. Why not just reprint 'Mileposts on the Prairie'? But after reading Dr Hofsomer's work I now know why he did it. A new perspective and new sources bring so much more. If you love trains, or Minnesota history, or if you ever worked on a railroad and liked it, you will love this book. Well written, comprehensive, fun and foot-noted. Even the scholars should love this one. Read it. Stat.

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