Most people don’t know and have no reason to know that tomorrow will be the 182nd anniversary of the charter of the B&O Railroad. However, for those of you who are either huge train nerds, or sort of huge train nerds and get the museums e-newsletter, you might think of this as a significant day.
There’s certainly a significance to the moment that a county decides to adopt a new technology. That’s what happened 182 years ago tomorrow. The B&O was the first big step in connecting the country by rail. It would be expensive and it would be very risky, but if executed, it would present many adantages over the prevailing systems of transporting goods west. It would also keep Baltimore relevant. Canals presented a threat of allowing imported goods to creep west from eastern cities in a cost efficient manner which was eroding the need for an inland port like Baltimore.
So, on February 28th, 1827, the B&O ralroad was formed. However, this isn’t the date that most people associate with the railroad. This moment was so important for not just Baltimore, but the entire country that, one year later when the plans were ready to build the railroad, there was a very specific day chosen for the laying of the first stone. If you are a train nerd or a historical preservation nerd, you might know this more popular date becasue its enscribed in the first stone itself: July Fourth, 1828.