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Description

Rare early map depicting Galveston, Houston & Henderson Railroad, almost certainly part of a prospectus prepared to raise investor funds for the railroad.

The map shows among the principal US rail road system (orange) the open rail road lines (orange) and dotted-orange for the ones under construction, and the ones proposed (blue). The state of Texas is coloured in pink and Illinois in blue. In lower right an inset map of Texas showing the open and under-construction "Galveston, Houston & Henderson" railroads. The map is one of the earliest railroad maps to show this line and one of the earliest railroad maps to focus on a Texas Railroad Line. The route of the Galveston, Houston & Henderson is shown as completed from Galveston to Houston, with a extension to Fredonia, in Rusk County in progress, The Houston - Harrisburg line is completed, but the continuation to St.Antonio River is in progress. The Houston Austin line is completed to Brazos River.

The Galveston, Houston, & Henderson Railroad was raising money in London and Paris in 1857, to finance expansion from Houston north to Fredonia. This map was lithographed in Paris by Kaeppelin, 17 Quai Voltaire, and probably accompanied the French bond prospectus. The first railroad map of Texas listed in Modelski is Modelski 551, Map of Texas showing the Sabine and Galveston Bay Railroad, 1859. The earliest in Day is the 1861 Map of the Buffalobayou (Day 135).

The Rosenberg Library has a map titled "Texas Etas Unis D'Amerique Trace du Chemin de Fer de Galveston a Houston et Henderson, " also lithographed in Paris. We were not able to trace any other examples of the map.

The Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railroad Company was chartered on February 7, 1853, to build from Galveston through Houston to Henderson. The early incorporators included W. C. Lacy, T. P. Anderson, R. A. Harris, and William M. Tuck. The company was an important carrier and, for a number of years, Galveston's only rail connection with the Texas railroad system centering at Houston. Although supported in Galveston and Houston, much of the early financing was provided by investors in Holland and France.

Construction of the "Old Reliable Short Line," as the road was later called, began at Virginia Point on the mainland opposite Galveston Island in 1854. However, the first rail was not laid until 1857 and in 1859 the company finally reached Houston, where it terminated at the corner of Main and McKinney. Only two curves, one on either side of Harrisburg, were required between Virginia Point and Houston. A trestle across Galveston Bay, built from the proceeds of a Galveston County bond issue, was finished in 1860, thus completing the rail line between the two cities.

The original company was sold out in 1860, and a new Galveston, Houston and Henderson was organized under the original charter. During the Civil War the railroad remained active, handling the traffic to and from the blockade runners reaching Galveston. The tracks and the Galveston Bay bridge were used by Gen. John B. Magruder in his recapture of Galveston on January 1, 1863. In 1867 the bondholders of the original company forced the railroad into receivership.