View of the Burning of the Cumberland Valley Rail Road Bridge at Harrisburg, Decr. 4th, 1844

Title

View of the Burning of the Cumberland Valley Rail Road Bridge at Harrisburg, Decr. 4th, 1844

Creator

Mrs. T. Schreiner
American, active mid-19th century
Published in 1845 by Hickok & Cantine

Description

Although chartered in 1831, the Cumberland Valley Railroad Company didn’t complete its first span of track, between White Hill (just west of Harrisburg) and Carlisle, until August 1837. Service was extended further south to Chambersburg later that year, and in 1839, a bridge across the Susquehanna River was completed, allowing trains to travel into Harrisburg proper. Railroads could be risky ventures. The Cumberland Valley Railroad Company was already heavily in debt when the financial panic of 1837 initiated a seven-year depression. To add to the railroad’s troubles, the bridge at Harrisburg burned—the event captured here—in 1844. It was not until 1850 that the company began to show a profit. In 1859, the Pennsylvania Railroad gained oversight of the line, and purchased it outright in 1919.

Hickok & Cantine was a Harrisburg business, formed in 1839 by William Orville Hickok (decidedly not, as printed here, Hickock) and John J. Cantine, which specialized in book binding and publishing.

Adapted from the entry written by Judith Hansen O’Toole for the 1980 Pennsylvania Prints exhibition catalogue.

Contributor

Palmer Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University, Partial gift and purchase from John C. O’Connor and Ralph M. Yeager

Identifier

86.688

Source

John C. O'Connor and Ralph M. Yeager Collection, Palmer Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University

Rights

This image is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. Other uses are not permitted.

Format

Lithograph with hand coloring; 11-15/16 x 15-7/8 in. (30.3 x 40.3 cm)

Coverage

United States, Pennsylvania, Dauphin (county), Harrisburg