A tale of two towns: a mining and a farming community in the by Duane A. Smith

By Duane A. Smith

The Nineties have been a tumultuous decade in American heritage, with fiscal melancholy, battle, heated politics, and exertions conflicts surrounding America?‚?’s emergence as a global strength. by contrast chaotic history, lifestyles within the rowdy western mining city of Durango, Colorado, and the quiet agricultural hamlet of Sandwich, Illinois, looked to be worlds aside. In A story of 2 cities, historian Duane Smith takes a comparative examine Durango and Sandwich so that it will ascertain what existence used to be like in those small groups. His attention-grabbing research, in response to an in depth exam of papers, municipal files, and private correspondence, bargains a special portrait of daily life in those cities. A story of 2 cities exhibits how small city existence a century in the past in those groups was once relatively comparable, and hauntingly conventional to lifestyles in each one city this day.

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Sandwich experienced some of the same troubles that afflicted other new communities: jealous neighbors (Somonauk, in particular), overblown expectations, and the financial panic of 1857 and subsequent national depression, which hurt both the railroad and the young towns along its route. That bane of all new towns, fire, struck in 1864, causing heavy losses. Nevertheless, the young community rebounded and rebuilt with stone and brick. Its faith in the future remained steady. Just how confident were its pioneers?

Sandwich Gazette, quoted in the Free Press, May 21, 1891. Statistics of the Population of the United States Tenth Census (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1883), 44, 56-57, 133, 387, 431, 504, 820. Jensen, Illinois, 77-78. Portrait and Biographical Album, 795-96, 873, 880-81. Cronon, Nature's Metropolis, 79, 97, 279-82, 326, 332-33, 369. Thomas J. Schlereth, Victorian America (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), 30-31. John H. Keiser, Building for the Centuries (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1977), 72, 74, 111 .

But she persisted and before going home on the midnight train two days later, found time to see " 'America' the grandest historical spectacle of the time. " Relaxing at home the next day, she concluded, "My mind is in a whirl. Such sights I have seen. " Another excited visitor could only recommend, "Sell the cookstove if necessary and come. " Sandwich and Durango both participated in the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, better known as the Chicago World's Fair. When Page xiv Congress passed an act in 1890 providing for an exhibition, the intent had been to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of Columbus's arrival.

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