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Map of the State of Texas published by the International and Gt. Northern Railroad

International and Great Northern Railroad
Buffalo, NY, 1881

The International and Great Northern Railroad produced this map as part of its publication, Homes In Texas on the Line of the International and Great Northern R.R. In addition to an exhaustive listing of lands available for sale in the state, with special attention paid to the nineteen counties served by the railroad route, this guidebook includes advice about the immigration process (referring newcomers to the I&GN-sponsored “Immigrant’s Home” in Palestine) and highlights the potential for those wishing to engage in “agricultural pursuits, manufacturing enterprises, stock-raising, or the profitable investment of capital.” It offers tips for successful agricultural ventures, and even suggests that the best time to move to Texas was October, though “any time from the first of September to the first of March will do for the emigrant.”[1] By providing potential migrants to Texas with information about available land and plentiful opportunities, I&GN sought to facilitate an influx of new residents whose brand loyalty would already be established.

The map supports the guidebook by presenting Texas as an ideal destination for immigrants, touting the benefits of state residency with the “International Lone Star Route.” Texas is the southernmost connection to routes that begin as far northeast as Quebec, Canada, showcasing the truly international nature of the railroad.[2] A thick red line designates I&GN’s route into Texas. It begins in the busy hub of St. Louis, Missouri and passes south through Arkansas before crossing the state line into Texarkana, Texas, marking the towns with railroad depots along the way.

From there, the route proceeds to the I&GN headquarters in Palestine, where it splits. The eastern line, formerly part of the Houston & Great Northern Railway, connects Palestine with Houston by way of Huntsville, and terminates at Columbia. The western line connects Palestine with Austin. According to the notation on the left side of the map, the completion of the line to San Antonio, which would also serve San Marcos and New Braunfels, was “confidently expected” by the winter of 1881. A dashed red line traveling southwest from San Antonio denotes a projected future connection with Mexico, thus linking all three countries occupying the North American continent.

A table shows mileage distances between major cities in Texas and other destinations throughout the country on the line, claiming a time-saving advantage for I&GN passengers over other railroads due to more direct route offerings. Another table lists the I&GN’s officers and the current and projected lines in Texas with their mileages, totaling 770 miles. The same year this map was published, the I&GN was leased to the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railway under the ownership of Jay Gould, enabling the railroad tycoon to exercise further control of transportation throughout the Southwest.[3]

[1] H.M. Moxie, Allen McCoy, Homes in Texas on the line of the International and Great Northern R.R., Buffalo: Matthews Bros. & Bryant “Morning Express” Printing House, 1881, Document #94093, Map Collection, Archives and Records Program, Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX.

[2] Going to Texas: Five Centuries of Texas Maps; Texas Maps from the Museum of the Big Bend, Sul Ross University: Yana and Marty Davis Map Collection (Fort Worth, TX: Texas Christian University Press, 2007), p.92.

[3] Handbook of Texas Online, George C. Werner, “INTERNATIONAL-GREAT NORTHERN RAILROAD,” accessed April 16, 2021, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/eqi04. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on April 10, 2017. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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Texas General Land Office

Official Account for the Texas General Land Office | Follow Commissioner George P. Bush on Twitter at @georgepbush. www.txglo.org