Iron Horses in the Valley is the story of two Virginia railroads, the Valley and the Shenandoah Valley, organized in 1866 and 1867, respectively. Each company’s purpose was to provide reliable rail transportation for the agricultural and manufactured products of the Shenandoah Valley, thereby facilitating its recovery from the economic devastation of the Civil War. In the course of organizing, the Shenandoah Valley made an alliance with the Pennsylvania Railroad, and teh Valley made an alliance with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
Iron Horses in the Valley provides a history of these railroads from the granting of their charters until 1882. Each history describes the activities of the men who organized, planned, financed, and constructed each railroad; the reasons one succeeded; the reasons the other failed; and finally, the impact their competition had on the development of the Roanoke Valley and the transformation of the village of Big Lick into Roanoke, the Magic City.