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 the 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.
About the author: John R. Hildebrand is a civil engineering graduate of Virginia Tech. His civil engineering career spanned more than 40 years and involved many highway, airport, railroad, and rapid transit projects. His engineering background and interest in the history of the Shenandoah Valley and southwest Virginia led to his research into the early histories of the Valley and Shenandoah Valley Railroads. Mr. Hildebrand is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil War Engineers and the author of Iron Horses in the Valley: The Valley and Shenandoah Valley Railroads, 1866-1882; The Life and Times of John Brown Baldwin, 1820-1873: A Chronicle of Virginia’s Struggle with Slavery, Secession, Civil War, and Reconstruction; and A Mennonite Journal, A Father’s Account of the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley, 1862-1865.