Wiggins Ferry Company
Wiggins Ferry Company
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Wiggins Ferry Company
February 14, 1872
Not completely legible
8 7/8" (w) by 5 1/8" (h)
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In 1819, Samuel Wiggins acquired some 900 acres of land along the Illinois banks of the Mississippi directly across from present day St. Louis, Missouri. The following year, Wiggins built a ferry-boat that ran on horse-power. Eight horses were used to turn a horizontal wheel that was connected to a paddle-wheel which propelled the boat.
In 1828, Wiggins made use of the first steam ferry-boat named the St. Clair. The business was sold in 1832 and incorporated as the Wiggins Ferry Company in 1853. The Wiggins Ferry Company not only operated a ferry business for individuals wanting to cross the Mississippi, but it also developed extensive yards, depots, warehouses, railroad tracks and elevators.
Eventually, the Wiggins Ferry Company became a major connecting point for the many railroads terminating at East St. Louis, Illinois, and St. Louis, Missouri. As the first bridge spanning the Mississippi River would not be completed until 1874, the only way to move train traffic over the river was by ferry car by car. By 1870, the Wiggins Ferry Company had established a rail-car ferry system, with inclines on both sides of the river, to move rail traffic over the Mississippi.
At the time of the formation of the Terminal Railroad Association in 1889, the original eight owner railroads owned a substantial interest in the Wiggins Ferry Company. When the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company, the only other stockholder of the Wiggins Ferry Company, was admitted to the Association in 1902, the Terminal Railroad Association gained complete control over the Wiggins Ferry Company.
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