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By Duane A. Smith

The Eighteen Nineties have been a tumultuous decade in American historical past, with fiscal melancholy, warfare, heated politics, and exertions conflicts surrounding America?‚?’s emergence as an international energy. by contrast chaotic heritage, existence within the rowdy western mining city of Durango, Colorado, and the quiet agricultural hamlet of Sandwich, Illinois, worlds aside. In A story of 2 cities, historian Duane Smith takes a comparative examine Durango and Sandwich with the intention to make sure what existence used to be like in those small groups. His interesting learn, according to a detailed exam of papers, municipal documents, and private correspondence, bargains a distinct portrait of way of 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 generic to lifestyles in every one city this present day.

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Works such as Robert Dykstra's The Cattle Towns (1970), Carl Abbott's The Metropolitan Frontier (1993), Gunther Barth's Instant Cities (1975), Lionel Frost's The New Urban Frontier (1991), Lawrence Larson's The Urban West as the End of the Frontier (1978), Richard Francaviglia's Main Street Revisited (1996), and Bradford Luckingham's The Urban Southwest (1982), present research on Western towns with similar economic bases or compare larger cities. David Hamer's New Towns in the New World (1990) is a comparative study of nineteenth-century urban settlement in the West, the Canadian West, Australia, and New Zealand.

The world crashed in on previously insular towns like Durango and Sandwich. Change was at hand. S. history, an end and a beginning. Page xi The story of these two hometowns reflects that of thousands of similar late nineteenth-century communities scattered across the continent. The towns and their people embody a generation of Americans poised between a rural, inward-looking America and an urban, worldly America of a new and challenging century. They tell us much about ourselves and offer a fleeting look at the American soul.

Animas City's council refused to submit, so the railroad threatened to establish its own community somewhere farther south along the Animas River. The council did not yield; indeed, it scoffed at the railroad's effrontery. The Denver & Rio Grande did not bluff. When its tracks reached the area, it founded Durango, and its trains never stopped at Animas City, dooming the bypassed village to oblivion. Railroads thus gave birth to both Sandwich and Durango and shaped their early histories. The railroads brought the world to the towns, unlocked the door to prosperity, reduced travel time and costs, and tied the towns to the wholesale markets of Chicago and Denver.

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