A Missouri Railroad Pioneer: The Life of Louis Houck by Joel P. Rhodes

By Joel P. Rhodes

Lawyer and journalist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Louis Houck is frequently known as the “Father of Southeast Missouri” simply because he introduced the railroad to the sector and opened this backwater region to industrialization and modernization. even though Houck’s identify is little recognized this present day outdoor Missouri, Joel Rhodes exhibits how his tale has relevance for either the kingdom and the nation.

Rhodes provides a extra entire photograph of Houck than has ever been on hand: reviewing his lifestyles from his German immigrant roots, contemplating his occupation from either social and political views, and grounding the tale in either kingdom and nationwide heritage. He in particular tells how, from 1880 to the Twenties, this self-taught railroader developed a community of 5 hundred miles of music during the wasteland of wetlands referred to as “Swampeast Missouri”—and how those “Houck Roads” supplied a lift for inhabitants, agriculture, lumbering, and trade that reworked Cape Girardeau and the encompassing area.

Rhodes discusses how Houck suits into the period of monetary individualism—a time whilst males with little formal education formed sleek industry—and additionally supplies voice to Houck’s critics and indicates that he used to be no longer continuously a simple guy to paintings with. In telling the tale of his railroading firm, Rhodes chronicles Houck’s conflict with the Jay Gould railroad empire and gives key perception into the advance of America’s railway approach, from the cutthroat practices of ruthless marketers to the often-comic ineptness of start-up rail lines.

More than just a biography of a enterprise entrepreneur, the e-book tells how Houck not just built the quarter economically but additionally the lead of Andrew Carnegie through making paintings, tradition, and formal schooling to be had to all social sessions. Houck additionally served for thirty-six years as president of the Board of Regents of Southeast Missouri country Teacher’s collage, and as a self-taught historian he wrote the 1st complete money owed of Missouri’s territorial period.

A Missouri Railroad Pioneer chronicles a multifaceted profession that remodeled a area. Solidly researched, this vigorous narrative additionally bargains an unique learn for an individual attracted to Missouri history.

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