The first rail line west of the Mississippi was said to have been the 1849 railroad switch-back that ran from the Missouri River to this spot on Independence Square. Short lived, this rail line carried passengers between the Independence-Wayne City River Landing and Independence Square. This innovative mode of transportation was not a locomotive nor horsepower, but it was a wheeled coach, or wagon, pulled along rails by Missouri mules.
This ‘train’ was powered by two mules, one in lead of the other. Construction had begun in 1848. The track was made of steel-faced wooden timbers laid lengthwise, just as iron rails were later used. The wheels of the cars, too, were of wood. The railroad was nearly complete by the time the Missouri Assembly approved the act creating the "Independence and Missouri River Rail Road Company." The five-page, 24-paragraph act begins, "Whereas, it has been represented to the General Assembly that Lewis Jones, Samuel H. Woodson, John Parker, George W. Buchanan, Samuel D. Lucas, Wm. B. Hay, John McMurry, and others, of Jackson County, have associated themselves into a company for the purpose of constructing a railroad, hereinafter designated; and whereas, it has been further represented that the said company have already expended a large amount of money in commencing and have nearly completed said rail road, and that the interests of the citizens of the country as well as the objects of the company would be advanced by creating a body corporate.. . "
The train terminated at Independence Square at a station once located where Dave’s Deli is today (2015) and a historical marker commemorates this historic, local fact with national significance.
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