The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000

Book Reviews

jetties. Even after the jetty system was determined to be the most effective,
attempts at using the gabion, a technique that had been used in fortifications, was
eventually abandoned in favor of using sandstone topped by granite rising
approximately five feet above the water. By 1895, after four years of work, the
depth of the channel was twenty feet, and it reached twenty-five feet, the initial
objective in 1897, the year the Corps of Engineers considered the jetties finished.
The city funded the early efforts through bonds, but quickly turned to the fed-
eral government as the scope of the project widened. After receiving "dribbles"
through the 187os and early 188os, the city, with strong support from the state,
made an effort to secure funding for a proposal by Capt. James B. Eads. The pro-
posal ran into opposition from representatives from Philadelphia, New York,
and Chicago who were successful in stopping it. Success came in September
1890 when Congress approved $500,000 for the initial phase of construction
with the promise of future appropriations to complete the project.
Young integrates into the narrative the development of railroad connections
to the midwest and California. Once the channel was finished, Galveston not
only became the leading cotton port in the United States, but was third in wheat
and seventh in corn exports.
Young makes extensive use of various sources including newspaper, govern-
ment documents, and manuscript collections.
Universzty of Texas at San Antonio DWIGHT F. HENDERSON
Tracks to the Sea: Galveston and Western Razlroad Development, x866-x9oo. By Earle
B. Young. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1999. Pp. xi+157.
Illustrations, preface, conclusion, epilogue, notes, bibliography, index.
$29.95, cloth.)
The industrial revolution "came to Texas in the form of railroads," notes for-
mer army engineer and NASA official Earle B. Young at the start of this shrewd
study (p. 3). Railroads modernized Texas by opening an unprecedented amount
of it to commercial agriculture and by accelerating the concentration of popula-
tion and power in cities, which emerged where railroads intersected, or as in
Galveston's case, where they met the sea. The main plot of this book surrounds
Galveston's effort to avoid dependence on Wall Street, Boston, or San Francisco
financiers by constructing the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad. Chartered
in May 1873, the "GC&SF" was intended to connect with the myriad routes plot-
ted across Texas during Reconstruction and thereby capture trade from
Colorado, the Great Plains, and even California.
The depression that began in the fall of 1873 nearly foiled Galveston's ambi-
tions, despite the town's having put together the largest locally financed railroad
building effort in Texas history. In 1879, with a mere sixty miles of track com-
plete, a syndicate led by George Sealy of the controversial Wharf Company fami-
ly purchased Galveston County's $500oo,ooo investment for $io,ooo. Sealy
renewed construction and reached Fort Worth by 1881. Galveston, however,
now faced a challenge to its commercial autonomy from railroad baron Jay
Gould, who acquired the GC&SF's rival link from the island city to the main-
land, the Galveston, Houston, and Henderson Railroad, which Gould integrated

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 103, July 1999 - April, 2000. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101220/. Accessed December 29, 2014.