Before cars became widespread, how frequent was long-distance land travel in the US by something other than trains/rail?

Dec 2011
4,808
Iowa USA
#2
Before cars became widespread, how frequent was long-distance land travel in the US by something other than trains/rail?
This thread could become a digression on John Ford films if you aren't careful?

But seriously... are you referring to the era immediately prior to the mass production of autos, about 1895-1915?
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
19,932
SoCal
#3
This thread could become a digression on John Ford films if you aren't careful?

But seriously... are you referring to the era immediately prior to the mass production of autos, about 1895-1915?
Yes, I am. Was long-distance land travel in the US back then still done by horses and carriages for people who didn't actually want to use trains/rail travel?
 
Dec 2011
4,808
Iowa USA
#5
Yes, I am. Was long-distance land travel in the US back then still done by horses and carriages for people who didn't actually want to use trains/rail travel?
I'm guessing that by '95 there were few people that had fear of rail travel, it would be rather like the "nervous type" which struggles at takeoff of a large airliner today. (There is some more rational reason for fear when flying a thirty or fifty seater, mind you.)
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
19,932
SoCal
#6
I'm guessing that by '95 there were few people that had fear of rail travel, it would be rather like the "nervous type" which struggles at takeoff of a large airliner today. (There is some more rational reason for fear when flying a thirty or fifty seater, mind you.)
What did those few actually do if they nevertheless wanted to travel large distances by land, though?
 
Jun 2017
340
maine
#7
In working on a local Civil War project, I have been surprised how many soldiers had been to the west coast before the War. Mostly they sailed around Cape Horn. After the war, they poured out of Maine (the soil is poor here--farming often was simply "re-arranging rocks"). This was true of all New England. The California regiments in the Civil War largely consisted of New Englanders.
 
Dec 2011
4,808
Iowa USA
#8
What did those few actually do if they nevertheless wanted to travel large distances by land, though?
They chose a more expensive means to get there is the relevant point. In a free market society, by '95 the incentives were already well-aligned in favor of rail.

BTW, have you had the chance to ever screen Orson Welles' "The Magnificent Ambersons"? In "Ambersons" one of the protagonists' fate was strongly affected by his distaste for autos, which becomes something of a manic obsession. Good movie.
 
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Aug 2018
446
Southern Indiana
#9
In working on a local Civil War project, I have been surprised how many soldiers had been to the west coast before the War. Mostly they sailed around Cape Horn. After the war, they poured out of Maine (the soil is poor here--farming often was simply "re-arranging rocks"). This was true of all New England. The California regiments in the Civil War largely consisted of New Englanders.
I was surprised that in reading about the fur traders in the Rocky Mountains, many of the scouts and guides were Indians from tribes in the Ohio Valley.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
19,932
SoCal
#10
They chose a more expensive means to get there is the relevant point.
Yes, but what was this more expensive means?

In a free market society, by '95 the incentives were already well-aligned in favor of rail.
Agreed.

BTW, have you had the chance to ever screen Orson Welles' "The Magnificent Ambersons"? In "Ambersons" one of the protagonists' fate was strongly affected by his distaste for autos, which becomes something of a manic obsession. Good movie.
I haven't checked out that film (and have never seen it), but I'll try to read more about it after I saw this post of yours. :)