Edwards' annual directory to the inhabitants, institutions, incorporated companies, business, business firms, manufacturing establishments, etc., in the city of Saint Louis
Historical And Commercial Review. 901
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The structure whose arches will bear the transit of a continental com-
merce, should vie with the great works of all time, and be a monument
to distant ages of the triumph of civil engineering and the material
glory of the Great Republic.

The initial steps for the erection of a bridge across the Missouri at
St. Charles have already been taken. The work should be pushed for-
ward with untiring energy to its consummation.

The facilities which our city elevator affords for the movement of
cereals, have given rise to a new system of transportation. The Missis-
sippi Valley Transportation Company has been organised for the con-
veyance of grain to New Orleans in barges. Steam tugs of immense
strength have been built for the use of the company. They carry no
freight. They are simply the motive power. They save delay by
taking fuel for the round trip. Landing only at the large cities, they stop
barely long enough to attach a loaded barge. By this economy of time
and steady movement, they equal the speed of steamboats. The Mo-
hawk made its first trip from St. Louis to New Orleans in six days with
ten barges, in tow. The management of barges is precisely like that
of freight cars. The barges are loaded in the absence of the tug. The
tug arrives, leaves a train of barges, takes another and proceeds. The
tug itself is always at work. It does not lie at the levee while the
barges are loading. Its longest stoppage is made for fuel. The service
of the steam tug requires but few men and the cost of running is rela-
tively light.

In addition to the ordinary precautions against fire, the barges have
this unmistakable advantage over steamboats—they can be cut adrift
from each other, and the fire restricted to the narrowest limits. The
barges are very strongly built, and have water-tight compartments for
the movement of grain in bulk. The transportation of grain from Min-
nesota to New Orleans, by water, costs no more than the freightage from
the same point to Chicago. After the erection of a floating elevator
at New Orleans, a boat load of grain from St. Paul will not be handled
again until it reaches the Crescent city. At that point it will be trans-
ferred by steam to the vessel which will convey it to New York or
Europe.

This new scheme of conveying freight by barges bids fair to revolu-
tionize the whole carrying trade of our western waters. It will mate-
ally lessen the expense of heavy transit, and augment the commerce of
the Mississippi river in proportion to the reduction it effects in the cost
of transportation. The improvement which facilitates the carriage of
our cereals to market, and makes it more profitable to the farmer to sell
his grain than burn it, is a national benefit. This enterprise, which
may yet change the channel of cereal transportation, shows what great
results a spirit of progressive energy may accomplish.