How Cities Won the West: Four Centuries of Urban Change in by Carl Abbott

By Carl Abbott

Towns instead of person pioneers were the driver within the cost and monetary improvement of the western 1/2 North the United States. in the course of the 17th, eighteenth, and 19th centuries, western city facilities served as beginning issues for conquest and payment. As those frontier towns matured into metropolitan facilities, they grew from imitators of japanese tradition and outposts of jap capital into self sufficient assets of financial, cultural, and highbrow change.From the Gulf of Alaska to the Mississippi River and from the binational city of San Diego-Tijuana to the Prairie Province capitals of Canada, Carl Abbott explores the advanced city background of western Canada and the U.S.. The evolution of western towns from stations for exploration and armed forces career to modern access issues for migration and parts of a world economic climate reminds us that it really is towns that "won the West." And this present day, as cultural swap more and more strikes from west to east, Abbott argues that the city West represents a brand new middle from which rising styles of habit and altering customs can assist to form North the USA within the twenty-first century.

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For one example, Omaha got its initial jump start by grabbing the Nebraska territorial capital in 1855 from other tiny towns. Congress designated Council Bluffs, Iowa, which had prospered in the 1850s by supplying 44 | chap t e r t w o overland travelers heading to California, to be the eastern terminus of the first transcontinental railroad. Without a bridge, however, supplies and construction materials had to be ferried across the river, making Omaha the effective staging point for railroad work and then the permanent headquarters of the Union Pacific.

The end product of the contests—in addition to a long sequence of negotiations, treaties, and territorial exchanges—was a loosely woven net of small but important cities that began to encircle the western half of North America. 22 | chap t e r o n e Few of these places were physically imposing. They were smaller than the West Atlantic cities by an order of magnitude, with 500 to 2,000 people rather than 5,000 to 20,000. The number of “European” settlers in their backcountry could be counted in the thousands, not the hundreds of thousands.

Only five of these places had even existed fifty years earlier—San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Galveston, and Houston. Twentieth-century data show the results of continuing migration to western North America and the consolidation of the region’s economy. In 1940, just before massive mobilization for World War II introduced a third era of urban development, 71 percent of Californians were city dwellers. The states of Colorado, Washington, and Utah and the territory of Hawaii had also passed 50 percent.

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