Steam City: Railroads, Urban Space, and Corporate Capitalism in Nineteenth-Century Baltimore
Editor: Dr David Schley, Assistant Professor, Department of History
Steam City tells the story of corporate capitalism starting from the street and moving outward, looking at how the rise of the railroad altered the fabric of everyday life in the United States.
As railroad executives wrangled with city officials over their use of urban space, they formulated new ideas about the boundaries between public good and private profit. Ultimately, they reinvented The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad as a private enterprise. This bold reconception had implications not only for the people of Baltimore, but for the railroad industry as a whole.
Steam City examines how the birth and spread of the American railroad—which brought rapid communications, fossil fuels, and new modes of corporate organization to the city—changed how people worked, where they lived, even how they crossed the street. As Dr David Schley makes clear, we still live with the consequences of this spatial and economic order today.