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What was known as the Rock Island & La Salle Rail Road Company, officially incorporated on February 27, 1847, would work in conjunction with canal and riverboat operators to move freight and passengers into Chicago.

Unfortunately, this ambitious lot did not have the needed funding to begin construction right away, the bane of so many such projects.

As the M&M languished its competitors, notably the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy and Chicago & North Western, eyed their own extension to Council Bluffs while expanding in other directions far beyond the Windy City.

However, just as quickly work slowed considerably due to financing and a national recession.The company's history began like so many others in the Midwest, launched in the mid-19th century to help a small town reach its potential.According to Bill Marvel's wonderful title, "," a group of businessmen spent an evening in June of 1845 planning a railroad of 75 miles to link Rock Island, Illinois (across the Mississippi River from Davenport, Iowa) with La Salle.Roger Grant) points out, the M&M also planned branches to Muscatine and the Minnesota border via Cedar Rapids; the former opened on November 20, 1855 but the latter was not reached until some years later.Within two years of reaching Rock Island the Mississippi River was bridged and direct service into Davenport, Iowa opened on April 23, 1856.

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