QUINCY, Massachusetts, a historic town about eightmiles south of Boston, is distinguished the world over as the home of presidents, for here John Adamsand John Quincy Adams were born. Shipbuilding, too,has spread the fame of this delightful old town. Manyare familiar with the fine granite which for over a centuryhas been quarried here, but few are aware of the importantpart that Quincy has played in the awakening of Americato a new era in transportation. On the morning of October7, 1826, at Quincy, the first railroad in America was opened,and under the direction of a young engineer by the nameof Gridley Bryant, the first cars drawn by horses passedover it, carrying huge blocks of granite from the BunkerHill Quarry to a wharf on the Neponset River, a distanceof two and three-quarters miles.
The Granite Railway Company of Quincy, Massachusetts, take pleasure in presenting to you with their compliments a history of the First Railroad in America which has been prepared incommemoration of the One Hundredth Anniversary.
In 1829, William Jackson, who was probably the originaladvocate of government ownership of railroads in thiscountry, delivered an address before the MassachusettsCharitable Mechanic Association in favor of the Stateissuing bonds to build and own a railroad between Bostonand Albany. He cited the success of the Granite Railwayand said in his opinion nothing could so effectually developcommerce and communication between heretofore separateand remote districts. Many other men were quick torecognize the advantages of a railroad, and it was not longbefore the fame of the first railroad in America had spreadthroughout the country.
For typical statements concerning the Granite Railway as the first in the United States and for correct engineering details of the line see: Boston Daily Advertiser, 16 March, 9 October 1826; C.H. Snow, A Geography of Boston (Boston, 1830), p. 159; F.C. Gamst, ed., Early American Railroads: Franz Anton Ritter von Gerstner's Die innern Communicationen (1842-1843), 2 vols. (Stanford, Calif., 1997 [1842-43]), vol. 1, p. 295. H.V. Poor, History of the Railroads and Canals of the United States of America, 3 vols. (New York, 1860), vol. 1, pp. 85, 415; Granite Railway Company, The First Railroad in America: A History of the Origin and Development of the Granite Railway at Quincy, Massachusetts (Quincy, Mass., 1926); 'Celebration of America's First Railway', Bulletin R&LHS no. 12 (1926), pp. 6-9; J.E. Lee, 'America's Very First Railroad', Trains, 35, no. 6 (1975), pp. 28-32.