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In keeping with the title of this site, "Twain's Geography", the main theme is description and discussion of the geographical nature of places visited and/or remarked on by Mark Twain. He lived during a time of significant environmental change, both physical and cultural . The world was rapidly becoming industrialized. In 1861 Sam Clemens and his brother Orion took a stage coach from St. Joseph, Missouri to Carson City, Nevada. In 1895, Sam took the train from Elmira, New York to Victoria, British Columbia. Then, traveled around the world by ship and by train, through the entire British Empire as it was then, to England.
Sam witnessed mining using a pick and shovel and a short time later, he witnessed hydraulic mining and large mechanically bored tunnels. He'd been to the Anaconda mines and witnessed the economic collapse of the silver mine bubble. One theme that runs through the entire site is railroads. We're always on the lookout for material that can contribute to these ideas.
In regards to the railroads, the American railroad lines are first identified by using the KML files from "Railroads and the Making of Modern America", a site developed by the University of Nebraska. See Map Inaccuracies in Railroad Sources for a discussion of their methodology and the difficulties in taking on such a task. Augmenting this source, I've downloaded the earliest USGS topographic maps in KML format for use with Google Earth.