The Dubuque & Pacific Railroad was chartered on April 28, 1853, by several Dubuque businessmen who wanted to extend their trade territory inland from the Mississippi River. Assisting in the railroad company’s organization were officers of the Illinois Central Railroad — whose tracks, then under construction, would reach the Mississippi River at a point just opposite Dubuque. Roswell B. Mason,the Illinois Central’s chief engineer, served also as the Dubuque & Pacific’s engineer-inchief. In 1855 Mason would quit that job to head the construction company hired to build the Dubuque & Pacific’s tracks across Iowa.

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