Railroads and railroad politics were the key to Winneshiek County communities' boom or bust futures in the late 18th century, concludes a Luther College student who researched and published a book on the county's railroad history. Luther College junior Ian Schacht's book, "Railroad History of Winneshiek County," was published June 29.
Schacht, the son of Ron and Denise Schacht of Kensett, Iowa, is majoring in chemistry at Luther. He is a 2008 graduate of Northwood Kensett High School.
"Railroad History of Winneshiek County" was published by Xlibris Corporation and can be purchased in the Luther Book Shop, from the Winneshiek County Historical Society, on http://www.amazon.com and http://www.BarnesandNoble.com. It can be purchased in soft cover or eBook format.
Schacht's book examines the history of the railroads in Winneshiek County and how the railroads "played a fundamental role in bringing the business, prosperity, and commerce in Winneshiek County," said Schacht.
The planning, construction and operation of the railroad lines brought hope, investment, development and change to communities in America's heartland in the early to mid-19th century, but also brought greed, corruption and economic collapse to some communities. Schacht focuses on a different town in each chapter in order to give the reader a clear view of how that particular town was affected by the coming of the railroads.
"The book brings to light the great triumphs of the towns gaining a railroad. At the same time, it shows the reality and the human element behind each success story," said Schacht.