Through the centuries, people came to the land known as America, and they continued to come when the Declaration of Independence was signed establishing the United States of America. Among those people were the Irish who escaped the famine in Ireland, and many passed by the American flag that rises over Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, and they settled a community in the southern part of the city. When a railroad was being established in their community, the Irish applied and were hired as workers. In the early years of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Irish workers built the tracks from the Mount Clare Station to what would become the town of Ellicott Mills. (It is now Ellicott City, Maryland.) They serviced the trains in the Mount Clare Shops. They repaired the tracks. At the end of the day, they went home to their rowhouses that were within blocks of the roundhouse and shops.
Today, the community remains. What were once the shops is now the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum (https://www.borail.org/), and you can see where the Irish worked, and you can ride the first mile and a half of track laid in North America, track that was laid by the Irish. While there, you can take a look around at the oldest collection of railroad rolling stock in the world. Once you are finished, you can walk one block north and visit the Irish Railroad Workers Museum (https://www.irishshrine.org/) and tour a home of James Feely who worked at the Mount Clare Shops and built the railroad. You can see how he and his family lived, and tours are available of the surrounding community where the Irish lived.
On this Saint Patrick’s Day, a day we remember an Irish saint, take the time to remember those who help build North America’s first railroad.
3 thoughts on ““The Luck of the Irish Railroad Worker””
Reblogged this on John Cowgill's Literature Site.
Thank you, John. I am Irish myself so this feisty old girl loves to read stories about the railroad and my ancestors. Granddad, who married my Irish Grandmom, was a German who was a mechanic on the railroads as well. Railroads run in my blood!
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You are very graciously welcome.