Notes of a recent Trip to Omalia.
Our route was by what is called the Southern route, via Philadelphia, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Kansas city, and we returned by way of Chi-cago.
The Suspension bridge over the Ohio at Cin-cinnati is finished, and a great and noble struct-ure it is. A railroad bridge is being built a half a mile further up the stream, and will be ready for use in a few months. At St. Louis a thou-sand men are at work on the bridge over the Mis-sissippi. The abutments and piers are nearly com-pleted. It is a hundred feet from the surface of the river down to the foundations of the pier.—They have now been almost two years on this structure, and two years more time will be re-quired to finish it. Twenty miles from St. Louis on the North Missouri railroad is the greatest and grandest bridge in the country. It crosses the river (Missouri) at a great hight above the water, and the approaches to it are each nearly a half a mile long. The piers are of stone, and the bridge and approaches of iron. It cost two million of dollars. At Kansas city another bridge, across the Missouri, has lately been finished, and two more bridges are now being built, one at Leaven-worth, and one at Omaha. The Missouri is the worst of rivers to bridge, for there is no certainly as to where it will be a year hence. So frequent-ly does it change its bed, it is in many places a quarter of a mile from where it was last year. The "bottom lands" of the Missouri are about three miles wide, and are very rich. The soil is a black loam, 20 or 30 feet deep. The railroad from Kansas city to Council Bluffs lays through these bottom lands, and about mid way between the river and the bluffs. The latter are from one to two hundred feet high, and as the bottom lands are so level and extensive, they have the appear-ance at a distance of mountains. Corn is the principal production, in fact I might say the only one. I saw no wheat, and but little flax grow-ing.
Omaha is very pleasantly situated on the Westbank of the river. It is a fine city of some seven-teen thousand inhabitants, and will eventually be a large city. The country back is rich rolling prairie land, and is rapidly being settled up.
The people of Omaha are very enterprising and public spirited, and are doing all they can to make that place the business point of that section of the country. They are building railroads to the South and to the North, and the Union Pacific-railroad, which terminates here, extends through the whole length of the State of Nebraska from East to West, and several branch roads to the North and South are being built.
The view from the bluffs back of the city is very fine. Looking to the East is the city, river, wide bottom lands, and bluffs beyond, and at the foot of the latter is the thriving city of Council Bluffs. To the North and South as far as the eye can reach is seen the noble Missouri winding its way through the green bottom lands, flanked on each side by the mountain like bluffs.
Omaha, considering its age (only 17 years old,) is one of the best built cities in the country. It contains several large brick churches and many extensive and substantial brick blocks, a hotel, and high school house second to none in the coun-try, each costing some two hundred thousand dollars. Two district school houses are now be-ing built at an expense of thirty thousand dol-lars each, and the government is building a post-office and court-house of stone. On the bluff are many costly residences, and a stranger in Walk-ins about the city is impressed with the fact that it is a pleasant place of residence, and a good point for business, and that the citizens are a thorough and substantial class of men, laying well and broad the foundation for a large city, both in their buildings and public institutions. During my stay here I had the pleasure of ligar-ing some ot the ablest men of the State speak at a public meeting on the merit and demerits of the new constitution, which will be voted upon this month, and have no hesitation in saying that Nebraska has as able and eloquent men as any State in the Union.
I accidentally met in Omaha, Mr. Currier, for-merly from Montpelier; he has a daguerrian sa-loon there, and is a first-class artist.
At Council Bluffs I called upon two Montpelier boys, S. Mortimer Collins and Col. H. C. Nutt. Col. Nutt has the contract from the ''U. P. R. Co." for transferring all their passengers and freight across the Missouri River ; he keeps three or four steam boats constantly employed in per-forming this service.
Council Bluffs is very pleasantly situated and is quite a business point. The first settlers were Mormons. They spent the winter here when on their way from Illinois to Salt Lake, and built log houses, and after they vacated them, traders who furnished supplies to those going overland to California occupied them. Since then the place has had a steady and healthy growth and many wealthy men have settled here.
I came through Iowa by the Chicago and North-western Railroad—friend Collins accompanying me a hundred miles or more on his way to visit his father, Salvin K. Collins, well known to your older readers; he lives on a farm near Broome. During our ride together "Mort" gave me an in-teresting account of a visit he made a few months ago to the Montpelier settlers at Red Oak, Iowa, some fifty miles south of Council Bluffs, on the Burlington and Missouri Railroad. They all had fine farms and were doing well.
After riding all day through the finest farming country I ever saw, I stopped to spend the Sab-bath at the young thriving city of Tama, now only six years old, but boasting of churches, fine stores, a first class brick hotel and high school-house, two thirty thousand dollar residences and fifteen hundred inhabitants, among them a fine boy whose mother was a Vermont lady and whose great great-grandmother is a Massachusetts lady. Monday morning I continued my ride through Iowa, which as to farming and stock raising is beyond question the banner State of the Union, crossed the Mississippi at Clinton and arrived in Chicago at evening, and left the next morning for home, making a stop of a few hours at Cleve-land, where I had the pleasure of seeing the genial and jolly faces of Fred. Prentiss and Luke B. French, who in years past were Montpelier boys, and are now I infer from hearsay and ap-pearances enjoying here the comforts which at-tend wealth and good health. Cleveland has grown in twenty years from a city of twenty thousand inhabitants to one of one hundred thousand. This growth is in a measure owing to the location here of great iron and copper works; in the words of friend Prentiss the iron and copper of Lake Superior and the coal of Pennsylvania meet and unite here and the result is great prosperity to Cleveland. VERMONTER.
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