Casefile Clues

25 May 2014

The St. L. K. and N. W.

In part III of my "Theodore Trautvetter Disappeared" series, the St. L. K and N.W. Railroad is mentioned.
Commissioners official railway map of Missouri.
Completed to January 1st 1888.
Copyright 1887 by R. T. Higgins.
Digital image in the
American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress

Apparently, according to the conductor, Trautvetter traveled on this railway from Keokuk, Iowa, to at least Hannibal, Missouri. Those locations were helpful in determining the exact name of the railway.

This 1887/1888 railroad map shows in yellow the St. L. K. and N. W. Railroad. St. L. stood for St. Louis, K for Keokuk, and N. W. for North Western.

The map shows the entire route the line took from Keokuk to St. Louis. The newspaper does not indicate where Trautvetter departed the train, but based on his eventual destination, he likely remained on the train until it arrived in St. Louis.

The Library of Congress' American Memory Collection contains digital images of thousands of items, including this map which is in the Railroad Map section of the collection. There's not a list of railroad abbreviations, but armed with a little geographic knowledge and some patience, it may be able to find the specific railroad or at least have a pretty good idea of what railroad was being referenced.

In this case, Google searches for the railway were not immediately successful and use of the maps was a much faster approach.