Wednesday, January 17

Tours of the Capitol will be modified on Wednesday, January 17, due to a special event taking place in the Rotunda. Access to the Capitol Visitors Center will not be affected.

Debating the Rail Route

In 1853 Congress authorized funds for the Army Corps of Engineers to survey four possible routes for a railway from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. Members of Congress recognized the potential for commerce and development that a transcontinental railway would bring, and they advocated strenuously for their own regions. Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri was an outspoken proponent of a central route. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, a former and future senator from Mississippi, favored a southern route.