In the 19th century, one of the most important technological advances was the expansion of railroads, which transported goods from rural areas to cities. Between 1860 and 1900, the miles of railroad track in Ohio increased from 2,950 to 8,950. By 1900, several transcontinental railroads crisscrossed the United States, and the country had 193,000 total miles of track. Railroads first came to Columbus in 1850, resulting in the subsequent growth of railroad-related industries in the Weinland Park neighborhood. Kilbourne & Jacobs Company, a manufacturer of scrapers for railroads, steel tubular wheelbarrows, warehouse trucks, and road graders opened in 1881.
By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the arrival of millions of new residents coupled with industrial pollution resulted in poor living conditions in American cities. Progressive reformers sought to improve conditions in cities. One area of progressive reform was education. By 1900, 31 states had laws requiring children to attend school until age 14. However, only about 8 percent of students graduated from high school by 1910. In effort to keep adolescents in school after eighth grade, a new “junior high school” movement began, with the establishment of Indianola Jr. High in Columbus as the first such school in the nation.
A new group of middle-class Americans emerged as a result of the Industrial Revolution. This new middle class enjoyed the luxury of greater disposable income and increased leisure time. New forms of entertainment and recreation developed for the middle class in Columbus. In the University District, Olentangy Park opened in 1899 and eventually became the largest in the United States. Indianola Amusement Park opened in 1905 at the corner of N. 4th Street and E. 19th Avenue. Spectator sports also became a popular pastime. By the early 1920s, Ohio State football became such a popular spectator sport (in large part because of the sensational play of Columbus native Chic Harley) that a new stadium was constructed on the banks of the Olentangy River in 1922.
Ohio's New Learning Standards: K-12 Social Studies
High School American History
Content Statement 10: The rise of corporations, heavy industry, mechanized farming and technological innovations transformed the American economy from an agrarian to an increasingly urban industrial society.
Content Statement 12. Immigration, internal migration and urbanization transformed American life.
Content Statement 14. The Progressive era was an effort to address the ills of American society stemming from industrial capitalism, urbanization and political corruption.