SAS to CHI

Texas Limited

Podcast Description

Amtrak, the National Park Service's Trails and Rails Program, and the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University have created podcasts to enhance your travel on the Texas Eagle train between Chicago and San Antonio.

Instructions For Downloading and Listening to Amtrak Audio Podcasts

On this page, you are able to download and listen to any of the audio podcasts that occur between the Amtrak stations you selected on the Amtrak Podcast homepage. For most browsers, clicking on the large MP3 image along the right side will prompt you to save the podcast audio file to your computer.

Some browsers, such as Google Chrome automatically begin playing audio files. If this suits you, feel free to relax and enjoy the audio podcast; otherwise, press the browser's back button to return to the podcast list. Once you have returned to the podcast list, right-click on the MP3 image and select "Save link as…" This will then allow you to choose where you would like to save the file on your computer.

Once you have downloaded the podcast file, you can navigate to the folder where you saved the podcast and use one of many suitable MP3 programs to open the audio podcast.

Podcast Intro

An Introduction to the Trails & Rails Podcast Presentation.

Summary This audio track introduces the podcast and gives the listener information about the partnership between Amtrak, the National Park Service and the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
Author
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 1:24

Train Intro

An Introduction to your Train.

Summary This audio track gives the listener important information about the amenities provided on Amtrak trains and general precautions regarding movement around the train and between cars. The listener should also be sure to listen to all announcements given by Amtrak officials.
Author
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:20

San Antonio River Walk

Yanaguana.

Summary Just north of San Antonio is a group of natural springs that feed into the San Antonio River, which today many know solely for the major tourist attraction, the River Walk. Thousands of guests each year come to stroll along the River Walk, dine in the restaurants that line the river banks or take a cruise in a river boat, but what most people don't know is that this river was not always a downtown attraction.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and Janie Faught (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:59

Randolph Air Force Base

Showplace of the Air Force.

Summary Every day the skies around San Antonio are filled with military planes that take off from Randolph Air Force Base, which is situated to the north of San Antonio. Named after Captain William Millican Randolph, the base is often referred to as the Showplace of the Air Force.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and John Mayers (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:32

Texas State Parks

Governer Neff's Legacy.

Summary While riding the train between San Marcos and San Antonio you can catch a glimpse of the bright green waters of the Guadalupe River. Every year thousands of travelers come to Guadalupe River State Park to hike along its banks and take a cool float down the river. State Parks such as this one have been a part of Texans' outdoor recreation for almost 100 years.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and John Mayers (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:45

New Braunfels German Influence

Gruene, Schlitterbahn, and Wurstfest.

Summary Willkommen zu New Braunfels! You may notice the truly unique ambiance that attracts so many tourists to New Braunfels. This is attributed to the historic German influences that molded the town more than one hundred and sixty years ago!
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and Kyle Janda (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:47

San Marcos Endangered Species

San Marcos Springs.

Summary While in the town of San Marcos, it should be mandatory to visit the crystal clear San Marcos Springs. The springs are an artesian outflow from the Edwards Aquifer that provides most of the water for the San Marcos River system. Situated near the heart of the Texas State University campus, the crystal clear waters are iconic to the school and the town of San Marcos.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and Jonathan Guerra (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:00

San Marcos History and Today

Texas State University, the San Marcos River and the San Marcos Outlets.

Summary The beautiful city of San Marcos is located along Interstate 35 between Austin and San Antonio. The city was incorporated in 1877 and has been honored with listings in the National Register of Historic Places due to the restoration and preservation of significant late nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and Ritza Anitsakis (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:28

Balcones Escarpment Geography

A Short History.

Summary Between San Antonio & Temple, Texas, see if you can observe any difference in geography on the east and west sides of the train route. The variation may appear subtle, but the differences in geography signify important differences in natural resources that are available and the cultures of people on either side of the divide. The Amtrak route follows a huge crack, or actually a series of many cracks, in the earth's surface called the Balcones Escarpment.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:57

Colorado River Impact on Texas History

Transportation, Recreation and Power Generation.

Summary Starting its path in Lubbock, Texas and winding its way through the Texas Hill Country, the Colorado River is a gently flowing river that has played a big part in shaping our history. Though today Texans enjoy the slow moving waters of the Colorado River for recreation and hydropower, it hasn't always been such a tranquil and relaxing environment.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and Luis Ruiz (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:37

Austin Bats

A Fascinating Phenomenon.

Summary The Congress Avenue Bridge is located in downtown Austin and is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. Once the Austin bats made the local residents run in fear, but today they bring people from near and far to Town Lake every evening.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and Brianna Peters (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:38

Austin Attractions

The Live Music Capital of the World.

Summary If you can hear music playing, then you must be in Austin. The Live Music Capital of the World is a fitting title for this vibrant city. Year-round, Austin hosts hundreds of concerts and music festivals. Austin is not just known for its music; the city is thriving with art, food, and outdoor venues that are guaranteed to ignite your senses.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:32

Austin History

A Vibrant City.

Summary Austin's rich history has allowed the city to become the iconic melting pot we all love and enjoy today. However, Austin was not always the vibrant capital city that people from across the world come to experience. In fact, at one time, even Texans did not appreciate this great city.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and Jessica Rifanburg (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:31

Texas Military History

The Six Flags over Texas.

Summary After being ruled by Spain, France and then Mexico, Texas finally won its independence in 1836. A decade later in 1845, it became the 28th State to join the United States of America. Only a year after the annexation of Texas the first major conflict of the new state occurred - the Mexican-American War.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and Nick Ferrata (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:53

Texas Baseball

Baseball Country.

Summary Baseball evolved in the United States during the late 1700s, and has become one of the most popular sports in America. You may have watched shows like Friday Night Lights and correctly concluded that Texas is serious football territory. But Texas has known baseball for over a century, and every weekend, in almost every Texas town, one can spot the glowing stadium lights from a baseball game.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:36

Taylor, TX Cattle and Railroad History

A Cattle Boomtown.

Summary Does a plot of land for only $20 to $350 sound enticing? This is exactly what the Texas Land Company was hoping for when they laid out the plots, city streets, parks, and town square for Taylorsville in anticipation of the railroad coming to present day Taylor, TX.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:01

Pecans

A Cultural Delight.

Summary When you pass over the San Gabriel River near Temple, Texas, take notice of the luscious thickets of pecan trees gathered in groves near the river banks. The Texas Native American built his life, travels, and nomadic diet around the pecan tree and its life-sustaining nut.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and John Coleman (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:14

Comanche Territory

The Lords of the Plains.

Summary As the train rumbles past Texas' woods and prairies, picture the groups of great warriors who once ruled the territory extending from Nebraska to North Texas. Until the mid-1800's, bands of Comanche Indians roamed this land. Comanches, often referred to as the Lords of the Plains, ruled over their territory with strength and cleverness as they struggled to survive in a changing world.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and Jamie Klemashevich (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:18

Temple, TX Today and Yesterday

Mudville.

Summary Once nicknamed 'Mudville' because of the muddy streets that lined the railway stations, Temple quickly rose as a progressive city and has continued to prosper since its beginning in1880. As is the story of many small Texas towns, the railroad was at the heart of the early community, but Temple quickly diversified to become a major hospital center of the South.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:34

Moody, TX History

A Pit Stop for Train Crews.

Summary During the 1800's the vast expanse of Texas land was revered for its beauty, untamed wilderness, and opportunities. Numerous rail lines were built during the latter part of the century to connect the east and the expanding west. One of the main railroads that is said to have significantly impacted the development of Texas was the Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe Railway.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:09

George W. Bush Ranch

Home off the "Western White House."

Summary The streets of Crawford, TX were not always as busy as they are today, and you might be wondering why. In 1999 a ranch close to town was bought by a very important man, which made the little town of Crawford the new home of the president of the United States.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and Kyle Mangan (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:55

Texas Longhorn Cattle

A Hardy Breed.

Summary In 1690 a herd of cattle was driven north from Mexico to a mission along the Sabine River, and this event would change American cattle history forever. Though not native to the Texas landscape, the Longhorn breed of cattle was well equipped to survive the harsh landscape and today these sturdy animals are icons of Texas and the cattle industry.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and Lance Benes (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:28

Norwegian and Swiss Communities

Immigrant Influences.

Summary When you think of European settlers that came to Texas, the groups that often come to mind are the Spanish, German, and Czech. Two additional groups of immigrants that had an impact on the settlement of Texas and its fight for Independence are the Swiss and Norwegians.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:19

Tonkawa Indians

They All Stay Together.

Summary Before the time of the Spanish explorers, Native Americans inhabited the open ranges and woodlands of Texas. One group that made its mark in history is the Tonkawa Indians. These people were thought to have come to Texas as early as the seventeenth century.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:13

Chisholm Trail Crossing

An Iconic Trail.

Summary The 19th century cattle industry in Texas was the catalyst to economic recovery after the Civil War. Cattle were raised in Texas, but they had to be driven north to markets where they could fetch a fair price. The Chisholm Trail was the most heavily used route to move cattle northward, and was best known for the six million cattle herded from Texas into Oklahoma and Kansas within less than 30 years.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and Liz Atwell (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:38

Louisiana Purchase Exploration

A Gateway to the West.

Summary The Texas Eagle route traverses land which was part of the Louisiana Purchase all the way from northeast Texas to St. Louis. Anyone with the courage and fortitude to travel this route in the year 1800 would have been trekking through wilderness owned by France and occupied by numerous Native American tribes.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and David C. Mills (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:51

Texas Ranching

A Nation's Beef Exporter.

Summary What do you picture when you hear the word "ranch?" Maybe you see a cowboy driving a herd of Texas Longhorns, or envision sprawling ranch houses. It is a surprise to many that ranching did not start in the Wild West or in Texas, but has roots reaching back into history. Spanish ships seeking to establish new colonies for Spain brought cattle to the Americas in the 1600s.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and Foster Smith (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:04

Cross-Timbers Region History

A Natural Boundary.

Summary Imagine you were traveling in wagons and on horseback to settle in the Texas territory, when you came across a wooded expanse in the middle of the Great Plains. This landmark came to be called the Cross-Timbers, and was used by many as a landmark to judge the distance they had traveled while crossing the expanses of the United States.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:14

Tarantula Train

A Spider-like Rail Network.

Summary The train you are riding in today is powered by diesel fuel and electricity, but in the early days trains moved at slower speeds and were powered by large coal burning steam engines. Today in Grapevine, TX you can travel the old Cotton Belt in one of the few trains still pulled by steam power.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and Erica Chairez (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:54

Fort Worth Cattle Industry

Cowtown.

Summary Fort Worth, a city that was built on the backs of cattle trails and railroads, gave birth to the Fort Worth stockyards and grew into a booming metropolis. Early in its history, Fort Worth saloons provided cowboys with refreshment and entertainment, and the city is still known for unique, down-home hospitality today.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and Talia Short (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:19

Arlington & Grand Prairie Recreation

A Playful City.

Summary The city of Arlington and the surrounding communities have taken great strides to develop as a center for recreation and fun. With the help of local support and funding the attractions built here have put this area on the map for sports fans, recreationists, and thrill seekers.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and Lauren Lognion (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:47

Dallas Attractions

A Top Vacation Destination in Texas.

Summary Dallas is an upscale, trendy and diverse international city that offers visitors and residents endless opportunities for enjoyment and relaxation. Still, Dallas is known for its Southern hospitality with its Southern food and welcoming people, but adds an ultra modern and sophisticated touch, making it a distinctive Texas city.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and Valerie Higgins (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:36

John F Kennedy Assassination

An Event that Stunned the World.

Summary Dealey Plaza in Dallas, TX, is known as the Front Door to Dallas, because it is a major gateway for people coming in from the west. It was named after civic leader, George Bannerman Dealey, who was key in creating the overall design of the plaza. Dealey organized the development of the triple underpass and concrete colonnades located in the plaza. However, Dealey Plaza is not often noted for its design elements; it will forever be known as the place that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and Carrie Ballein (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:32

Favorite Texas Foods

BBQ and Blue Bell Ice Cream.

Summary Picture yourself gathering with family and friends on a hot summer afternoon. What's on the menu? In Texas, this is time for famous favorites: barbecue and home-style ice cream. Is your mouth watering? Well if it's not, it will be soon. Come along as we take a bite outta Texas; I guarantee your taste buds will be happy.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter (Intern) and Cassey Bell (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:53

Witch of Wall Street

Hetty Green.

Summary You might have been scared by the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz movie, but were you haunted by the Witch of Wall Street? Although called a witch, Hetty Green did not cast spells or brew potions in a cauldron.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter (Intern) and Danielle Burgess (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:07

Texas Wineries

A Wide Variety of Themes and Styles.

Summary "It warms the blood, adds luster to the eyes -- wine and love have ever been allies". It is a timeless truth; wine and romance just seem to go together. The Wineries of the Texas Hill Country use the art of blending yeast and fruits to create a drink that promotes sharing and spending time with loved ones, whether that is a significant other, friend or family member.
Author Written by Amber Worley (Undergraduate Student) and Maggie Pottkotter (Intern) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 1:58

Honey and Beekeeping

A Necessary Component of Agriculture.

Summary Do you know what that buzzing sound is? If you said honey bees, you are correct. These amazing, little creatures are responsible for much more than we give them credit. The success of our economy relies heavily on the impact honey bees have on agriculture.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter (Intern) and Taylor Esco (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:19

Grand Saline's Morton Salt Co.

The Salt Capital of Texas.

Summary You are probably familiar with the little girl holding the umbrella on Morton Salt products, but what you may not know is that this salt mining company found its beginnings in Grand Saline, Texas. The mining operation was known as the Grand Saline Salt Company before it evolved into Morton Salt in 1920.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter, Intern with the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:05

Hogg Family

Family of a Great Philanthropist.

Summary Have you ever heard a name and thought, wow, that was an unfortunate choice...? A famous family from Texas, particularly the daughter, experienced the life of an undesirable name.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter, Intern with the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 4:15

Texas Fishing

Catching the Big One.

Summary Taking time to relax and enjoy the great outdoors can be one of life's greatest pleasures. A treasured pastime that can fulfill this desire is fishing. Fishing in Texas is a very popular choice for recreation because it does not require a lot of travel, money or equipment, and is a great way to enjoy nature with family, friends or maybe catch some peaceful alone time.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter (Intern) and David de Leon (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:30

Big Sandy Victorian Village

The Needlecraft Capital of the South.

Summary Big Sandy, Texas is neither big nor sandy. Established in the early 1870s, Big Sandy is located in the crossroads of East Texas. Today, it is a place where residents and visitors can enjoy the pleasant atmosphere of a small town and benefit from the historic attractions of Big Sandy's Victorian Village.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter (Intern) and Cara Stahlman (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:14

Gladewater Oil and Antiques

The Antique Capital of Texas.

Summary Gladewater, Texas is known for two kinds of very rare finds- oil and antiques. If you stop by this East Texas town, you'll easily discover the two. The town's first find was discovered in the early 1900s when Gladewater was just a speck on the map, and the folks here were making their living mainly on the harvest of lumber and cotton.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter (Intern) and Ben Sigmundik (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:36

Davy Crockett National Forest

Adventure Awaits.

Summary Do you have a desire to explore the Wild Frontier like the legendary pioneers once did? If your answer is yes, then there is a perfect place for you in northeast Texas. The Davy Crockett National Forest encompasses 160,000 acres just waiting to be explored.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter (Intern) and Zach Rogers (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:36

Longview's Industries

Home to the East Texas Oil Museum.

Summary What do railroads, cotton and oil have in common? Well, maybe not a whole lot, unless you're referring to the city of Longview, Texas where these three industries are deeply rooted. The city's earliest roots come from the railroad industry.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter, Intern with the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:57

East Texas Impenetrable Forests

The Big Thicket.

Summary East Texas forests reflect Texas' legacy of resilience and individuality. The forests are often described as impenetrable because of their seemingly unbroken landscapes, which is why the area has earned the name the Big Thicket. East Texas has a vast system of forest communities that are continually changing and shifting in response to climatic and human pressures.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter, Intern with the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:08

Marshall Civil War History & Today

Something for Everyone.

Summary The town of Marshall, Texas is dedicated to preserving its past; given its eventful history, it has good reason to do so. If you enjoy heritage tourism, this town is your ideal destination. The Civil War was one of the most significant periods in early American history and this East Texas town played a pivotal role throughout the era.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter, Intern with the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:25

Big Cypress Bayou History

Once The "River Port to the Southwest."

Summary The city of Jefferson is home to a natural wonder of Texas, the Big Cypress Bayou. To the untrained eye this bayou appears to be just an average swamp, but it is much more than that and has a special place in this town's history.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter (Intern) and Ben Janik (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:38

Feral Hogs

When Domesticated Turns Feral.

Summary Today, feral hogs are among the most destructive invasive species in the U.S. As they dig for food with their tusks, the hogs uproot crops, create giant holes and destroy habitat for both ranch animals and wildlife. About $400 million dollars are annually attributed to the damages these wild animals create.
Author Written by Andria N. Godfrey (Graduate Student) and Maggie Pottkotter (Intern) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:14

Texas Peanut Farming

Texas' Second Nut.

Summary As we approach Kildare, TX, you may be able to spot vast farm fields from your windows. It is likely that much of the acreage in view is dedicated to growing peanuts. This little nut has become very important to the state.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter (Intern) and Steven Lenk (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:32

Caddo Indian Culture

A Friendly People.

Summary Formed by many Southeastern Indian Tribes, the Caddo Indian Nation was made up of advanced agriculturalists with a rich heritage and culture. Today, the Caddo people maintain many of their traditional ways and continue to actively work to preserve this matchless tribal culture.
Author Written by Andria Godfrey (Graduate Student)and Emily Martin (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:53

Texarkana: Twice As Nice

Home to the "King of Ragtime Composers."

Summary The name Texarkana has a familiar ring. Maybe that is because the name is a combination of Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. The exact naming of Texarkana is up for debate, but it was believed to be named by Colonel Gus Knobel in the late 1800s who thought he was at the cross points of the three states.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter (Intern) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:29

Red River Valley History

Transportation, the Caddo and the Great Raft.

Summary Near Fulton, Arkansas, the train crosses the Red River, a very important river system to the people of southwestern Arkansas from prehistoric times to present day. The river gets its name from the red color of its water and clay banks, and is the second largest river basin in the southern Great Plains.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter, Intern with the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:01

Arkansas Natural Resources and Recreation

The Natural State.

Summary Labeled as The Natural State, Arkansas has a wide variety of resources and mixed geography which has a great part in the history of America's recreation. Arkansas is adjacent on the north by Missouri; on the east it is covered by the beautiful and historic Mississippi River, which separates it from Mississippi and Tennessee; on the south end, are Louisiana swamps; and on the west the bountiful plains of Oklahoma and Texas; all these factors combined have helped shape Arkansas into one of the country's most diversified and prized landscapes.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter (Intern) and Matt Sherman (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:13

Hope, AR History

The Birthplace of President Clinton.

Summary Welcome to Hope, Arkansas, a city full of heritage and history as rich as its soil. Hope is a city economically founded by brick making, birthplace of one of our nation's former presidents, and known for producing some of the largest specimens of watermelon in the world.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter (Intern) and Taylor Rosier (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:44

Arkansas Nocturnal Wildlife

Night Life.

Summary The Texas Eagle usually travels through Arkansas at night. As you peer out the window into the darkness between towns, it may look like an empty, lonely landscape. In fact, there is a thriving community of nocturnal animals out there going about their business of finding mates, making nests, getting food and trying to avoid being eaten by their neighbors.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:04

Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo

The Result of a Chance Meeting.

Summary Sometimes frustrations, like waiting for a delayed train, can result in fruitful chance meetings and interesting conversations. This happened back in 1892 when five lumbermen, who had to wait seven hours for a late train in Gurdon, Arkansas, had a chance meeting that resulted in the formation of an unusual organization symbolized by a strange black cat statue poised near the Gurdon Depot.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:38

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

An Elusive Species.

Summary In 2004 some bird experts in Arkansas spotted something which made headlines across the country! These scientists were sure they had seen an Ivory-billed Woodpecker, even though this species was thought to be extinct for more than 60 years.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:57

Hot Springs National Park

The "Valley of the Vapors."

Summary Picture steam billowing into the air above cascading streams of hot mineral water in a scenic mountain valley. Spring water bubbles up from deep in the ground to create warm mud baths and clear, hot pools. It's a spa provided by Mother Nature which you can still enjoy today in central Arkansas!
Author Written by Susan G. Scott (Lecturer) and Katia Kovacic (Undergraduate Student)in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:16

Malvern, AR: River Port & Brickmaking

A City-wide Move.

Summary A brick railway station in Malvern, Arkansas represents the twin economic drivers of the community throughout its history: rail travel and brick-making. The city would not even exist in its present location, but for the rail line constructed in 1870.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:16

Saline River Recreation

Dugouts, Fishing and Paddle Sports.

Summary Imagine paddling a canoe down an unspoiled river past towering cliffs and wildflower meadows, just as the Caddo Indians did long ago. You may be surprised to learn that this daydream can be a reality on the Saline River in Arkansas. The Saline is known for its scenic beauty, excellent fishing, and sunny gravel bars for picnics and swimming.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:34

Little Rock Central High School

A Focal Point During Racial Integration.

Summary The Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site serves to remind us of a turbulent and intolerant time in our county's history, and showcases the bravery of nine African American students who dared to change our country forever.
Author Written by Sheldon Randal (Undergraduate Student) and edited by Susan G. Scott (Lecturer) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:48

Little Rock: Territorial Capitol

A State Capital With a Rich History.

Summary Take some time to visit Little Rock, Arkansas, and you'll find a vibrant city of skyscrapers with a relaxed and open feel. Look closer and you'll discover a storied and challenging past, if you take advantage of the varied opportunities to learn about the city's rich history. Little Rock, the geographic, political and financial center of Arkansas, invites you to stroll through historic sites with beautiful architecture and expansive lawns, and enjoy satisfying traditional foods.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:07

Bald Knob Strawberries

The Strawberry Capital of the World.

Summary Can you recall the satisfying flavor of the last really sweet strawberry you had with ice cream or a slice of shortcake? If strawberries are special in your memory, then you have something in common with Bald Knob, Arkansas.
Author Written by Kristi Castillo (Undergraduate Student) and Susan G. Scott (Lecturer) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:04

White River Mussels

A Source of Beautiful Fashion.

Summary Most of us wear buttons and jewelry without giving much thought to where they might have come from. In the first half of the 20th century, most buttons in the United States came from the White River in northeastern Arkansas, and this river still contributes to the jewelry business.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:36

Rock 'N Roll Highway

The Attraction of Jackson County.

Summary As the train rolls through northeastern Arkansas and you listen to the rhythm of the rails, let your imagination roam back in time to 1955 when rock 'n roll was fresh and wild in local nightclubs. Cotton fields surrounded towns like Walnut Ridge and nearby Swifton and Newport.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:57

Arkansas History

A Beautiful State with a Rich History.

Summary Arkansas is called The Natural State due to its abundant natural resources and beauty, but the state has long had much more going for it than just the land. The citizens of Arkansas have shown remarkable bravery in supporting causes important to them, even when this meant dispute, war and death.
Author Written by Susan Scott (Lecturer) and Maggie Pottkotter (Intern) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 5:26

Ozark National Scenic Riverways and The CCC

Roosevelt's "Tree Army."

Summary Visitors to the Ozarks enjoy trails through beautiful wooded hills and valleys, paddling and fishing in two of America's clearest spring-fed rivers and exploring historic stone buildings. Yet in 1930, this area was a deforested wasteland with rapid erosion washing away the fertile soil and polluting the rivers.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 4:04

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

The Indian Removal Act of 1830.

Summary Nearly one fifth of the Cherokee population lost their lives along the one-thousand-mile long Trail of Tears. As you ride through southeastern Missouri, passing through country which the Native Americans traveled on foot, imagine the scene in May of 1838 through the eyes of John Ross, Chief of the Cherokee tribe.
Author Written by Madeline Brieger (Undergraduate Student) and Susan G. Scott (Lecturer) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 4:18

Mark Twain National Forest

The Beautiful Ozarks.

Summary The first Europeans to tour the territory that would become Missouri found vast herds of elk and buffalo, and a forest that covered 70 percent of the area. Settlers arrived by the rivers, and cut wood for houses, fuel, and to sell. Timber was cut and floated downstream to mills in larger settlements, where it was used for lumber or as cordwood to fuel the boilers of steam-powered riverboats.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:48

Poplar Bluff History

A History of Logging.

Summary The city of Poplar Bluff, Missouri was named for its beautiful trees, and owes much of its early success to timber. If the train passes through southeast Missouri during daylight hours, you'll be able to see the Black River below the scenic bluff on which the city is situated.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:40

Ozark Mining History

The Nation's Leading Source of Lead.

Summary If you use a car in the U.S., you probably rely on lead from right here in Missouri to start your engine. The Missouri Lead Belt produces 70% of the United State's lead, and 84% of Missouri's lead is used in car batteries!
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:29

Missouri Wildlife & Recreation

The Cave State.

Summary We are able to see just a bit of Missouri on the Texas Eagle route, but don't be fooled into thinking you've seen the state. Missouri's varied geography creates a surprising mixture of wildlife habitats, along with plenty of different outdoor recreation opportunities.
Author Written by Brian Salin (Undergraduate Student) and edited by Susan G. Scott (Lecturer) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:07

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

Solemn and Sacred Ground.

Summary As visitors pass through the iron gates at the entrance of the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, most are left awestruck and speechless from the beauty, solemnity and sacredness of the ground that has been hallowed by so many brave Americans.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter (Intern) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:47

Civil War Ironclads

A New Age of Naval Warfare.

Summary Ahoy, matey! Do you know the great-grandfather of modern warships? If you said the Civil War ironclad, you're correct! Many ironclad warships of the Union's navy were constructed at Carondelet shipyard in St. Louis.
Author Written by Maggie Pottkotter (Intern) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:29

Saint Louis Attractions

Home of the Gateway Arch.

Summary To explore St. Louis, you might choose to use one, two, three, four or all of your five senses; seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting. St. Louis is a fascinating place to be discovered using all of the senses. Step off the train and into the station and see what St. Louis is all about.
Author Written by James E. Miculka with the National Park Service based with the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:49

U.S. Grant National Historic Site

A Tribute to a Victorious Civil War General and U.S. President.

Summary The Texas Eagle route is often called the Presidential Corridor because it touches the hometowns of so many United States presidents. You may recall that Ulysses S. Grant was born in Ohio. However, the National Historical Park which bears his name is located on the west side of St. Louis, where this controversial president spent some of his quieter years.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 4:26

Jefferson Expansion National Memorial

Commemorating the U.S. Expansion into the West.

Summary As you approach the city of St. Louis from either Chicago or San Antonio, you can start to catch glimpses of the Gateway Arch as you look towards the St. Louis skyline. This iconic landmark dominates this historic city on the banks of the Mississippi River. The Arch symbolizes St. Louis' role in the westward expansion of the United States.
Author Written by James E. Miculka with the National Park Service based with the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:06

Mississippi River

A Massive River that Aided the Growth of the U.S.

Summary Be sure to look out your window in St. Louis as the train crosses America's greatest river, the storied Mississippi. You may be able to spot barges and casino boats on the banks of the river alongside this modern metropolitan area. Now try to picture a Native American village with canoes here long ago, or a settlement of French trappers in the 1600s. The mighty Mississippi has played key roles in human civilization for many centuries.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 4:11

Granite City, IL History

A Company Town.

Summary In kitchens across America, one can find granite-ware pans and dishes made with porcelain on steel using a technique which originated in Granite City, Illinois. This industrial city, neighboring St. Louis, has been home to a variety of factories and businesses over the past century, and is still home to many descendants of the immigrants who kept those factories humming.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:49

Cahokia Mounds Native American Culture

A Lost City.

Summary Many believe that Native American settlement in the Unites States before European colonization consisted of only small groups of nomadic tribes, but archeological evidence tells a very different story. At the height of its existence in 1250 AD, the ancient city of Cahokia sustained as many as 40,000 inhabitants, roughly the size of London, England at the same time period.
Author Written by Scott Miller, Undergraduate Student in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:40

Lewis and Clark Base Camp

Large Scale Exploration.

Summary Try to picture the land outside the train windows as it might have looked to Lewis and Clark in 1803. They were about to leave the rough, but relatively comfortable, forts and settlements near the Mississippi River and set off west into unknown territory.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3;30

Alton Bald Eagles

A National Symbol.

Summary Near Alton, Illinois, the train enters bald eagle territory. Each winter thousands of bald eagles migrate to the St. Louis-Alton area, making it the second-largest population of bald eagles in the country after Alaska. From December to March you can spot eagles hunting for fish in the cold waters of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott (Lecturer) and Anthony Russo (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:54

Beaver Dam State Park

Wildlife and Recreation.

Summary You might be tempted to try and see if you can spot a beaver in Beaver Dam State Park near Carlinville, Illinois. Unfortunately you're not likely to have much luck. Though named for a beaver dam that created the park's lake, the beaver is virtually gone from the area now. However, other wildlife-watching and recreational opportunities make the beaver's absence go mostly unnoticed.
Author Written by Megan Brieger (Undergraduate Student) and Susan G. Scott (Lecturer) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 1:58

Sears Catalog Homes

Kit Homes.

Summary Have you ever ordered something from a Sears Catalog? It's common today to shop on the internet and catalogs, and the variety of goods seems endless. Back in the early 1900's there weren't quite so many different styles and items, but Sears offered some surprising options. You could buy a house from their catalog!
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:24

Red-Tailed Hawks

A Widespread Presence.

Summary Imagine you're out in a vast, grassy field. You see rolling hills of green contrasted by a cloudless and vivid blue sky; there may even be a few sky-scraping trees scattered about. As you scan the horizon, studying each curve of the landscape, you spy something in the sky and suddenly you hear a familiar raspy scream!
Author Written by David West (Undergraduate Student) and edited by Susan G. Scott (Lecturer) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:19

Lincoln Home National Historic Site

A President's Home

Summary From the Amtrak Station in Springfield, Illinois, you can walk seven blocks to the house in which Abraham Lincoln lived with his wife and children as he began his career in law and politics. Most of us picture Mr. Lincoln in his role as president during the Civil War, but he was also a husband, father, and neighbor, who experienced the same hopes, dreams and challenges of life which we experience today.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 4:15

Soy In Our Lives

The Miracle Crop.

Summary When someone mentions soy, most of us associate it with tofu. While tofu is one common use of soy, this versatile crop has a multitude of other uses. Soy is often called the miracle crop because of its multi-purpose characteristics. The soybean plant is a legume, like peas, beans, and lentils, and is used in many international cuisines.
Author Written by Bina Bilenky (Undergraduate Student) and Susan G. Scott (Lecturer) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:11

Lincoln, IL History

A City Steeped in History.

Summary Lincoln, Illinois, the first of many towns named for Abraham Lincoln, is famous for the watermelon baptism during its naming ceremony in 1853 and offers much for today's visitors to enjoy. Watch for the watermelon statue near the train station.
Author Written by Katie Wilson (Undergraduate Student) and Susan G. Scott (Lecturer) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:01

Maple Syrup

Sweet Trees.

Summary Have the maple trees along the train tracks in central Illinois surprised you yet with their sweet presence? The world's best syrup is made from Sugar Maple Trees which grow in Illinois, Michigan and across the Northeast United States and Eastern Canada.
Author Written by Luke Smith (Undergraduate Student) and Susan G. Scott (Lecturer) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:19

Pullman Cars and Lincoln

Made Popular by Unfortunate Circumstances.

Summary As the train pulls into Normal, Illinois, you may be searching for some clue as to the origin of this town's name. During the 1800s, teacher training colleges in the U.S. and abroad were called "normal schools." Illinois established a teacher's college in the village of North Bloomington in 1857, and later the growing town around the school was named "Normal."
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:35

Corn - America's Wonder Crop

A Multi-purpose Crop.

Summary Along the Texas Eagle route and throughout the Midwest, we see so much corn that it's easy to yawn and turn away. But corn has an astounding history and so many uses, you might want to sit up and admire it for a while.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2011.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:08

Route 66

The Main Street of America.

Summary Route 66. Just the name evokes images of roadside attractions, family vacations and drive-ins. The Texas Eagle tracks follow old Route 66 off and on all the way from Chicago to St. Louis. When the road was created in 1926 it traversed 2,400 miles across Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
Author Compiled and edited by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:06

Pontiac History and Attractions

A Stop on Route 66.

Summary The city of Pontiac, Illinois is rich with history, architecture, and tourist attractions. Founded by George Fell in 1837, the town was named in honor of Chief Pontiac of the Ottawa Indians. Chief Pontiac was greatly admired by both white settlers and Native Americans for his leadership skills - particularly in uniting tribes in times of war.
Author Written by Catherine Fumero (Undergraduate Student) and edited by Susan G. Scott (Lecturer) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:08

Wind Farming

An Alternative Energy Source.

Summary Be on the lookout near Odell, IL for a sea of 400 foot tall windmills, painted light grey to blend in with the clouds. The three-bladed windmills are turned into the wind by a computer-controlled motor, and the wind spins turbines which are up to 130 feet long - more than the length of three 18-wheelers parked end to end!
Author Written by Lauren Davenport (Undergraduate Student) and Susan G. Scott (Lecturer) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:39

Dwight, IL Architecture

Architecture and History.

Summary As the train travels between Joliet and Pontiac, Illinois, try to spot the little town of Dwight and some of its famous historic buildings. At first glance, it appears to be a sleepy, little town of about 4000 residents, but Dwight's architectural treasures hint at a remarkable past.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:43

Kankakee River and Inland Canoe Routes

An Important Link in Canoe Routes.

Summary Watch for the wide, beautiful Kankakee River near Wilmington, Illinois. Can you imagine paddling a canoe downstream on a beautiful summer day? Now imagine paddling a canoe full of furs upriver on a cold, rainy day with just a hand-drawn map to guide you to a trading post at the edge of the wilderness.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:24

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Healing.

Summary Take a look at the fields outside as the train rolls through Illinois and imagine what the land might have look like 200 years ago. Perhaps from the height of an airplane, the fields would look almost the same as they do today, but from the train's windows we can see monocultures, meaning that each field is carefully managed to grow just one crop.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:31

Joliet, IL History and Attractions

The City of Stone.

Summary Joliet, Illinois was known as the City of Stone in its early years. It grew into a diversified manufacturing town, and today is a fast-growing, fun-filled community. As the train passes through town, watch for historic Union Station, century-old homes and mansions, and a castle-like high school built in 1901.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:53

Joliet Prison

A Haunting Past.

Summary Imagine a life spent within the confines of four 25-foot tall limestone walls; a life without running water or plumbing; a life where one wrong move could get you in a cell the size of a closet. This was reality for prisoners of the Joliet Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois. Though no longer operating, Joliet Correctional Center offers residents and tourists a peak into the building's past and an opportunity to step into the shoes of its inmates.
Author Written by Jessica Taylor while an undergraduate student in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 1:56

Illinois Michigan Canal

An Important Linkage.

Summary Can you catch a glimpse of a water-filled channel in northern Illinois between Bloomington and Chicago? The Amtrak route follows a portion of the path of a 96-mile, hand-dug waterway called the Illinois & Michigan Canal that forever changed the nation when it opened in 1848.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:55

Chicago River Flow Reversal

Creating a Clean Water Supply.

Summary Just north of the town of Lemont, Illinois, the train passes a small lighthouse marking an amazing engineering feat at the intersection of two canals. These two manmade waterways - the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal and Cal-Sag Channel - were completed in 1922 to help reverse the flow of the Chicago River, and thereby safeguard a clean water supply for the growing city.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:04

Chicago Area Forest Preserves

A Forest Among Prairies.

Summary Since Illinois is nicknamed the Prairie State, you may be surprised to see forests along the train route close to Chicago. For example, between Willow Springs and Lemont, the train passes through a portion of Cook County's Forest Preserves.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott (Lecturer) and David Scott (Professor) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:41

Asian Carp

Unintentionally Dangerous.

Summary Picture yourself driving a boat or waterskiing, when suddenly a forty-pound fish jumps out of the water and smacks into your body. This is a real danger in the Mississippi River and its tributaries, including the Illinois River.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott (Lecturer) and Courtney Reese (Undergraduate Student) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 2:59

Chicago City of Immigrants

The Windy City.

Summary If you have a chance to explore Chicago, you'll find neighborhoods with distinct personalities reflecting the immigrant groups which settled there over the decades. These adventuresome travelers were motivated, often by hardship, to leave their homes in other countries and U.S. states, in order to find work and a new life in Chicago.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott, Lecturer in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:11

Chicago Attractions

Much To Do.

Summary The Windy City has much to offer you, no matter what your age or interests. Sightseers can take in the architecture, lakeshore parks and sculptures. If you love museums, Chicago offers first-rate art, science and history options. In addition to famous deep-dish pizza, food lovers will find every world cuisine in every price range.
Author Written by Amanda Walker (Undergraduate Student) and Susan G. Scott (Lecturer) in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:26

Chicago History

A Transportation Center.

Summary You have probably heard Chicago called the Windy City. Many people think the name comes from the strong, cold winds coming off Lake Michigan. Other versions have it that politicians were so enthusiastic in promoting Chicago as the site of the 1893 World's Fair that they were accused of blowing hot air! Both Lake Michigan and the pride of its citizens have been key Chicago assets in building the city as a center of trade and commerce.
Author Written by Susan G. Scott (Lecturer) and Asher Nizamani (Undergraduate Student) of the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, as part of a National Park Service Trails and Rails project funded by Amtrak, 2010.
Published Fri. Jan 20, 2012
Duration 3:31

With Gratitude

Close

The podcast team wishes to thank Eva Hoffman. Eva invited us to use information from her book, "A Guide to Amtrak's Sunset Limited," which provided invaluable background material (published by Flashing Yellow Guidebooks, 2009).

We are very grateful for to the following entities for generously allowing us to use their music and sound effects free of charge for this educational project: