The evening of February 11, 1878, many concerned citizens of Petersburg, Virginia met to discuss the future of the Petersburg Railroad. The main issue at hand was whether the city would control it or not. Citizens were fiercely divided on this issue and the meeting of February 11 was to oppose city control of the railroad. Discussion was lively and detailed about the issues merits. Concern over railroads was a big issue in Virginia and the South as a whole during this time period. In Virginia where Civil War battles had ravaged the land, often the building of a railroad was seen as an economic savior. Examples such as the railroad that saved the economy of Luray County, Virginia, and the importance of the Texas-Pacific Railroad Company in getting funding point to the extent which railroads meant to the economy and livelihood of people after the Civil War and Reconstruction.
Richmond, VA Daily Dispatch, February 12, 1878.
Elizabeth Atwood, "Saratoga of the South: Tourism in Luray, Virginia 1878-1905," in The Promise of the New South: Life after Reconstruction, ed. Edward Ayers (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).