When the Chicago, Iowa & Nebraska Railroad went bankrupt in 1862 after building a line from Clinton to Cedar Rapids, it was purchased by the Cedar Rapids & Missouri River Railroad (CR&MR). The CR&MR then built west from Cedar Rapids and was consolidated with the Chicago & North Western in June 1864. The city of Ames was laid out in December 1864 by the C&NW railroad and named by RR President John Blair.
Ames would probably not be here if it weren’t for the railroad. The C&NW was the dominant railroad in Story County for 130 years and provided the first “modern” form of transportation in the County. People traveled by rail and most commerce became dependent on the railroad.
In the 1950s, highway transportation overtook rail as the primary means of moving people and goods. The railroad flourished and floundered over its 130 year history until April 1995 when it was acquired by the Union Pacific Railroad.