Twelve six percent stock certificates issued by the city of Louisville as part of a $75,000 bond issue toward the construction of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, commonly called the L&N, which operated under one name continuously for 132 years. Although it took until 1859 for the railway to span the 180-odd miles to Nashville, its second namesake, this class one line carrying freight and passengers, survived the Civil War, economic depression, and several waves of social and technological change.
The stock certificates are issued for $1,000 each and hand-numbered sequentially from 45 to 56 with a blind embossed city of Louisville seal. Each is signed by Louisville Mayor John Barbee and the city’s auditor, John D. Pope, and dated May 15, 1855. They are endorsed on the verso by John Helm of the railroad and (Colonel) William Riddle, who purchased the stock. They are further witnessed by J.D. Maxwell. Riddle was part of the original survey team for the railway and a champion of its completion.
At the time of L&N’s founding, Louisville was a bustling river town of about 43,000 and Nashville to the south had a population of 10,000 and growing. People traveled over the rugged terrain between the two cities by stagecoach and goods were transported by covered wagons or boats along the Ohio and Cumberland rivers.
The certificates are printed on specialty lightweight blue paper and printed in black. Stock number 50 has a two-cent canceled stamp affixed to the verso and certificate 56 has three two-cent stamps affixed to the verso. All of the certificates have been trimmed and are otherwise in very good condition. Very good. Item #72611