The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Marsh, Sylvester
MARSH, Sylvester, American engineer: b. Campton, N. H., 30 Sept. 1803; d. Concord, N. H., 30 Dec 1884. In 1826 he established a provision business in Boston, in 1833 in Chicago and from 1837 was in the grain trade at Chicago. He originated the meat-packing industry and is regarded as one of the founders of Chicago. From 1864 he resided in New Hampshire. On 25 June 1858, he obtained a charter for a railway to the summit of Mount Washington, a project deemed so impossible that he was called “crazy Marsh.” The railway, 2.81 miles long, with an ascent of 3,625 feet, was completed in July 1869. The chief feature in the operation of the road is a central cog-rail. The principle proved so practicable that literally hundreds of similar railways have been constructed on the sides of famous mountains all over the world.