Exploring Atlanta: a new adventure guide…
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Stephen Harriman Long
Stephen Harriman Long (December 30, 1784 – September 4, 1864) was an American army civil engineer, explorer, and inventor. As an inventor, he is noted for his developments in the design of steam locomotives. He was also one of the most prolific explorers of the early 1800s, although his career as an explorer was relatively short-lived. He covered over 26,000 miles in five expeditions, including a scientific expedition in the Great Plains area, which he famously confirmed as a "Great Desert" (leading to the term "the Great American Desert").
Following his official military expeditions, Major Long spent several years on detached duty as a consulting engineer with various railroads. Initially, he helped to survey and build the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. In 1826, he received his first patent for his work on railroad steam locomotives. Long received many more patents for locomotive design and worked with other Army engineers in planning and building the railroad. Long also received patents in 1830 and 1839 for pre-stressing the trusses used in wooden covered bridges.
In 1832, along with William Norris and several other business partners, he formed the American Steam Carriage Company. The business was dissolved in 1834 due to the difficulties in placing Long's locomotive designs into production. From June to November 1836, Long led two parties of about fifteen each to conduct a survey of a route inland from the shores of the Penobscot Bay at Belfast, Maine to Quebec for the proposed Belfast & Quebec Railroad which had been chartered by the State of Maine on March 6, 1836. In his report to Governor Robert P. Dunlap of Maine, Col. Long recommended a route into Quebec of 227 miles from "Belfast to the Forks of the Kennebec, and by a line of levels thence to the Canadian line." However, a then provision in the Maine Constitution which prohibited public loans for purposes such as building railroads as well as the financial panic of 1837 intervened to kill the project.
Colonel Long received a leave of absence to work on the newly incorporated Western & Atlantic Railroad in Georgia. His yearly salary was established at $5,000, the contract was signed May 12, 1837, and he served as the chief engineer for the W&A until November 3, 1840. He arrived in north Georgia in late May and his surveying began in July and by November he had submitted an initial report which the construction followed almost exactly.
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