In many states all over the country, railroads teamed up with land-grant colleges and universities to send educational trains to the people. Railroads benefited through increased freight revenues, and the states benefited through enhanced production and new immigrants, attracted by the new opportunites. This picture was made on the afternoon of October 15, 1910, at Erath in south Louisiana, west of New Orleans on the Southern Pacific. The SP's official photographer took this view and many others on the 12-day tour sponsored by the railroad and Louisiana State University. The tour began on October 3, visited forty cities and towns, and ended at Erath. Erath school children sang "America" and "twice as many people … (were) present as the town has population," according to the New Orleans Picayaune, which sent a reporter with the train. Erath was "demonstration-train 'mad' for the time being," he wrote. Eight professors were on hand to instruct about sugar cane, corn, rice, dairy, and meat cattle and hogs. LSU expected the national publicity about the train would attract northern farmers to the South, where they could grow more crops every year because of the milder climate. In other states, educational trains at the time promoted and provided instruction for everything from fish hatcheries to growing potatoes to developing better seeds. The Picayaune covered the train every day of the journey with long articles, some of them on the front page.
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