WONDERLAND How the Railroad Right-of-Way Shaped and Reveals the American Landscape Railroads, in no small way, shaped the American Landscape. They opened America’s interior, altered product distribution networks, reorganized land use patterns, enabled the suburbs, coalesced manufacturing in cities where the labor force was, and created a massive infrastructure system of bridges, tunnels, power, signaling, cooling and vast rail yards. Railroads are an example of (un)Intentional Landscapes. Every decision of the railroads, then the world’s largest corporations, was carefully thought out, from reconciliation of the terrain with the engineering limitations of the trains, to analyzing which abutting land uses would deliver them the most income. Except for a few strategic gestures such as the train stations, tunnels and bridges, the railroads cared little about the collective visual quality of their endeavor, and America, unlike some other countries, generally applied its “Front Yard/Back Yard” social dictates and turned its back on the tracks. They became America’s unintentional back yard—with little insight given to their uses or condition. Neither comprehension nor appreciation of this (un)intentional landscape with its fleeting visual complexity comes easily to the commuter or intercity traveler. Seemingly disconnected, instantaneous images flash by in a blur. This project attempts to take the journey off fast-forward and to collect fragments of both the experience and the causal landscape history of the railroad and its right-of-way (ROW). Essays by two noted historians are intended to accompany the images. While yielding tacit understanding, the project will concurrently attempt to extrapolate beauty; the beauty of the natural landscape as well as the more complex and abstract beauty of railroad infrastructure and rail-generated land use. I will continue to shoot both from trains and on foot, walking the ROW. As I travel across America, I keep in mind the conductor’s call on my daily commute home for two decades—Last Stop Wonderland!