901 West Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21223

Great Railroad Strike of 1877

Now through Fall 2018
Monday - Saturday, 10:00am - 4:00pm
Sunday, 11:00am - 4:00pm


This new exhibit at the B&O Railroad Museum highlights the economic depression of the 1870s. Learn how railroad executives mandated a significant cut in employee wages that lead to violent riots and protests that became the greatest railroad strike this nation has ever faced.


The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 has direct ties to the B&O Railroad, when the company’s President John Work Garrett, cut wages for workers twice in eight months. B&O employees went on strike across the entire system, a strike that would turn violent with the intervention of the National Guard in both West Virginia and Maryland. The movement, which would start out small and regional, spread to more than a dozen states across many railroads and other occupations. Strike activity would spread as far as Texas, and even California, in a movement that lasted a month. The movement was halted, largely by the presence of Federal troops under orders from President Rutherford B. Hayes. The Strike led to millions of dollars in damages and more than 100 people were killed. The legacy of the strike includes the formation of labor unions, pension plans, and better conditions for workers. This little-known historical event remains one of the most important moments in American history.

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