Railroads hold a familiar place in the American mind. From literary and cultural criticism to the making of the New South, this machine caused widespread changes in American thought and history. Railroads formed new communities and new wealth. The purpose of this study is not to cover the global changes caused by this awesome machine but to start in a small place that experienced massive change: Roanoke, Virginia. By looking at the changes which occured in Roanoke from roughly 1880 to 1910, a regional and even national theme discussing social change may be presented. Despite the skepticism of literary and historical figures, Americans, particularly Southerners, clamored for the railroads nonetheless. This study aims to show both the positive and negative changes caused by the railroad in order to show the force and power of technological forces in the creation of culture and communities.