Melville E. Ingalls

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M. E. Ingalls, engraving done around 1887

Melville Ezra Ingalls (1842–1914), commonly abbreviated M. E. Ingalls, was a Massachusetts state legislator who went on to become president of the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad (the Big Four Railroad).[1]


Ingalls was born on September 6, 1842 in Harrison, Maine, where he worked on the family farm until he began teaching at the age of 16. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1863, Ingalls began practicing law in Gray, ME before moving to Boston, Massachusetts, where he became an expert in corporate law, specializing in transportation lines. In 1871, he was retained as counsel to the Cincinnati and Lafayette Railroad and would eventually become its president. After multiple consolidations under his watch, the company became known as the Big Four Railroad.[2]

Positions held[edit]

  • President of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad until 1900[2]
  • President of the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis until 1905,[2] Chairman of the Board until 1910[3]
  • President of the Kentucky Central Railroad (January, 1881 - October, 1883)[2]
  • President of the Cincinnati Northern[4]
  • President of the Merchants' National Bank in Cincinnati, OH[2]
  • Co-founder and President of the Cincinnati Art Museum[2]
  • President of the National Civic Federation in 1905[2]
  • President of the Queen City Club in Cincinnati, OH[5]

On July 11, 1914, Ingalls died at his summer home in Hot Springs, Virginia, from heart disease after undergoing treatment for an ulcerated tooth. He was buried in Cincinnati, Ohio.[2]

Ingalls also organized the Joint Traffic Association, which was shut down by the United States Supreme Court[6] and co-founded the Cincinnati Technical School. He is the grandfather of David Sinton Ingalls.[2]

Melville financed the construction of the Ingalls Building in Cincinnati, which was the world's first reinforced concrete skyscraper in 1903. The town of Ingalls, Indiana is named in his honor.[1]


  1. ^ a b Indiana Historical Society. "Melville E. Ingalls Papers, 1870-1907, Collection Guide, biographical sketch" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-19.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "MELVILLEE. INGALLS, FINANCIER, IS DEAD". The New York Times. July 12, 1914. p. C5.
  3. ^ "M.E. INGALLS TO RETIRE". The New York Times. April 30, 1910. p. 18.
  4. ^ "M.E. IGALLS'S NEW OFFICE". The New York Times. July 14, 1901. p. 4.
  5. ^ "BAR CLOSED, CLUB OBJECTED". The New York Times. January 23, 1906. p. Special 1.
  6. ^ United States v. Joint Traffic Association 171 U.S. 505 (1898)
Preceded by
President of the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad
Succeeded by