Sunday, April 06, 2014

Road Trip - seeking descendants of Chinese railroad workers

From: "Wong Wei Xiang" weixiang_wong@hotmail.com

My name is Wei Xiang Wong, a Chinese research volunteer at CAMOC (Chinese American Museum of Chicago). I came across your museum on the internet when I was doing research project on "Chinese contribution to First Transcontinental Railroad." We are going to have a road trip across most part of the Central Transcontinental Railroad in coming months from Sacramento to Golden Spike. During this trip, we hope to interview descendants of Chinese railroad workers, visit Chinese museums, collect items for museum display and also make videos/movies. It is not an easy task to locate these descendants. That is why I am writing to you hoping that you may know some of the descendants and also recommend any place/person of interest that may contribute to the project. ...

—Wei Xiang Wong, MD
Chinese American Museum of Chicago

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The 'Big Four' - After the last spike

From: "Joshua Dyer" drumjedi76@gmail.com

I am researching the Big Four for my upcoming novel series on them, and I'm having a problem. I have gathered a sizeable about of information on them and the TCRR / CPRR / UPRR up to its completion, but not much on their lives afterward. Do you have any resources or sites that I could use to research what the Big Four did after the railroad was finished? I've got some sparse data from their bios, but little else. ...

—J. E. Dyer

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Freight Depot in Pleasanton California

From: "Pamela A Mays" pamays@sbcglobal.net, cenpac1996-001@yahoo.com

We are looking for early photos or drawings of Central Pacific Railroad Passenger and Freight Depot in Pleasanton California before 1894. The ... Museum in Sacramento has photos of SPRR depot not CPRR. ...

—Tom Mays


Spooner CPRR stockton depot
Spooner CPRR stockton depot.

Spooner Train at Stockton Depot
Spooner Train at Stockton Depot.

Spooner CPRR Stockton depot and area
Spooner CPRR Stockton depot and area.
Images courtesy of the Kyle Wyatt collection.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Transcontinental railroad train timetable 1870's

From: "Victoria Rooney" victoriarooney91@gmail.com

I was doing some research about the Union Pacific in the early 1870's, specifically the route through Wyoming. The main question that I have and haven't been able to find an answer to is: how often did a train run through going either East or West? Once a week, or more or less frequently?

—Victoria

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Culvert location

From: "David Rousar" rousar@earthlink.net

Can anyone identify the location of this culvert that was or is on the right of way of the old San Francisco and San Jose Railroad? The date inscribed is 1862. The inscribed names of several individuals are as follows:

Chas. W. Sanger, Secretary
Wm. J. Lewis, Chief Engineer
T. J. Arnold, P.A. Engineer
O. H. P. Rand, Builder

—David Rousar


SF&SJ culvert

SF&SJ culvert

Finishing the project

From: "NewCastle, Alta Cal'a" caliron@att.net

A few years ago I was involved with the production of a video entitled The Hidden Wonder of the World, the Transcontinental Railroad. That video dealt strictly with the old grade between Sacramento City and Tunnel 6 at Donner Summit.

That video has been broadcast over Public TV in Sacramento, Cal. many times, and they continue to broadcast it. You can see it on your computer by going to KVIE, then scrolling to VIEW FINDER, then clicking on The Hidden Wonder of the World, the Transcontinental Railroad. The video on KVIE runs 26 minutes, 46 seconds.

I will be 73 this year, and feel the need to finish the work begun with the video mentioned above.

To that end, Bill George, the Producer and I have agreed to run the work to Promontory Summit ...

The final video will run about 53 minutes, this to accomplish the one hour time frame that Public TV needs to fill a one hour program. ...

Our question, then, would anyone in the CPRR Discussion group have an interest in this project? ...

Your thoughts are welcomed.

G J Chris Graves, Chairman,
Committee for the protection of "What is Truth" in Railroad History
tel. 916.663.3742

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New York City Train Travel

From: "Allan Sacks" allan.sacks@comcast.net

The Railroads and the Centennial Exhibition of 1876 page includes a time table for the Ft. Wayne & Pennsylvania R.R. Line that shows a daily express traveling east arriving in Philadelphia at 3:30 PM and arriving in New York at 6:45 PM. I thought that before Penn Station was completed in New York in 1910, there was no tunnel under the Hudson River for trains to travel between New Jersey and New York. Did the trains from the west in 1876 only go as far east as Jersey City or was there some other route into New York City? Likewise how did people in New York travel to Philadelphia?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Is this fiction?

Google Alerts reported the following new post:

"NATIVE AMERICAN CHIEF OFFERS AID TO CENTRAL PACIFIC RAILROAD" 1864

What is this? Does this make any sense? Is it entirely made up?

W. A. Bradley Union Pacific Photo Car family image

From: "Chickwagon" chickwagon@gmail.com

Your amazing site was such a help in understanding a few photos I was trying to identify and date. I thought you might enjoy these images, as I scanned both sides of my photocar portrait. These were in an album that was from families who lived in Stayton, Marion County, Oregon, with relatives in Dayton, WA; Hanford, CA; and Sacramento, CA. I assume this photo was from Salem, OR, since the advertisement on the back refers to an office in Portland. Please let me know if you can add any additional information. I think I must have cropped the border of this, but retained the name "W.A. Bradley". ...

—Barb C.

W.A. Bradley Photocar Family image

W.A. Bradley Photocar Family image

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Trout Creek in Truckee

From: "Denny Dickinson" echosdad@hotmail.com

I am a serious historical researcher doing research on Trout Creek in Truckee, California through the Truckee Donner Historical Society (TDHS). ...

The Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum has published a CPRR Survey Map 1868, Nevada County, CA. I believe that the 1889 USGS map is in error showing Trout Creek flowing in southerly direction into the Truckee River around what is now the Bridge Street Bridge. This map may show the true direction of Trout Creek in 1886. Would it be possible to get the present day location of this map for my review. ...

–Denny Dickinson

PS - The TDSH library is open every Thur. 10-2. I would like to invite anyone interested in Truckee history to stop by for a visit.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Chinese workers of the Central Pacific Railroad

From: "Jennifer Chen" jennifersiyi@gmail.com

... I am doing a rather large-scale history project on the Chinese workers of the Central Pacific Railroad.

I visited the Sacramento Railroad Museum and library recently, and I examined some payrolls in 1866. They were very hard to read and interpret, but I tried my hardest to decipher with the librarian.

It is a wonder why all the Chinese workers were paid in a company, and do you know why the Chinese were called "Ah" and followed by a single syllable of their names? Were the Chinese not called by their real names? Does it in any way show that Americans didn't even bother to learn the Chinese immigrants' names? ...

—Jennifer Chen

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Old grade in Elko County

"Nature Notes An area rich in railroad history" by Larry Hyslop, Free Press Corespondent, © Elko Daily Free Press, February 8, 2014. (History Article)

"Railroad history is visible off the Interstate 80 Moor exit. ... Google Earth photo ... county road that leaves I-80 to travel around the north end of the Pequop Mountains ... built over the top of the original Central Pacific Railroad rail line ... the Southern Pacific Railroad’s current tracks ... 1868 ... grading crews from the two companies passed each other at the north side of the Great Salt Lake ... shows grade constructed by the UPRR ... the farthest West the UPRR built grade in advance of the track crews." [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Saturday, February 01, 2014

CPRR Discussion Group

Welcome to the CPRR Discussion Group at the Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum.

See HOW TO POST to the CPRR Discussion Group.

© 2014 CPRR.org. Use of this Web site constitutes acceptance of the User Agreement which permits personal use web viewing only; no copying; arbitration; no warranty. Only send content intended for publication. Links are not merchant endorsements – caveat emptor. If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

CPRR iron

From: "Bruce Cooper" bcc@digitalimageservices.com

All found along the CPRR grade in Winnemucca, Nevada.

CPRR iron, Winnemucca, NV

CPRR iron, Winnemucca, NV

CPRR iron, Winnemucca, NV

CPRR iron, Winnemucca, NV

CPRR iron, Winnemucca, NV

CPRR iron, Winnemucca, NV

CPRR iron, Winnemucca, NV

CPRR iron, Winnemucca, NV

CPRR iron, Winnemucca, NV

CPRR iron, Winnemucca, NV

CPRR iron, Winnemucca, NV

CPRR iron, Winnemucca, NV

CPRR iron, Winnemucca, NV

CPRR iron, Winnemucca, NV

CPRR iron, Winnemucca, NV

CPRR iron, Winnemucca, NV

CPRR iron, Winnemucca, NV

James Duhurst Taylor, engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad

From: "Gilbert Taylor" gib616@yahoo.com

My family has told a story about our great great grandfather being engineer for the Union Pacific [Railroad] and that there is bust of him at a museum in Omaha [Nebraska]. I can't find info on him or the statue.

Have you heard of James Duhurst Taylor?

Reenactor/living history - railroad detective - clothing - conductor’s outfit - costume

From: "Bill Wolfe" llano.wolfes@gmail.com

... just stumbled across your website while trying to do an internet search on “railroad detective.”

My family has become interested in living history presentations here in Central Texas (ca. 1870s). My wife is working on a presentation as a librarian and I had the idea of doing some sort of presentation on western railroads.

Aside from the presentation itself, my biggest challenge is going to be to come up with a period-correct costume. I was wondering if you’d have any suggestions on where or what. I’ve seen some railroad goggles on sale on ebay that I thought might be appropriate if I were to dress up as an engineer. I’d wondered about a conductor’s outfit and since I’m a deputy sheriff, the thought of “being” a railroad detective also came to mind.

I’ve purchased a couple of original publications from the 1870's regarding railroads, but I haven’t come across ... any pictures that I felt really gave me a working idea of what real railroaders wore back then. From what I remember from western movies, railroad detectives generally wore business suits. Badge on a vest? Six gun on the hip?

Any advice, direction, or other help would be appreciated. ...

—Deputy Bill Wolfe, Llano County Sheriff's Department

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Articles on "The Joining of the Rails: The Transcontinental Railroad"

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Surveying the first transcontinental railroad

From: "Erica Brandt" ebrandt@northcoastchurch.com

I was researching the Transcontinental railway to use as an illustration. Basically how the two sides needed to come together, and if they were one degree off over time, would not have met in the middle.

But I can't find any details on line detailing the actually engineering/mapping of how the two sides were able to meet at the same place on May 10.

I have read that they were only working miles apart as they got closer, but could you point me to anything detailing how they actually mapped it to come together? ...

—Erica Brandt

Travel in 1873

From: "Bryan Lamkin" blamkin@apu.edu

I am working on an article/biography of an Irish immigrant who traveled from West County Cork to Carson City Nevada in 1873. I am looking for "best guesses" about route and fares. Any help or advice you could provide would be greatly appreciated. I have included my draft of the travel section. Thanks!

It is difficult to know for sure his itinerary to Carson City, the only clues being his departure from New Jersey and newspaper reports at the time of his death that mentioned coming from Missouri. Assuming that he did get to Carson via Missouri, a possible itinerary would have looked something like the following. From New York he would have traveled as a second- or third-class passenger on the Pennsylvania Railroad, departing for Pittsburgh via Jersey City and Philadelphia at 5 p.m. on April 21 and arriving in Pittsburgh at 9:40 a.m. on April 22. From Pittsburgh he would have connected with a Pittsburgh, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad car headed for St. Louis. Assuming he caught the 2:15 p.m. train, that would have put him in St. Louis by mid-evening on the 23rd. A late evening St. Louis, Kansas City & Northern Railway connection would have him arriving in Kansas City by 9:30 a.m. on the 24th. Next, he would have headed to Denver on the Kansas Pacific line, but would have had to wait until the next morning at 9:45 a.m., and over thirty hours later, at 6:30 in the evening on the 26th, he would have reached the mile high city. The following afternoon at 1:15 p.m., he would have boarded a Denver Pacific train headed to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and arrived in that city at 10:15 p.m. After another overnight stay in Cheyenne, he would have boarded the Union Pacific train for Reno, getting to the biggest little city in the world just after midnight on April 29. It would have been possible for him to catch a 1:55 a.m. Virginia and Truckee Railroad train to Carson City, which would have him arriving at his final destination at 3:40 in the morning, April 30, 1873, after a journey of eight days. Considering the number of connections, the regular and inevitable delays for train travel in that period, the sheer exhaustion Hurley must have felt, and the fact that in the only “biography” of Hurley, an entry in James Scrugham’s biographical section of his history of Nevada, the author notes that Denis Hurley arrived in Carson City in May, it is doubtful the trip took only nine days.

My footnotes concerning fares:

PA RR, Jersey City to Pittsburgh: 444 miles at .03/mile = $13.32;
Pittsburgh to St. Louis = ?;
St. L, KC & N RR, St. Louis to KC: 275 @ .035/mi = $9.63;
KS Pacific, KC to Denver: 639 miles at ;
Denver Pacific, Denver to Cheyenne: 106 miles at .01/mile = $1.06;
UP/CP, Cheyenne to Ogden/Ogden to Reno (589 miles): 1102 miles at ? = ?

—Bryan Lamkin, Professor of History, Director of General Education, Azusa Pacific University

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How many Central Pacific Railroad tunnels?

How many Central Pacific Railroad tunnels were “blasted through the granite mountains” of the Sierra Nevada?

John J. Berry, clerk in the San Francisco CPRR office, 1874-1876

From: "Pam Meeds Williams" pamymwms@gmail.com

... Great website!

I am looking for information on John J. Berry, who was a clerk in the San Francisco CPRR office in 1874 to 1876.

He died in 1876 when he committed suicide on his wife's grave at Calvary Cemetery in San Francisco.

I work at the Moraga Historical Society and we have a headstone for Eliza Berry, who we believe is his wife. We think they are from Michigan.

Would there be any old employee records going back that far still in existence? If so where might they be? ...

—Pamela Meeds

Friday, January 17, 2014

African American workers on the first transcontinental railroad

From: "Samuel Lilley" sjl8665@gmail.com

African Americans were a small portion of the workforce. I was just wondering why. When they spent money to import Chinese people?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Event announcement

Noon, Friday, January 17, 2014, at the Auburn/Placer Public Library, Auburn, California. Open to all.

From: "G J Chris Graves" caliron@att.net

A quick reminder that Bill George and I will expose some odd but factual items regarding the Central Pacific Rail Road of California, including but not limited to:

1. Theodore D. Judah's land speculations

2. Dis-incorporation of the City of Auburn due to railroad speculations

3. Why Rocklin had the roundhouse, not Roseville

4. Strobridge and Chinese workers

5. Samuel Whitmarsh, (station agent, Auburn, Calif. Stagecoach Co), Rattlesnake Dick Barger and the Strobridge children

6. Why nitroglycerin was used only Tunnel 6, 7, 8, and near Highway 20

7. Economics of 1865 that prompted the hiring of Chinese (Sherman Day's family shows how and why)

8. How many Chinese died, and how their graves were marked

9. If time allows, a discussion of Eadweard Muybridge and the murder of Harry Larkyns.

Bill and I hope to see you there. We will not discuss the Auburn Journal of Sept., 15, 2002, Section 2 page 4 unless asked to.

—G J Chris Graves, Newcastle, AltaCal'a

"Western property rights case pits landowners, government"

"Western property rights case pits landowners, government" by Richard Wolf, © USA TODAY, January 14, 2014. (News Article)

"An 1875 congressional law and a 1942 court decision don't answer whether the government or private landowners have first dibs on former railroad property ... The Supreme Court wrestled Tuesday with ... What did Congress intend ... when it passed the General Railroad Right of Way Act of 1875 to give rail lines access to public lands? Now that most of the railroads are out of business and much of the land has been sold, who gets the rail beds -- the government or private landowners? ... " [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Monday, January 13, 2014

Location of culverts

From: "Gerold Herrick" geroldherrick@hotmail.com, gfh502@iowatelecom.net

Where can I find a list and locations of culverts and tiles under the Union Pacific Railroad in Grand Junction, Iowa?

—Gerold Herrick, Mayor of Grand Junction, Iowa

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

CPRR Discussion Group

Welcome to the CPRR Discussion Group at the Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum.

See HOW TO POST to the CPRR Discussion Group.

© 2014 CPRR.org. Use of this Web site constitutes acceptance of the User Agreement which permits personal use web viewing only; no copying; arbitration; no warranty. Only send content intended for publication. Links are not merchant endorsements – caveat emptor. If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate.

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

CP-UP Junction Promontory to Ogden

From: "Kyle Wyatt" kylekwyatt@gmail.com

I am trying to pin down just when the interchange between the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific moved from Promontory to Ogden. The schedule from December 2, 1869 seems pretty clearly to show the junction at Promontory. By December 29 it looks more confused, with part of the schedule indicated Ogden, and sleeping cars listing Promontory. Other indications suggest the transition date may have been Jan 1, 1870.

Does anyone have any articles form more local papers, such as Ogden or Salt Lake City?

—Kyle


CP timetable - still Promontory - California Farmer and Journal of Useful Sciences, Volume 32, Number 19, 2 December 1869


1869-12-29 CP, SF&SJ, CalP Timetables; still Promontory - Daily Alta California, Volume 21, Number 7222, 29 December 1869


Central Pacific fares via Ogden, effective Jan 1, 1870 - Daily Alta California, Volume 21, Number 7224, 31 December 1869


Daily Alta California, Volume XXII, Number 7226, 2 January 1870 - Page 6 Advertisements Column 7

California Pacific Railroad

From: kawich@aol.com

I am interested in the California Pacific Railroad’s role as one of the earliest links and the quickest connection to San Francisco for transcontinental passengers from the Central Pacific in Sacramento during the early years (ca.1869-1872). Research has found that the Cal.P.RR transported passengers from Sacramento to Vallejo via rail; then on the passenger ferry New World to San Francisco.

The steamer New World has a long and interesting history. Early advertisements (notably, in the Daily Alta California 1855-1865) show this steamer as being owned by the California Steam Navigation Company. Prior to this she made the voyage around Cape Horn from New York to San Francisco after being taken illegally by Captain Wakeman (the New World had been seized by the sheriff in New York due to a creditor’s lien) and at one point during the trip she evaded a British ship attempting to capture her.

An ad in the March 20, 1869 Daily Alta California announces the New World and the Cal.P. schedule from Sacramento to San Francisco (and other points).

Also of interest here was the purchase of the California Steam Navigation Company by the Cal.P. in 1871 and the acquisition of the Cal.P. by the Central Pacific that same year.

Was the New World the only steamer operated between Vallejo and S.F. and was she owned by the Cal.P or leased from the California Steam Navigation Company prior to 1871?

The contractor’s name who built the Cal.P. from Vallejo to Sacramento, DeWitt C. Haskin, appears at the bottom of the advertisements for the Cal.P. but no title is associated with his name.

What official position(s) did Haskin hold with the California Pacific? He was honored by having a Cal.P. Mason locomotive named after him.

Information regarding the steamer “New World” and D.C.Haskin’s involvement with the Cal.P. is appreciated.

—Dan Getts



New World sold to San Francisco by Oregon Steam Navigation - Daily Alta California, Volume XX, Number 6717, 6 August 1868.


New World acquired for Valleyo route - Daily Alta California, Volume XX, Number 6729, 18 August 1868.


Purchased from Oregon Steam Navigation for Vallejo route - Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 35, Number 5427, 18 August 1868.


Oregon Steam Navigation, being rebuilt for Vallejo route - Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 35, Number 5427, 18 August 1868.


Navigation injunction against New world operation overturned - Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 36, Number 5466, 2 October 1868.


New boilers in New World - Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 36, Number 5533, 19 December 1868.


Pacific steamer New World being rebuilt for Vallejo service - Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 36, Number 5549, 8 January 1869.


Steamer New World Overhaulled - Daily Alta California, Volume 21, Number 6879, 18 January 1869.


Steamer New World Test Trip - Daily Alta California, Volume 21, Number 6883, 22 January 1869.


New World Broke Shaft - Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 36, Number 5573, 5 February 1869.


World broke shaft; Washoe substitute for California Pacific - Daily Alta California, Volume 21, Number 6897, 5 February 1869.


New World broke shaft; Washoe substitute - Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 36, Number 5574, 6 February 1869.


California Pacific steamer New World returned to service - Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 36, Number 5602, 11 March 1869.


No racing for New World - Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 36, Number 5603, 12 March 1869.


Bids for Newspaper concession on New World and CalP Trains - Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 37, Number 5613, 24 March 1869.


New CalP boat to replace New World being built in New York - Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 37, Number 5683, 14 June 1869.


CP acquisition of CalP, Crockers sell - Daily Alta California, Volume 23, Number 7819, 19 August 1871.


CP and Cal P Combined - Daily Alta California, Volume 23, Number 7830, 1 September 1871.


Calif Steam Nav sold to Calif Pacific - Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 41, Number 7140, 1 April 1871.


Calif Pacific buys Calif Steam Navigation boats - Daily Alta California, Volume 23, Number 7692, 14 April 1871.


Daily Alta California, Vol 23, Number 7693, 15 April 1871 - Sale of a Railroad.


Calif Steam Navigation sold to Calif Pacific - Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 41, Number 7175, 12 May 1871.


CenPac purchased CalP, inc Calif Steam Nav and SF&NP - Pacific Rural Press, Volume 2, Number 6, 12 August 1871.

Newspaper articles courtesy of Kyle K. Wyatt.
(see comment below)