Friday, February 05, 2016

Central Pacific Railway Locomotive 'Fairlie' ????

From: "Ed Workman" workman.e@gmail.com

I stumbled onto this at Hathi Library Trust.

And it seemed 'wrong'.

I searched your site using 'Fairlie' and got nada.

I found the list of CP locomotives.
Nada

Is there another website that might help?

Did Mason build it and sell it to another RR? ...

—Ed Workman


"Double-Bogie Locomotive for the Central Pacific Railway. Constructed, according to the plans of Mr. Robert F. Fairlie, by Messrs. William Mason and Co., Engineers, Taunton, U.S."

Engineering v.8 1869 CP Fairlie
Engineering v.8, p.35, July 16, 1869, CP Fairlie.
Courtesy Hathi Library Trust.

Monday, February 01, 2016

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

National History Day Questions

From: "Naomi Henderson" naomi.henderson@hudsonpiratepride.com

Hello, my name is Naomi. I have chosen the Transcontinental Railroad as my topic for a historical contest called NHD, national history day. I was wondering if I could ask you some questions regarding my research.

If you had to pick the most important period of time during the construction, what would it be?

What is the biggest impact, in your opinion, of the railroad?

Did you ever hear an interesting story you would like to share?

Thank you for spending your time to read this.

—Naomi Henderson

Saturday, January 16, 2016

National History Day Questions

From: "Joshua Bush" joshua.bush20@gmail.com

My name is Joshua Bush I am an 8th Grade student attending Harold Wiggs Middle School in El Paso, Texas. I am working on a National History Day project about the Transcontinental Railroad. I am inquiring if you would be able to answer some questions about my topic. I have included five questions below that I would appreciate your insight on. If you do answer do you mind if I cite you in my research?

Thank in you in advance for your assistance to my project.

—Joshua Bush



Interview questions

1. How was the transcontinental railroad an innovation in the technology of that era?

2. What do you believe were the main obstacles that was incurred in the building of the railroad?

3. Was there, if any, political opposition to the building of the railroad?

4. How did the railroad open up the country new possibilities for exchange?

5. What do you think was the most important impact to the country of the transcontinental railroad?

Friday, January 08, 2016

Questions about the Transcontinental Railroad

Friday, January 01, 2016

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Southern Pacific Maintenance Building

From: "Mike Polk" mpolk@sagebrushconsultants.com

I am continuing my research on Central Pacific/Southern Pacific Maintenance camps and the Chinese connection. I have several questions which I hope someone out there may be able to provide some clarity on. I have found what appears to be a surplus maintenance building along the line in western Nevada and want to determine if it may actually date from the years of Central Pacific operations. The building is a one story, side gable structure with a low pitch, tar paper roof with exposed rafter tails. It is about 16 x 18 ft in size and clad in 4 x 8 plywood sheets. That alone suggests post 1920's construction, but it is possible that the plywood was added at a later date. It has one opening on one of the short sides, though it is possible that the opposite end had windows or a door and has since been covered with plywood. The end with an opening is entirely open with the upper portion framed in with angled gable trim. The interior seems to be open frame of 2 x 4's, with no insulation and no interior walls. It is possible that the building was originally used as a hand car building, bunkhouse or tool shed. It is now off the railroad and used to store irrigation pipe by an adjacent business.

1. Is there information about when the Central Pacific began building its standard plan structures at station stops along the route from Ogden to Sacramento? It seems, from my sources, that by 1880 buildings at station stops were in place and of uniform design, including bunkhouses, cook houses, tool sheds, hand car shacks, etc.

2. When did the SP begin to change paint colors from the Box Car Red used by Central Pacific to Colonial Yellow used by Southern Pacific? I don't know for a fact that CPRR used Box Car Red, but have been told that by well informed railroad historians in Utah and actually saw dark red painted lettering on portions of former Promontory roundhouse walls. The roundhouse was demolished around 1913, but portions have been preserved as part of a rancher's barn. I note in a CPRR Discussion Group post from 2006 that the new SP color scheme seems to have begun on the Salt Lake Division around the Harriman era of the early 1900s. It also indicates that common plans between SP and UP were started about 1904. The building that I am speaking about is painted in SP Colonial Yellow. It's certainly possible that it was re-painted to that color in later years, but then again, it is possible that it is a much newer building and dates from the early 20th Century.

Any thoughts would be of value. Thank you.

Mike Polk
Sagebrush Consultants
Ogden, Utah

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Southern Pacific Railroad's Inter-California Line

From: "Cindi Andersen" cindersnaps343@yahoo.com

I ... was wondering about the SP's "Inter-Cal" line which went from Araz Jct., Arizona to Mexicali on the Mexican side of the border. Although the SP de Mexico was rarely if ever profitable, did the Inter-California line make money prior to its abandonment circa 1958? Does any information still survive as to the types of crops shipped on that particular line? ...

—Cindi Andersen

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Boston Board of Trade Transcontinental Railroad Trip, 1870

From: "Beth Anne Bower" bower1848@gmail.com

Boston Board of Trade Transcontinental Railroad Trip, 1870.

In doing family research I learned that my 2nd great grandfather was one of the organizers and participants in this historic trip. The Massachusetts Historical Society and the American Antiquarian Society both have some papers related to the trip. I was very interested to see the Hart photographs and the Transcontinental newspaper. I am pursuing additional research (I live outside of Boston) and am scheduled to be in San Francisco in March.

Can you point me in the direction of any other archival collections with records, photographs or memorabilia from the trip? Ideas on where to look? I am particularly interested in how the train was supported. I assume there were porters, engineers, cooks, staff etc. on the train ... but where did they sleep etc.? Was there a "support" car? ...

—Beth Bower

Monday, December 07, 2015

Mastodon locomotives on Donner Pass?

From: "Larry Mullaly" lmullaly@jeffnet.org

Mastodons on Donner?

A June 1884 Motive Power summary that I found at the National Archives lists status of all locomotives then in service from Visalia to El Paso. This reports shows that “mastodon" locomotives SP nos. 51-63 as well as CP no. 229 were assigned to the Tulare Division. No mastodons were assigned to the Los Angeles Division.

However, nowhere is there is no sign of SP nos. 64-79, the last group of these engines built by Danforth-Cooke in May-June of 1883. Their absence from the southern lines leads me me to surmise that they may have been assigned to the Donner route.

The topic gets more interesting because Menke/Mullaly (SP Trainline Fall 2005) suggest that the transition on this route from wood to coal took place in late 1886 based on San Francisco. Since the Danforth-Cooke locomotives seem to have been coal burning engines, perhaps the topic of coal usage over Donner also needs to be revisited.

Comments would be appreciated.

—Larry Mullaly

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

"The Central Pacific R. R. of California. Character of the Work, Its Progress, Resources, Earnings, and Future Prospects." New York, October, 1866

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

A nice 1866 CPRR map in this auction.

—Chris



The Central Pacific R. R. of California. Character of the Work, Its Progress, Resources, Earnings, and Future Prospects. George Brown, Printer, New York, October, 1866.
The Central Pacific R. R. of California. Character of the Work, Its Progress, Resources, Earnings, and Future Prospects. New York, October, 1866."Map Showing the route of the Central Pacific R.R. From Sacramento To Great Salt Lake... Drawn, Engraved & Printed by C.W. & C.B. Colton & Co. 172 William St. N.Y."
Courtesy PBA Galleries.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

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Red eye missing may mean retinoblastoma

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"How Railroad History Shaped Internet History"

"How Railroad History Shaped Internet History", © The Atlantic, November, 2015. (Article)

"It's no accident that Iowa, where the first transcontinental railroad began, is now home to a huge data-center industry. ... Google's decision to place its Iowa data centers in the starting point of the transcontinental railroad ... the actual routes that fiber-optic networks run." [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]


Railroad Depot at Council Bluffs, Iowa, 1882
Railroad Depot at Council Bluffs, Iowa, 1882.

"Bloodgood vs. Mohawk & H.R.R., an 1837 easement case describes the inherent value of railroads:"

... they tend to annihilate distance, bringing in effect places that are distant near to each other: tending in their magic influence to the extension of personal acquaintance, the enlargement of business relations, and cementing more firmly the bond of fellowship and union between the inhabitants of the States.

Locomotive "Socrates," the only survivor of the Ashtabula Train Disaster of the 1870's

From: "Joe Daniels" joedan123@gmail.com

I am attempting to find information on a 1800's locomotive named "Socrates." It was the only survivor of the Ashtabula Train Disaster of the 1870's. I have not been able to locate a single detail as to the fate of this locomotive.

I found one report that said it was put on display during the memorial service but I can't find out what happened to it after. ...

—Joe Daniels

Sunday, November 01, 2015

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Joining of the rails

From: "Theodore Kiefer" tedkiefer467@gmail.com

Since the rails met coming from opposite directions, I presume a standard length rail might not fit the gap between. How did they accomplish this last joining of the rails? I have never read anything concerning this situation. I am guessing two rails were fabricated just for this situation. Were they able to cut and drill holes for the joint bolts in the field? ...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Rail Road Spike Question (the number 16 on spike head)

From: "Elledge, Mark D." Mark.Elledge@va.gov

I have enjoyed looking at the fantastic web page your organization has created.

A couple years ago a friend and I were metal detecting and he unearthed a rail road spike. However, this one was very odd. On the head of the spike the number 16 was deeply stamped into it.

I have dug up many railroad spikes but have never found one with a number on it. I was wondering what it means. I have looked and searched and have failed to find and answer.

I have attached a photo of the item. ...

—Mark D. Elledge, Sheridan, WY


railroad spike with the number 16 on its head

Monday, October 19, 2015

Indians on top of trains

From: "Shayne Del Cohen" shaynedel@att.net

Looking for copy of leases or right aways from Indian agents that allowed Indians to ride for free on top of trains in exchange for laying RR through their reservation. ...

—Shayne Del Cohen

P.S. Ride Reno-EMY [Reno, Nevada to Emeryville, California] all the time and just love going through the mountains thinking of the construction.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

"Union Pacific Museum has 'hidden gem' from Golden Spike ceremony"

"Union Pacific Museum has 'hidden gem' from Golden Spike ceremony" by Tim Rohwer, © The Daily Nonpareil, October 18, 2015. (News Article)

" ... On display ... is one of the three ceremonial golden spikes ... that were tapped into place by a special silver ... hammer into a laurelwood tie ... a fine wood ... you would use for furniture ... the Golden Spike and the Nevada Silver Spike [were] given to Central Railroad President Leland Stanford. ... The Arizona Gold and Silver [spike] was given to [Union Pacific Railroad] President Oliver Ames, who took it back to New York City, then the railroad’s headquarters. Years later, after Ames’ death, his family donated the spike to the Museum of the City of New York, which owns the spike. ... The spike has been on display since the UP Museum opened in 2003 on a permanent loan ... [with] a ring featuring gold that came from the Golden Spike, as well as watchfobs used on pocket watches. ... " [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Train Travel in 1925

From: "Anne Louise Bannon" anne@annelouisebannon.com

I'm writing a novel in which my character is travelling in October, 1925 from New York to Los Angeles (or Pasadena? Some other L.A. station? I know the Los Angeles Union Station didn't open until 1939). The fun part is that she's riding first class for the first time in her life. And I mean the kind of first class that an uber-millionnaire would be taking. So in addition to schedules, I need to get a sense of what it would be like from the time she arrives at the train station (Grand Central or Pennsylvania?) to the time she gets off the train in L.A., plus some sense of what a similar trip would be like for someone of considerably more modest means. While I don't need to know the exact cost of the trip, I would need to know how much of any incidental expenses, such as meals, would be pre-paid or on her husband's tab, as it were. He will not be with her at the time since he's gone ahead of her to California.

Is there a good online source for schedules, photos of 1920's Pullman cars and diners, perhaps a menu or two? Would she be changing trains in Chicago? One of your notes suggested that folks on the Pullman cars didn't necessarily. If she doesn't change trains, would the car be hooked up to another train. To the best of my knowledge, it wasn't a straight shot. ...

Anne Louise Bannon, Writer and Columnist

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Stereo views by A. A. Hart

From: shipwreckcargo@gmail.com wrote:

I recently acquired 2 dozen stereo views with A. A. Hart's logo on the reverse side.

Can you help me identify which ones are rarities and what their value might be? ...

—Brewster Harding

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Food for CPRR rail passengers

Thursday, October 01, 2015

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Recommended German Language Books on U.S. Railroad History

From: "Karl-Heinz Stempfle" ekstempfle@t-online.de

My English is (sorry) not good. Seeking books on railway history in USA in German language.

—Karl from Germany

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Golden Spike Centennial May, 1969 with account from 'Harper's Weekly,' May 29, 1869 and 1869 Timetables

From: "Bruce C. Cooper" centpacrr@comcast.net

From The Official Guide of Railways, 102nd year, No. 1, June, 1969 (Golden Spike Centennial Issue) pp. 2-5.

Courtesy of The Bruce C. Cooper Collection.



Excerpts from
"THE PACIFIC RAILROAD"
in "Harper's Weekly" of May 29,1869

The foremost of the great projects for connecting by rail the Atlantic and Pacific coasts was realized May 10. At ten minutes past 3 o'clock P.M. at Promontory Point, Utah the last rail was laid. The last spikes driven were presented by Nevada and Arizona. That from Nevada was of silver. "To the iron of the East and the gold of the West," said the Hon. T. A. Tuttle, representing that State, "Nevada adds her link of silver to span the continent and wed the oceans." By a connection of the telegraph with the last spike (a gold one from California), the last blow given announced to the world the completion of the grand enterprise. A prayer was said by Rev. Dr. Todd of Pittsfield; then the last two rails were laid simultaneously, one opposite the other—one for the Union Pacific Railroad, and one for the Central Pacific Railroad; the presentation of spikes and the responses followed; then the last spikes were driven by the two companies, and telegrams were sent to the President of the United States and to the Associated Press.

This remarkable event was celebrated with especial enthusiasm in Chicago and other Western cities. But in New York city the news was calmly received; and as on the occasion of the capture of Richmond the event was celebrated by the singing of anthems, and not by a loud uproar. A salute was fired in the City Park; peals were rung from Trinity chimes, and a religious service was held in Trinity Church. The remarks made by the Rev. Dr. Vinton were so appropriate that we quote here a portion of his address:

"This is, indeed, a great event of the world: it is one of the victories of peace—a victory grander than those of war, which leave in their track desolation, devastation, misery and woe. It is a triumph of commerce—a triumph indicating free trade as a future law of the nation. When we contemplate this achievement we can hardly realize its magnitude. Three thousand two hundred and eighty-five miles of continuous railway within four degrees of latitude and fifty degrees of longitude in the temperate zone. When the ocean route was discovered around the Cape of Good Hope, it was very properly regarded as a blessing to mankind—hence the designation by which it was known; but this mighty work, which connects the two oceans, is a still greater blessing. In the olden times, when camels were the means used for transportation it was found that wherever the caravans stopped there would spring up cities, and there would be the evidences of civilization. So with this great work. It will populate our vast territory, and be the great highway of the nations; their merchants will cross it to trade with us. But there is another aspect in which we view it as a blessing, and esteem it as of still greater importance. It will preserve the union of these States.

"Philosophers tell us, and we know it to be true, that where there are rivers which diverge in their courses, and have separate and distinct outlets (as in Europe), there the nations become diffused and the people are separated and disunited. But where, on the contrary, the topography is such that the rivers all flow into one common central basin, there is necessarily a concentration of interests and of peoples, and that territory is marked out by God to be under one Government.

"By the operation of this natural law we must regard it as decreed that there shall ever be a unity of people and government in all that territory which lies between the Alleghenies and the Rocky Mountains. Beyond these lofty heights, however, we find the rivers diverging, as in Europe, and following the rule that obtains in the Old World, there might be a diffusion of interests and a separation of governments in that section of the country divided from us by the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains. But this railway counteracts such natural tendency to disunion, has prevented a separation and binds the States of the Atlantic and Pacific into one nation."

Let us glance at the history of this enterprise. It is closely connected with the political developments of the last twenty years. At the close of the Mexican War, in 1848, California, New Mexico (including Arizona), and Texas were added to our territory, so that from the 32d to the 42d parallel of latitude there was no foreign domain between the Mississippi and the Pacific coast. The very next year thousands of miners from every quarter of the globe flocked to the goldfields of California; the greater number by sea, but very many through the Eastern States, and over the unexplored regions of the Far West, by what soon came to be known as the overland route. The necessity for a transcontinental route then became evident. Hon. Thomas H. Benton, of Missouri, introduced a bill into the Senate in 1850, authorizing what may be called a stepping-stone railroad, consisting of links of railroad interrupted occasionally by what were then supposed to be insuperable natural obstacles. Three years later Congress appropriated $150,000 for six surveys of proposed routes for Pacific railroads, to be carried on by the War Department, of which Jefferson Davis was then Secretary. Among those who had been prominent in advocating the claims of this enterprise before the people, the foremost was Asa Whitney. Congress in 1854, appropriated $190,000 more, and three additional surveys were made.

The great problem of the engineers was how to overleap the Rocky Mountains. The Pacific surveys proved that this great grizzly bear had a very broad back, that the slope up his sides was very gradual, and that his spine did not extrude unpleasantly in the centre, but lay, on the contrary, rather sunk between two rows of muscles, or mountains, on either side.

But very soon the Southern disunion sentiment cast a cloud over the political sky, and the important question arose, "How would the Pacific States stand"? Their isolated position was keenly felt. The importance of California was beginning to be understood. Her gold, cereals, grape culture, her trade with Eastern Asia; all these facts commanded attention. She stood the test of the Civil War, and proved herself loyal. Her own growing importance fed her...to seek a more rapid and convenient communication with the East. It was discovered that there was a practicable railroad route across the snow-clad Sierra through Donner Pass, midway between San Francisco and Virginia City. Some of the richest of California merchants pledged their entire fortunes to the realization of this project, the State Legislature gave its support, and Congress was asked to grant a fitting subsidy.

It is needless here to describe the conflict which then sprang up between Chicago and St. Louis, each of which (the former backed by New York and the Northwest, and the latter by Philadelphia and the Middle States) sought to gain control of the eastern branch that was to meet and unite with that already proceeding from San Francisco. This was in 1862, when the Government was spending daily $2,000,000 in gold for the suppression of the Rebellion. It was in the midst of such a contest as this that in July, 1862, President Lincoln signed the act granting a charter to the proprietors of the Pacific Railroad Companies. The Chicago capitalists had gained the victory, and Omaha (on the Missouri River) was fixed upon as the eastern terminus of the road to Sacramento, 1,721 miles distant. But St. Louis was to be provided for by a subsidized branch line, to connect with the main line on or about the 100th meridian. This was called the Eastern Division of the Union Pacific Railroad. The line from Sacramento to meet the Union Pacific was called the Central Pacific Railroad. These three companies were all chartered and stood on equal footing as regarded land-grants, loans, mortgages, etc. Congress conferred upon the three companies the right of way, an absolute grant of 12,800 acres per mile of the public lands traversed, and authorized a special issue of 6 per cent United States bonds, proportioned to each company according to the length and difficulty of the lines, to be delivered as the work progressed. The bonds issued by the companies themselves were given the position of a first mortgage. The two classes of bonds and the other capital for the construction of the Union and Central Pacific roads amount in round numbers to $150,000,000, about equally divided between the two.

These two roads have been completed and the through line regularly established. On the very day of the opening an invoice of tea from Japan was shipped from San Francisco to St. Louis. The next day a telegram was received at the Post-Office Department, Washington from Promontory Point, stating that the mails had been delivered at that place for San Francisco. The cost of transmitting the mails by the Butterfield route was $1,100 per mile by the year; by the railroad it is only $200 per mile. The transportation of government supplies and troops is diminished in the same ratio.

The advantages of the new route thus opened are obvious. Communication between Calcutta, Hong-Kong, and Liverpool will be measured by days instead of weeks. Facilities for the interchange of merchandise will tend to the rapid development of our national resources. Immigration will receive the aid of a most powerful auxiliary. What will grow out of the close connection thus established with Eastern Asia time alone can reveal. We are not disposed to be imaginative. Looking only to what is real and tangible, it is certain that no work of this century can compare in the grandeur both of the undertaking and of its probable results with the Pacific Railroad.

Chinese newspaper, San Francisco, 1893

From: ektien@gmail.com

My family found an old Chinese newspaper [The Oriental Chinese Newspaper, War Kee, Proprietor, No. 803 Washington St., San Francisco, Cal.] ... that is dated May 12th, 1893. ...

–Ek Tien

Courtesy of the Tien Family Collection.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Identification of Passenger Riding Antelope's Cowcatcher

From: "Robert Murphy" robertmurphy12@cox.net

I am the author of The Iron Horse Chronicles, historical fiction about the building of the first transcontinental railroad. In the third book I am writing about the driving of the golden spike. A scene in that book presents Stanford’s special train journeying from Sacramento to Promontory Summit. Who was the passenger riding the cowcatcher of the Antelope when it struck the log in Truckee Canyon? I would like to identify the individual by name rather than brush over the topic.

Robert Lee Murphy



Eagle Talons (The Iron Horse Chronicles: Book One), 2014.

Bear Claws (The Iron Horse Chronicles: Book Two), 2015.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Train delays

From: "Julia Hemminger" mehr077@gmail.com

I am writing an historical fiction novel set in the early 1870's, about a young married couple making a land claim. The setting is a small town in Wisconsin.

What caused train delays, and how long did they last, for instance, if it was a mechanical issue, how long would it take to get the part and/or fix if the town was approximately 80 miles north of Madison? What usually caused delays? ...

—Julia Hemminger

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

First railroad in China [The Tientsin Railway of China, opened 1888]

From: "Bruce Cooper" BCC@CPRR.org

Many of the workers who built the first railroad in China worked on the CPRR grades to Promontory, Oregon and Los Angeles.


The Railroad as an Element in Eduction (New Edition) by Prof. Alex Hogg, M.A. 1899, pp. 59-60:

Tien-Tsin Railway of China, opened 1888 to Tonsham

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Caboose lantern holder for a Coleman lantern

From: "James Armstrong" worldwidewipersinc@hotmail.com

I am looking for information on a lantern holder mounted on the wall in a caboose to hold a Coleman lantern. The CPR lanterns were made by Coleman and impressed CPR from 1949 until 1983. If you have any information on this holder please let me know. ...

—James Armstrong

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

CPRR and UPRR grading past each other

From: alan_weeks@hotmail.com

I understand that the CPRR and UPRR graders past each other by a considerable distance, but is there any record of when and where they 'met', and is there any physical evidence today showing the 'unused' grades (Google maps?)?

One can only imagine the reaction when one day graders from one RR looked into the distance and saw their opposites approaching. ...

—Alan

Monday, August 24, 2015

Ancestry of photographer Carleton Watkins

From: "Howard Watkins" howardkwatkins@gmail.com

I am doing research on the ancestry of photographer Carleton Watkins.

I see that your museum includes many of his wonderful photographs. Did [you] uncover information on his ancestry? I know he was born in Oneonta, New York and was one of eight children.

Before embarking on my own independent research, I am trying to find out if someone has already researched and published his ancestry. Also, I am trying to find out if there are any living descendants of him or his siblings. Any related information or leads would be most appreciated. ...

—Howard K. Watkins, Fresno, California

Locomotive 'Grey Eagle' vs. town name of 'Greaegle'

From: "James McCall" jamesamccall@hotmail.com

In Stephen Ambose's Nothing Like It in the World, he mentions a series of locomotives delivered to Reno in late 1868, one of which was the Grey Eagle.

Could this moniker have been used to name the town and lumber mill of Greaegle? Was a resident of the place for a few years and no one seemed to know where the name originated. Some said it was an Indian named Greaegle, but that didn't seem right as people of the region valued the railroad more. Thought you might have an answer.

—James McCall, Chico, California

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Los Angeles to Berkeley, California travel - 1909

From: "Joan Lisi" lisijoan71@gmail.com

I am writing a biography about a family member who attended University of California at Berkeley from 1909 - 1911. She lived in Los Angeles. Do you know what station was functioning in Berkeley, or barring any, from Oakland? The 16th Street Station in Oakland did not open until 1912. ...

—Joan Lisi

Saturday, August 01, 2015

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Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum.
Copyright © 2015, CPRR.org

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"Alameda in History: Failed railroad led to thriving ferry service"

"Alameda in History: Failed railroad led to thriving ferry service" by Dennis Evanosky, © The Alamedan, July 17, 2015. (News Article)

"In December 1862, Timothy Dame, Peter Donahue and Charles McLaughlin formed the Western Pacific Railroad. These men were already busy building the San Francisco & San Jose Railroad, which began running between San Francisco and Menlo Park in October 1863; the line initiated service to San Jose in January 1864. Ten months later, the Central Pacific Railroad gave the Western Pacific the rights to build a railroad that connected Sacramento with San Jose. ... " [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Central Pacific 1866 (Letter)

From: "Sue Agnew" sue.agnew@gmail.com

I am researching a man who traveled the Central Pacific from Sacramento to its terminus around October 18-22, 1866. Do I assume correctly that the end of the line at that time was at Alta? His destination was Sierraville. Would he have taken a stage the remainder of the trip?

In a letter to family back in Michigan, this man wrote that "The train on the Central Pacific R.R. proceeding to climb the Sierra Nevada mountains ran off the track on a sheer precipice, but the coaches and passengers did not follow the engine 90 feet down the abyss." I am skeptical about this account, since it seems to me that if the engine went down into the abyss then the other cars would have followed. Certainly they wouldn't have come loose very easily. Am I correct about my assumption or would the cars have remained on the track?

Also, if what he says is accurate, then there would have to be another engine brought in to take the cars along their way. I would also assume this would have been newsworthy, but I cannot find any account of such an incident reported in the area newspapers of that time.

I would appreciate knowing your assessment of this man's account, since your organization would be much more familiar with the CPRR of that era than I. If you feel it is possibly a true account, do you have any suggestions as to sources that I could use to document this incident? ...

—Sue Agnew, Tahlequah, Oklahoma​




"During the trip up the Sacramento river the Crysopolis narrowly escaped collision with a returning craft. The train on the Central Pacific R.R. proceeding to climb the Sierra Nevada mountains ran off the track on a sheer precipice, but the coaches and passengers did not follow the engine 90 feet down the abyss."


Letter to Charley Lemmon, 1866Letter to Charley Lemmon, 1866.

Insurance policy from The Locomotive Engineers Mutual Life and Accident Insurance Association

From: "Jeanne Strausz" jstrausz@hotmail.com

I am fascinated by the history I read on your site. My father worked on the rails in Cleveland in the 1940's. I have a policy from The Locomotive Engineers Mutual Life and Accident Insurance Association from July 1, 1970. It matured July 1, 2013. Do you know where I could cash this policy? Did the company change names. It was interesting that I have a piece of history in my hands. ... It was a retirement policy for me for $1,064.00. That would have been a lot of money in 1948 when I was born and when I was 17 years old. That is when the policy was started. ...

Jeanne O. Strausz MSRN, CSN
Adjunct professor
Tabor College Wichita

Number plate (Unknown)

From: "Jim Gajderowicz" jgajderowicz@comcast.net

I am looking for some information regarding this number plate I bought from a railroad collection. It is 13 inches across the top and 9 inches across the bottom and 10 inches top to bottom, with scribed edges on the back sides. ...

—Jim Gajderowicz


Number plate

Saturday, July 04, 2015

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

From: "Bob Riha" bobriha@verizon.net

As a longtime rail fan, I love your website and all the historical, informative information on CPRR — especially on early Western photographers that did work with rail companies. I'm a 21st Century Photographer!

Over the years I've collected and have (42) J.B. Silvis cdv photographs and (1) JB Silvis Stereoview, the 'sister image' that author Barry Swackhamer images published (Winnemucca chiefs daughter with horse and other riders & rail car) — who wrote about J.B. Silvis on your website. (Journal of the West, Vol. 33, April, 1994) ...

Included in my collection is the 'sister image' of Winnemucca Family by Barry Swackhamer. There are also two images of a young boy by Silvis – two views – during same photo session, which is cool to see that Silvis didn't just take one image on a subject and then leave! He worked the subject or took multiple images during their photo session. ...

Also included is my email conversation with Barry Swackhamer. ...

I've read that J.B. Silvis images are extremely rare and that your CPRR Museum [shows only] a handful. I have (43) JB Silvis images - mostly portraits he did of children, men and women of the West. See [images below] ...

Bob Riha Jr., RIHA Photo, Long Beach, CA



J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection

J.B. Silvis Exhibit - RIHA Archives Collection


Images courtesy of Bob Riha, Jr. / RIHA Archives © 2015

Friday, July 03, 2015

Chinese railroad worker unknown photograph

From: "Jennifer Perelli" research@thegammaproject.com
Subject: Urgent TV Request - Canadian Pacific Images for "Around the World by Train."

Hello,

My name is Jennifer Perelli and I work for a television company in the UK called The Gamma Project.

We are producing a railway series called Around the World by Train and our final episode our series tells the extraordinary story of railway building on the American railway. We are now editing the show and are in need of some archive material. We are really hoping to feature the below image in our final show and we were wondering (and really hoping) that you could shed some light as to the origin of the image and if you could [locate] a high-resolution copy of the image.

Chinese railroad worker unknown photograph

Any help/information would be fantastic. Thanks again!

Best wishes,

—Jennifer Perelli, Assistant Producer, The Gamma Project, London, UK

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

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Monday, June 22, 2015

"How the West was built: Project seeks stories of Chinese workers"

"How the West was built: Project seeks stories of Chinese workers" by JULIE MAKINEN, © Los Angeles Times, June 21, 2015. (News Article)

" ... Stanford University ... [has] launched the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project, endeavoring to collect the most complete record of these [Chinese Central Pacific Railroad worker] migrants' journey to the American frontier and their subsequent experiences. ... " [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Ernie Kiesel Collection of Southern Pacific Railroad Photographs

From: "‪Ed Gibson - SP Coast Division" sprr.coast@gmail.com


I have just begun a project for History San Jose to identify SP Coast Division (and "Coast-Side" of the later Western Division) railroaders in hundreds of circa 1900-1970 photographs that once were displayed on the Engineers Room wall of San Francisco's Seventh St. Diesel Shop, and at Mission Bay Roundhouse before that.

The trouble is, the majority of the people in the Ernie Kiesel Collection of Southern Pacific Railroad Photographs are lacking identification, as well as – importantly – biographic data. We anticipate that, in the future, the collection will become an important historical and genealogical reference pertaining to ALL Coast railroaders (employees and management alike), not only those depicted in the photos.

I have the honor of hosting the identification project on my personal website. A representative sample of 25 photographs is online now, with the balance of the collection scheduled to begin appearing in mid-summer, once cataloging and scanning is complete.

In particular to the CPRR Discussion Group, I'm hoping that, in the process of your pursuits, you might forward photos, biographic material, or links / pointers thereto of Coast people of any era as you run across them. These contributions will appear under the appropriate photo, and/or be added to the collection's Biographic & Subject index of all Coast railroaders.

I would greatly appreciate your help, if only in spreading the word!

Ed Gibson

Friday, June 05, 2015

John Insley Blair

From: "Christine Beegle" c.beegle@hotmail.com

My name is Christine Beegle of the Blairstown Historic Preservation Committee. I am trying to find out if the CPRR might have any records regarding whether railroad baron John I. Blair, namesake of our town, attended the ceremony of the joining of the Central Pacific Rail Road and the Union Pacific Railroad in May 1869.

It is stated ... that he received one of the seven watch fob spike souvenirs. However, we are trying to determine if he actually attended the ceremony. He would have traveled a great distance from his home state of New Jersey to Utah for the ceremony. He was an avid train traveler, but the [Promontory Summit, Utah, May 10, 1869 Golden Spike] ceremony was about 3 months after the death of his eldest daughter. So far we haven't been able to find any record by newspaper report and when calling the NPS Golden Spike National Historic Site, they stated that they did not have his name on record as a dignitary in attendance.

John I. Blair was instrumental in completing the Iowa portion of the Chicago Iowa & Nebraska Rail Road among many other railroad ventures. ...

—Christine Beegle, Chairperson, Blairstown Historic Preservation Committee

Monday, June 01, 2015

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What river does The Transcontinental Railroad cross 31 times?

From: "Charlie Kirk"

What river does The Transcontinental Railroad cross 31 times?

This was referred to in a The Transcontinental Railroad Almanac:

It took six years and two armies totaling 20,000 men. Many of the workers were immigrants from China and Ireland who sweated long hours for one or two dollars a day. They laid tracks across hundreds of miles of prairie and scorching desert. They pushed over heights of 8,000 feet and tunneled their way through hard mountain ridges, sometimes at a rate of only a few inches per day. They bridged stream after stream. The tracks crossed one river alone thirty-one times. ...

—Charlie Kirk

"China comes to Sacramento to celebrate countrymen who built transcontinental railroad"

"China comes to Sacramento to celebrate countrymen who built transcontinental railroad" by Stephen Magagnini, © Sacramento Bee, May 23, 2015. (News Article)

"China came to Sacramento earlier this month for a gala celebrating the 150th anniversary of a feat that many said couldn’t be done – the building of the transcontinental railroad over the Sierra Nevada. At the May 15 gathering at the California State Railroad Museum, several hundred of the region’s leading Chinese Americans joined Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson in welcoming a delegation from the Chinese consulate general in San Francisco to see an extensive photo display featuring murals, figurines and sculptures depicting Chinese railroad workers. The exhibit – including 122 sequential photos depicting laborers, work camps, stores and tunnels blasted through the hardest granite – is open to the public for free at the Sacramento County Administration Center, 700 H St., Monday through Friday from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. through June 19[, 2015]. ... " [More]

Friday, May 15, 2015

Railroad worker clothing

From: "Nicole Fernandez" nicolef.castro@hotmail.com

I'm doing a project on the transcontinental railroad. So I was wondering what were the causal clothes the people wore (not the Chinese)?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

National Train Day - May 10th

Friday, May 01, 2015

"Alameda in history: The Cohen estate"

"Alameda in history: The Cohen estate" by Michele Ellson/Dennis Evanosky, © SFGATE, April 24, 2015. (News Article)

" ... In September 1869, the transcontinental railroad was set to arrive at San Francisco Bay. ... the San Francisco & Oakland Railroad’s wharf at Gibbons Point was not yet ready to accommodate the trains. ... the history-making train would travel arrive not in Oakland, but in Alameda on ... the Cohen line. Cohen ... built the San Francisco & Alameda Railroad (SF&A) in 1864. By 1868, Cohen had also acquired interest in the Oakland Railroad and Ferry Company. He sold both to the Central Pacific ... " [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

CPRR Discussion Group

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© 2015 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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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Importance of ranching to the completion of the transcontinental RR

From: "Charlie Saba" charliesaba@hotmail.com

I am creating a documentary about ranching for the Amazing Earthfest, an annual event in Kanab, Utah. I am interested in your opinion of the importance of ranching to the completion of the transcontinental RR, and "manifest destiny". ...

—Charlie Saba

Friday, April 17, 2015

Identification of unknown piece of hardware

From: kawich@aol.com

Attached are images of a brass item found along the old CPRR grade by a friend of mine.

It's brass; about 2 3/8" x 4 3/4".

My thoughts are that it is part of an oiler or a water level indicator.

Any ideas on what it is? ...

—Dan Getts


Brass Unknown

Brass Unknown

Brass Unknown