Tuesday, October 31, 2006


From: How_it_is_and_how_it_happened@stps.org

I am doing a report for a school project and I would like to know the property rights, profit motive, open opportunity, and public interest on the trancontinental railroad!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Chinese to Pacific Coast

From: KyleKWyatt@gmail.com

I came across this Chinese to Pacific Coast engraving in the California On Line list. At a guess, it dates from the late 1870s or early 1880s, based on the presence of the Canadian Pacific in the drawing.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Entertainment on the Transcontinental Railroad

From: "Skiz" jusbnus@cox.net

What kind of entertainment did they have on the Transcontinental Railroad for tourists?


Friday, October 27, 2006

Ten mile day

Does anyone recall the exact quote regarding the 10 miles in one day, wherein Huntington said to the effect he wished Crocker would have done it, when it mattered?
From: "Wendell Huffman" wwhuffma@clan.lib.nv.us

CP Huntington letter to "Friend Crocker" (which is undoubtedly Edwin B. Crocker) of 10 May 1869:

"I notice by the papers that there were ten miles of track laid in one day on the Central Pacific, which was really a great feat, and more particularly so when we consider that it was done after the necessity for its being done had passed."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Question: "B. & S." deeds

From: "Messman, Don" DPM2@pge.com

I am a Land Surveyor working for PG&E in Sacramento, California. I have run across a deed reference upon one of the railroad maps I am using for a new pipeline alignment.

In the Schedule of Property there is a reference to "B. & S." deeds.

What does the B&S stand for?


Don P. Messman
PG&E Technical Services
Land Engineering
2730 Gateway Oaks Drive, Suite 220
Sacramento, CA 95833

"Graying of the membership" – Attracting younger railfans

[Comments regarding a Railroad and Locomotive Historical Society discussion.]

The American Photographic History Society, as an example, never understood or fully transitioned to the internet, and so it was sad, but not at all unexpected that one day they just disappeared.

But for the R&LHS, pessimistic comments lamenting "graying of the membership" and to "despair the fate of railfanning" represents an unfortunate misdiagnosis.

Try typing RAILROAD HISTORY into Google – our CPRR.org website is on the first page – but good luck trying to find the R&LHS website in the search results.

Our family's CPRR.org website – a celebration of railroad ancestor, CPRR First Assistant Chief Engineer, Lewis Metzler Clement, illustrated by period photographs – was anticipated to be an extremely obscure narrow topic, but instead has attracted 1.5 million visitors. No young railfans? – You've got to be kidding! Probably a thousand students visit our website a day.

But how many visitors has RLHS.org attracted? Is there enough there to attract members and younger potential members to visit and to keep coming back? (This is not intended to be critical of the hard work of the people who have created the RLHS.org website, which is excellent for what it is, but instead to point out what it instead needs to become to be able to attract new members.)

How about this alternate hypothesis?: The Society's membership is graying because RLHS.org doesn't meet the needs of the non-member "16 to 50" demographic. Younger people use the internet, not the library, to find information, and the R&LHS's valuable content is mostly offline or restricted, invisible to them. Fortunately this is easy to fix, but only if a new way of thinking and some simple changes are embraced.

What is needed to revive RLHS.org to draw in younger members is massive amounts of world class, compelling, authoritative, and freely available content that will attract links from other websites (which is how Google ranks are determined), and as a result, lots of visitors – just what has been produced by the Society and is sitting in bound volumes on library shelves. At present, not only is this actual full content mostly offline, but even the RLHS.org link to the Railroad History index from the Railroad History page which hints at what incredible riches are presently inaccessible now gives a file not found error. That's too bad since there is no doubt but that what the Society has chosen not to put online is likely far superior to most existing online resources. Not just the public is affected – we've never been able to read any of the Railroad History articles about transcontinental railroad history that have long been noted at the end of our want list, as all those musty past Railroad History volumes are completely inaccessible to us as well.

To be attractive to younger potential future members, the RLHS website, and especially the home page, needs to consist of railroad history information accessible right there, not primarily about railroad history information available offline or elsewhere, and not primarily information about the Society. The very limited and restricted content "members only" opposite approach to railroad history content ensures obscurity. Instead, how about, for example, hosting the RLHS discussion group on the RLHS.org website, and also including online every page of all 85 yearly volumes of Railroad History at RLHS.org in an easily accessible format that facilitates linking to the articles, scanned at 600dpi to preserve photographic quality, with OCR (text behind page images) to make every word of it indexed by Google, drawing people to the Society and its website? Here is one of many examples of a page linking to such a searchable scanned journal article.

If Google can put 11,000,000 books online, RLHS ought to be able to manage to put just 85 volumes of Railroad History onto the Society's website. With "do it yourself" volunteer labor, the cost should be negligible: Scan; OCR; Web.

Looking to the future, any Society that wants to prosper, grow, and attract younger members needs to "get" the internet and transition to producing its newsletters and journals, etc. in electronic form that can be searched, delivered, and made available online without the need for conversion and at close to zero reproduction and delivery cost. Online writings, of course, can continue to be offered at a higher cost, as needed on paper via high quality print on demand technology.

Actual chamber pot

From: lace0024@charter.net

My name is Lace. I need to find out how much the actual chamber pot is worth. My grandmother is trying to sell it through me on ebay and I would like to know a reserve price.

Immigrant railroad worker

From: "Ashley Peter" AshRocks06@cox.net

What was it like as an immigrant railroad worker in the 1900s?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Transcontinental Railroad Historic Landmarks in other States

From: "WILLIAM BROCK" wmabrock@msn.com

My wife and I will be traveling from Council Bluffs to Salt Lake City next summer and would most interested in information about other Transcontinential Railroad Historic Landmarks.

Is there anywhere that I can purchase a map with all of the landmarks?

—William A. Brock, Urbandale, Iowa

Monday, October 23, 2006

California Pacific RR v. CPRR, 1870

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Poster of the Grand Opening

I have a large framed advertisment Poster of the Grand Opening of the railroad in 1869. Its the one with a picture of a deer with large antlers. I was wondering the value. ...


US Commissioners Reports

Now online at the CPRR Museum:

Government Railroad Commissioners Reports for the Entire CPRR Line, Sacramento to Promontory. September 8, 1864 – May 15, 1869. Courtesy of Lynn D. Farrar.

From: littlechoochoo81@netzero.net

I have made copies of all reports Sacramento to Promontory and have an explanation and foreword for them. ... They are in two hard cover three and four ring binders and weigh 13 pounds. About 60% are on legal size paper while about 40% are regular 8 1/2" x 11". I don't know if these copies are any longer available in the National Archives so they may be irreplaceable. They may be in a truckload of old records I gave the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA. I have a record of what I gave them but I have to find it. ... Have ... enclosed a letter of orientation. I have ... shown the item letter(s) in the upper right hand corner of each item.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Current e-mail address for James Mark French?

Does anyone have a current e-mail address for James Mark French?

FAILED: smtp; 553 ... Addressee unknown

Friday, October 20, 2006

Transcontinental Railroad Cost

Your website is incredibly informative! Could you tell me what the final cost of the first transcontinental railroad was? I find that it was originally estimated at $136 million but I never was able to find the final tally (and we all know any government project will go over the estimate!).


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Names of the two trains that met at Promontory

From: "Dana Younts" laneyyounts@charter.net

What were the names of the two trains that met at promontory point?


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Henry Flagler and his East Coast Florida Railroad

From: "Latos, Tom" tom.latos@staugustinerecord.com

... I am working on a project that involves Henry Flagler and his East Coast Florida Railroad accomplishments. I am interested in the Pullman Palace Cars ... Flagler used. Also do you have anything on Henry Flagler and The East Coast Florida Railroad he built?

What can be told of Henry Flagler's East Coast of Florida Railroad Accomplishments? What a great achievement. Would really like some good photos and artifacts. Thank You. —Tom

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Question – Railroad Ties

From: "Michael Cody" mcody@rushmore.com

On many railroad ties there is stamp in the end, letters and number. What do these mean? Is there an internet site where a particular stamp can be checked to identify the stamp?

Preservation of CPRR Records at the CSRM in a Sacramento Flood

A disturbing History Channel TV program "Mega Disasters: California's Katrina" which was shown this afternoon indicates that the existing Northern California levy system has serious design and maintenance problems, including the use of eroding sand levies of the type that failed in New Orleans. Flooding with water 20 feet deep in Sacramento is predicted by disaster preparedness computer models. Predictions of this sort cannot be taken lightly, as they may eventually turn out to be uncannily accurate.

Are all of the unique Central Pacific Railroad records at the California State Railroad Museum located high enough so that they would be safely above the maximum flood level? Are all of these unique records digitized or microfilmed and copies kept at one or more secure offsite locations so that if the original records are destroyed, for example, by flood or fire, copies will survive? If not, what can be done?

Trivia Question - Big Mountain Pass

From: "Scott Busse" slbusse@gmail.com  

First of all I want to say I really like your website.  I have been an avid railroad buff for a long time.  Coincidentally, I am in a trivia contest that i thought you may be able to help me with.  Here is the question I am trying to answer –  

Through Big Mountain Pass and five dollars per was a multi-state bargain and practically sure. Then it got even better. Name the next stop west on the other side of the mountains.  

I am thinking this refers to the stop west of Big Mountain Pass on the old Central Pacific Railroad.  

So my questions are – 

1) Was there a railroad going through Big Mountain Pass that cost $5?
2) What was the first stop on the West side of Big Mountain Pass?
3) Do you know why they would say "Then it got even better?"  

Thanks so much for your time!  


Saturday, October 14, 2006

Impact on homesteads and residential construction

From: smcarrig@elp.rr.com

I am researching the impacts that the railroad had on homesteads and residential construction as it pertains to the American frontier. Would you happen to have a bibliography available that relates to this subject or have a historian/curator with whom I may discuss this matter with?

—Chuck Carrig

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Deed from the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company

Begin forwarded message: From: "Kimber Ingle" Kimber_Ingle@msn.com

I am not sure where to start with what it is that I found. I am hoping someone has information. I was going through my grandmothers things and found a Deed from the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company. My great grandfather bought 160 Acres on November 5th 1901. It is an embossed deed with contract numbers, deed numbers and such. Signed by the Chicago, B & Q President Gro? B Harris and by the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad president J.S. Howland a land commissioner, also notarized by a Notary Public.

I don't know if I hold anything very valuable or if I just hold something old and interesting. I did look online for information and to my surprise there is so much information regarding the railroad company that I don't know where to begin.

If you have any light to shed on this deed I would greatly appreciate it very much.

—Kimber Ingle

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Views from the Sacramento Capital Building

From: "Dick Morris" rmorris@alaska.net

On the CPRR Museum's Sacramento City Views exhibit are links to three photographs (97710419_NR, 97712007_, and 97713423_A) which are identified on the photographs as having been take from the capital building. Another (97710116_) appears to have been taken from the capital, but isn't identified as such. Do you know what date the photos were taken or have any other information on them?

My gg grandfather lived and my great grandfather was born in a house in Sacramento on the block bordered by L and M and 12th and 13th streets. (My gg grandfather was a blacksmith with the CPRR when he died in 1868.) In about 1870 the property was sold and was incorporated into the park around the capital. ...

Dick Morris
Anchorage, Alaska

Question: Chinese railroad worker height and weight

From: Den2Mom@aol.com

How tall were the Chinese on average?

What was their average weight?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Copyright issues - Educational Technology

From: "Timothy Van Heule" vanheule@gwu.edu

I am working on my masters in Educational Technology Leadership from George Washington University. We are discussing the importance of copyright issues this week and I just want to make sure that it is okay that I link a post I have on our discussion board to your site. I wanted the others in my class to see your site and how you handle copyright issues.

—Tim Van Heule

Saturday, October 07, 2006

OSL Operation of CP Under Harriman

From: KyleKWyatt@gmail.com

During the Harriman period the Oregon Short Line (UP subsidiary) leased the Central Pacific line across Nevada. This was roughly from 1904 to 1912. Photos of the original depot built at Sparks show it is clearly of a Union Pacific standard design, not an SP design, suggesting the move from Wadsworth to Sparks was under OSL auspices.

Overall, I have seen very little information about the OSL operation of CP during those years. I don't even have firm dates for the operation. Anyone with additional insight?


Friday, October 06, 2006

Stanford Review Editor's Note: "What's Wrong With Success?"

An article by the editor of Stanford Review compares the "robber barron" mentality to current political attacks on the folks that have been so successful in keeping us from running out of oil.

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]

Thursday, October 05, 2006

UPRR photographer, Andrew J. Russell

From: "Glenn Willumson" Gwillumson@arts.ufl.edu

I came across a reference to the UPRR photographer, Andrew Russell, at "Covington." Does anyone know where "Covington" was located?

—Glenn Willumson

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Museum Visit

From: JPDITSTAR@aol.com

You have an interesting website however I can't find the following:

Museum Location
Hours of Operation
Admission Charges, etc.

—Jim Dittman

For places to visit, see the CPRR Museum's FAQ.

Chinese first recruited

From: "Chris Graves" caliron@att.net

... this url says that in "1864" the CPRR recruited Chinese to work on the railroad.

Odd, I thought it was after March, 1865, when Crocker told Strobridge to "go over to Auburn, and hire some Chinese." Can you help? —G J Graves

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Train info: Multiple engines? How many cars?

From: "Stephens, Larry V" stephenl@indiana.edu

Thank you for your help on my earlier question.

On a related note: In 1880 did the UP and other lines ever use multiple engines? I don't ever recall seeing a photo showing multiple hookups back then.

And, how many cars would typically be in one train? If limited to one engine it seems like the train size would be very limited, especially once you get to the Rockies.

Larry V. Stephens
Indiana University
Office of Risk Management

Union Pacific #1277 at Dale Creek Bridge, 1891.
Union Pacific #1277 at Dale Creek Bridge, 1891.

J.J. Reilly stereoview
J.J. Reilly stereoview "229. Going into Colfax, C.P.R.R., Cal." showing Emigrant train.

Also see: Some Central Pacific Consists of the 1870's by Larry Mullaly.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

To the Bondholders of the Central and Western Pacific Railroad Companies

Now online at the CPRR Museum, courtesy of the Google Library Project and Stanford University Library:

To the Bondholders of the Central and Western Pacific Railroad Companies. Fisk & Hatch, Bankers, New York, January 2, 1871.

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.

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