Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How many days to travel the transcontinental railroad?

From: "Debbie Moriconi" debbiemoriconi@comcast.net

Can you please tell me how long it took to ride across the Transcontinental Railway?

—Debbie Moriconi

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cram's atlas - 1869 map

From: "Lachlan McIntosh" dezine4u@neo.rr.com

From what I've seen on your website you are extremely knowledgeable about early Cram's maps. I am trying to gain some perspective on three Cram's items in my possession so I wonder if I can prevail upon you for any enlightenment. You mention the rare Cram's 1887 Standard Railway Atlas. I have both the 1897 Standard American Railway Atlas of the World and the 1910 Standard American Railway Atlas. I have only ever found reference to one other copy of the 1910 atlas and no copies of the 1897 atlas. How uncommon are they?

Also, I have an 1869 New Railroad and Township Map of Missouri and Kansas (Pocket Map) which would have to be one of the very first maps Cram ever produced. Is there a reference source that lists the first pocket map Cram produced?

Lachlan McIntosh
Nuvomad Antique Books & Maps
Akron, Ohio

Monday, March 22, 2010

Argenta Station and Argenta House Photographs

From: "Barry Swackhamer" barryswack@gmail.com

There are two pictures of Argenta Station and Argenta House on page 230 of High Road to Promontory by George Kraus. I do not recall having seen them published anywhere else. I do not believe A. A. Hart took either photograph, at least I have not seen any reference to them as being part of his work. The question is, if Hart did not take the photographs, who did?, and when?

I think the original photographs were CDVs. The height to width ratio appears to be correct and a note written on the back of a copy photograph at the Union Pacific Museum says it is an “enlargement from a small photograph” supplied to them in 1930.

The pictures in High Road to Promontory most likely came from the Southern Pacific collection, now at the Union Pacific Musuem. However, the UP Museum does not have the original photographs. Does anyone have an original photograph, or know of anyone who has one? Perhaps they could look for an imprint on the back.

Any information appreciated.

—Barry Swackhamer

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Women's Toilet Lock

From: "Ken Graczyk" ken81211@qwest.net

[Have] you have ever heard of a Missouri Pacific Women's Toilet lock? I believe it is a six lever lock. ...

—Ken Graczyk

What happened to the men in the photo of the 'golden spike' ceremony?

From: WitteSox@aol.com

The photo of the 'golden spike' ceremony which contains the 'Jupiter' and the '119' has interested me since I first saw it in a history book in grade school over 50 years ago. It has made me a 'history buff' ever since. I was fortunate enough to finally visit the site last year.

Is there any information available about any of the participants in the photo? What they did with their lives after the photo? Where they lived? Where they are buried. I always wondered what happened after the photo to men like George Booth, who I believe is the man holding the champagne bottle, and Sam Bradford, who I believe is the man holding the two smaller bottles, and also some of the other named men in the photo? Who was Mr. Hirch, the only named man without a first name listed? ...

—Dennis Kowalski

Friday, March 19, 2010

Romance of the Rails

Monday, March 15, 2010

Women and the railroad

Do you have any information about women and the railroad?

Stereoview price guide

From: "Allen C. Royle" allen12005@earthlink.net

How do I acquire a price guide on stereograph photos? I would appreciate any help or suggestions. ...

—Al Royle

Friday, March 12, 2010

Union Pacific spike driver from 1878

From: Tullcwbss@aol.com

Maybe you can help me. I have a Union Pacific spike driver from 1878; one side it says UPRR 78. It is in very good condition; handle has a split and is bowed. Also did they make reproductions of this spike driver? Any information you can give me would be a great help. Also can you tell if this has any value?

—John J. Tulli

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Chinese Coffins 1863-64

From: KyleKWyatt@gmail.com

A little more fodder for the "Chinese Deaths" discussion. Attached are articles from the Sacramento Union in 1863 and 1864 about the shipment of Chinese bodies back to China – these before the Central Pacific employed any Chinese. What it shows is the common practice of shipping deceased Chinese back to China. This suggests that the account of the large number of bones of dead Chinese reported in 1870 are not necessarily exclusively those of Central Pacific workers. —Kyle

Chinese Coffins in 1863

The Sacramento Union Friday, January 1, 1864 summary of 1863
April 3, 1863
Three hundred Chinese coffins and contents shipped to San Francisco.

Sacramento Daily Union, Monday, January 2, 1865 summary for 1864
April 1, 1864
The carcasses of 286 defunct Celestials were shipped to the Central Flowery Land for Interment.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

This blog has moved

Now at http://discussion.cprr.net/

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Friday, March 05, 2010

CPRR & UPRR went broke and consumed millions of taxpayer dollars vs. debt repaid plus government windfall

Hillsdale College Professor Burt Folsom writes that " ... James J. Hill privately financed his Great Northern Railroad–the only transcontinental railroad never to go bankrupt. By contrast, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads–with massive federal aid–both went broke during the 1890s and both consumed millions of taxpayer dollars in financing."

FACT CHECK: As explained by Kyle Wyatt below, the Central Pacific Railroad never went into bankruptcy.

By contrast, our understanding is that the Central and Union Pacific Railroads did not receive government subsidies because the government railroad bonds had to be and were repaid in full with interest, that according to the U.S. Supreme Court the government and the railroads shared equally in the increased value of the land grants, and that the U.S. government got a billion dollar discount on mail and other transportation costs. So although the CPRR spoke of a "subsidy" in their bond prospectus, the net economic result was that the bonds were a repaid loan (not that the railroad wasn't accused of attempting – unsuccessfully – to avoid repaying), the worthless western lands to the extent they were made valuable by the completion of the railroad (much was so arid that it remained worthless), more of the value went to the government and eventual landowners than to the railroad, and the U.S. government received a financial windfall due to the prolonged subsidy that the railroads provided to the U.S. government for its transportation costs as part of the deal to fund the construction.
No government subsides for CPRR or UPRR;
Role of government in railroad financing.

"Railroad Reorganization: Union Pacific." By Stuart Daggett, Ph.D., Harvard Economic Studies, 1908, states on page 256 that: " ... the government debt was paid off in cash ... both principal and interest were paid in full." Regarding the CPRR and Western Pacific RR, Tutorow, p. 1004 reports that final payment to the government was organized by a commission appointed by an 1898 act of congress, determined to be $58,812,715.48 on Feb. 1, 1899, and that the complex transaction was completed on February 1, 1909 when the last of the government debt was duly paid.
Dollars per mile of track;
Railroad Reorganization, 1908.

So which is correct? Did both the CPRR & UPRR go broke and consume millions of taxpayer dollars or was the debt repaid in full plus the U.S. government received a financial windfall due to the prolonged subsidy that the railroads provided to the government for its transportation costs through the mid 20th century?

Monday, March 01, 2010

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