Saturday, October 30, 2010

VP Biden's profound misunderstanding of innovation

"Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive. In the middle of the Civil War you had a guy named Lincoln paying people $16,000 for every 40 miles of track they laid across the continental United States ... No private enterprise would have done that for another 35 years." —Joe Biden, U.S. Vice President, 10/26/2010

Korea at night

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Stereoscopy Resources


I curated a large list of websites related to stereo photography which lists several sites that feature galleries of antique stereoscopy photos. Some of the stereoviews contain photos of railroads. I thought this might be a useful addition.

Thanks so much!

—Alex Juel

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Who is the man with the beard in Houseworth Stereoview #1351?

Shen-Chih(Sam) Cheng asks:

Houseworth Stereoview #1351. "Wood Train and Chinamen in Bloomer Cut."

One question on this photo: The standing beard man in white robe of the photo, is that Hart himself?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Most important CPRR and UPRR locomotives in the RR construction

From: "Nick Francolini"

I am trying to figure out what four locomotives from the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad would be considered the most important locos in the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. We know the Jupiter from CPRR and the 119 from UPRR but what would be the next three from each Railroad?

Transcontinental Railroad engraving project

From: "Nick Francolini"

I am a Firearms Engraver and am designing a very fancy, museum quality pair of Colt Single Action Army revolvers to commemorate the construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad.

In 1984 I was commissioned by Larry Mayle of Indian Wells, CA to engrave a Colt revolver to commemmorate the 100th Anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. Mr. Mayle acquired original materials from the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Centennial Commission to incorporate directly into the Colt (see photo) and its case. I used copper from the Statue to cast the flame in Her torch on the silver grips and make keys for the case, steel from concrete reinforcing rods to make screw drivers and cleaning rods, wood from the observation windows in Her crown to make handles for the screwdrivers and cleaning rods. The casemaker made the entire case from the wood and I engraved a piece of copper Statue skin for the case lid plate. The gun made the cover of the July, 1986 issue of American Rifleman Magazine and has appeared in numerous other magazines and books. Many photos and further explanations of this unique project can be seen on my website.

Colt revolver

I would like to give the Transcontinental Railroad pair of Colts (one East, one West), the same unique treatment by incorporating original materials from the first Transcontinental Railroad. These materials could be steel, iron, brass, wood, glass or whatever, and would need to be authenticated by someone like you, as having been used by the TCR either during or after construction. Do you know of any such materials, or do you have any suggestions that would help me acquire such materials for this project?

I am an engraver, not an antique dealer, and will not sell these materials to my client or anyone else. To me these materials are precious pieces of history that I have the privilage of working with to help tell the story of the conception, construction, and completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. Like the TCRR itself, this project will take years, and on completion will hopefully be an inspiration to people who share an interest in our Country's history and the enormous contribution some people made to bring us together and link the East and West with steel.

My website has other historical firearms – Cowboys & Indians, Tombstone, and a Colt Dragoon that was Tiffany & Co. designed and engraved with George Catlin and Frederic Remington painting motifs for Gene Autry's 81st birthday, which now sits in the Western Heritage Museum in Los Angeles.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Any information that will help me find documented, original materials will be greatly appreciated and credited in the documentation that will accompany these firearms. ...

My very best regards and thanks to you; your website is an inspiration.

Leonard Francolini
P.O. Box 1732
Corrales, NM 87048

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Your website was amazing!

From: "Christine Voelker"

We are a fifth grade class in Mossyrock Elementary in Mossyrock, Washington. We have just finished reading the story, Ten Mile Day, by Mary Ann Fraser. It is a story about the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. You have really cool facts and pictures of artifacts on your website about the building of the railroad. We have a few questions for you:

. Do you know if there is a folk tale/tall tale written that is based on the building of the Transcontinental Railroad?

. Does anyone who helped create your website have any relatives that were a part of the building of the railroad?

. Were Chinese and Irish immigrants the only nationalities to work on the railroad?

. We want to know how they were able to communicate.

. How many days did they complete ten miles in one day?

Thank you for your time,

Mrs. Voelker's fifth grade class

Edgar, Raul, Kinzie, Stephanie, Justin, Lainee, Haylee, Joey, Taylor, Heidi, Chelsea, Ava, Macie, Kord, Jared, Rem, and Tianna. J

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Trains passing in opposite direction on a one track rail line

From: "Ryan Victor"

Practical Question: If there was only 1 track how did train get around each other? In other words if it took 9 days to travel the line, would someone on the east coast have to wait 18 days (train travel to the west coast and back) before seeing another train heading west?

Just Curious

—Ryan Victor

Abandoned railroad lines of the Central Pacific Railroad

Friday, October 08, 2010

Railroad trivia question, would you help?

From: "Cindy Montano"

I am participating in a trivia contest about the West. This is one of the questions I'm stumped on. Would you help?

*On the fabled tenth of May, there was much hoopla and hooray, but it was all a bluff. Because even with the Douglas folks and the Council celebrating, a body of water still separated them. What two burgs still seemed oceans apart?*

I've played in this trivia contest before and typically all parts of the question have to fit the answer. Douglas, Council, burg (burg can mean a fortified town so Fort ??? is probable as one of the answers and ???-burg for the other) , ocean are all key. Is there something ironic about the transcontinental railroad? Maybe the Union Pacific and Central Pacific didn't connect two important place? San Francisco Bay? Like I said, I'm stumped ;)

Any and all help you would provide is greatly appreciated.

—Cindy Montano

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Use fee for permission to reproduce images or license other content

What is the digital reuse price?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Cost of Food on Transcontinental Train Trip

Friday, October 01, 2010

Becker collection, Boston College


Not sure if the group is aware of the Becker collection at Boston College. Becker was an artist for Leslie's Illustrated Weekly. A number of his 1869 transcontinental railroad sketches are in the Becker collection. Here is the link to Civil War era and 1869 railroad sketches.

You need to surf the web page for other related sketches, such as his sketch of the post office at Promontory, 1869.

Bob Spude – Historian – Cultural Resources Management – National Park Service – Intermountain Region – 505.988.6770 Voice – 505.988.6876 Fax

The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.

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