Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"The Octopus"

From: "Christine Long"

We can't seem to find an answer to this question –
How did the Central Pacific get the nickname the "tortoise"[sic]? ...

Octopus, The Wasp, August 19, 1882. Courtesy Wikipedia.


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


I've never heard that name applied to the Central Pacific.


9/28/2011 6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have the name wrong – probably confusing a derogatory name for the Southern Pacific Railroad, "The Octopus," as the Central Pacific Railroad (which became part of the Southern Pacific) was NOT nicknamed the "Tortoise."

The origin of the name is probably from muckraker, Frank Norris' 1901 novel, The Octopus: A California Story, that was a fictional retelling of the Mussel Slough Tragedy.

9/28/2011 6:22 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Larry Mullaly"


I do not believe the railroad had this nickname. It was a major railroad serving a large and difficult geography. Running times were slower than in the more built up east coast, but appropriate for the Far West.

—Larry Mullaly

9/28/2011 6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question: What do the octopus and the muckraker have in common?

Answer: Ink

9/28/2011 6:55 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

The Octopus imagery predated Norris' novel. See The Wasp, August 19, 1882.


9/29/2011 2:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For an explanation of the political cartoon above, see The image of the OCTOPUS: six cartoons, 1882-1909.

11/09/2011 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See, "Muckrakers' battle with Central Pacific told in new book," The Great American Railroad War: How Ambrose Bierce and Frank Norris Took On the Notorious Central Pacific Railroad by Dennis Drabelle.

8/22/2012 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See related discussion.

10/05/2012 8:43 AM  

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