Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How many historical errors can you identify?

How many historical errors can you identify in the following newspaper article written by a "Museum Docent"?

"History Talk: The Pacific Railroad Act" by KEN MANIES, © Oroville Mercury-Register, 4/24/2012. (Newspaper Article)

"... The "Big Four" started the Central Pacific Railroad, and Thomas Durant was the head of the Union Pacific. All became "robber barons," or just "robbers," and that was the best thing they were called.

The Civil War was taking all the money, so payments were made in land. The rate for track on level ground was $16,000 per mile, rolling hill lands $32,000, and mountains $48,000 per mile.

The first thing the Big Four did was to get state geologist J.D. Whitney to file a report that the ground from Sacramento across the valley was all mountains, so they collected the higher fees for some 20 miles.

What they paid Whitney is unknown, but they did name a mountain after him.

The Big four then formed companies to sell themselves the supplies to build, jacking the costs up, way up! They underpaid the Chinese workers, and used whips to keep them in line. Before they were finished they got the number of sections of land doubled, to 10 square miles of land per mile of track.

... No Chinese appear in the photos of the crowds at the driving that last spike ... " [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]