Sunday, July 16, 2006

CPRR Promontory photos [Hart 343-350]

From: "Glenn Willumson"

I am working on the photographs from Promontory and have hit a bit of a snag with which I am hoping the folks on the CPRR Discussion Group can help me.

After Promontory (June 2, I believe), Crocker purchased 21 negatives from Hart (the last CPRR purchase of negatives). This would presumably be Hart numbers 344-364. This would seem to be right, except that 343 seems that it should be included as well.

So that's the first question – is the train in 343 (in Argenta) the same train that appears in 344-350 (in Carlin, Elko, Peko, and Camp Victory – it seems clear that it's not the same train as in 349 – "Scene near Deeth")?

If it is the same train, then there is a second question. Bob Spude has been a great help to me as I try to sort these things out and he pointed out that the locomotive in 343 does not appear to be the Jupiter. Given the sequence at the end of the CPRR series it's hard to believe that the train in #343-350 isn't headed to Promontory. So the question is, which locomotive is it in 343? ... and is it pulling Stanford's special train? I noted that Leslie's account of the ceremonies (5 June 1869 – presumed to authored by by Russell) says that one CP train arrives at Promontory at 8:45am on May 10, then Stanford's arrives about 11:00. Could there have been two trains that left Sacramento – Stanford's and the one on which Hart rode and photographed in #343-350?


See A.A. Hart stereoview images 343-350, detail.


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Have you checked the first hand account of the trip from Sacramento to Promontory?:
"The Last Tie" by Dr. J.D.B. Stillman, Overland Monthly, July, 1869.

7/16/2006 3:52 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Glenn Willumson"

I have read Stillman's account and it seems pretty clear that he rode with Stanford. He mentions Hart being on the side trip to Ogden on May 8 but doesn't say anything else about photography on the way out or whether Hart was on Stanford's train (although other accounts have always assumed he was "with Stanford's special train").


7/16/2006 6:06 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "James Mark French"

I have for years been arguing that this is the same train in all these photos to no avail. What everyone seems to forget is that standard operating practice for railroads of that period dictated that locomotives had to changed every 100 miles. The idea was that the locomotive had to be shopped at those intervels. If you look at a map of the CPRR you notice that all major shop facilities were spaced every 100 miles or close to it. The locations in these photos indicate that the locomotives were change at these locations since they were towns with major shops, spaced about 100 miles apart! (There is one other photo I know of showing this train at Elko with a Danforth L&M 2-6-0 on the point!)

These are also the very photos that I argue the point that the Jupiter was NOT put on at Wadsworth as the history books say it was. I am of the opinion that the Jupiter being a relatively new locomotive would have been sent to the end of track (Elko to Promontory) at the time to relieve older locomotives in desperate need of overhauling. Here again if the CPRR held to the rule that dictated that locomotive should be changed every 100 miles, and they did, then the Jupiter, even if it was placed on the train at Wadsworth would have been pulled off at Argenta! Several people have told me a of a record that states the Jupiter was attached at Wadsworth. I have never seen this record. I personally believe the Jupiter was at that time farther east of Wadsworth and was attached to what was left of the train – Gov. Stanford's private cars and the water car – at Elko.

Take it for what it's worth but that's what I perceive those photos to be of. I photographic journal of the special train heading to Promontory Point for the driving of the Gold spike. Remember that Crocker bought the photos June 2nd. That was too far removed from the date of the driving of the Gold Spike on May 10th.

—Mark French

7/16/2006 11:06 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


Generally I'll agree with Mark French's observations that locos were typically changed at every division point, suggesting that the Jupiter had not been the road engine from either Reno or Wadsworth (the two common change points I've come across).

Unfortunately, "The Last Tie" by Dr. J.D.B. Stillman, Overland Monthly, July, 1869, sheds no light on the subject (at least in the quick review I made). He does note that most passengers left at Elko – but certainly does not suggest that the passenger train terminated there. So it is unclear just where the special shed its regular passenger cars.

On the other hand, we know that there were other CP passenger trains that went to Promontory with people for the event – at least from eastern Nevada towns.

Now to the stereos.

There are some clear differences in the train consist among the images. #343 shows a consist with two head end cars, an arch roof coach, a clerestory coach, another arch roof coach, then the two special cars. What we can see in #344 and #345 appears consistant with that. #346 and #347 are a little more ambiguous. The loco in #343 is clearly not a Schenectady like the Jupiter.

#348 and the variant of #349 that shows the whole train appears to have a different consist. There is a boxcar converted into a caboose (note bench on roof), a combine, and at least two coaches, all arch roofed. In #349 there is something coupled behind the second coach, but the print I have is cropped too close to tell what kind of car. From another source, I have a note that the variant of #349 that is a closeup of the loco has been identified as sister #63 (not the Jupiter which was #60).

My conclusion is that they are different trains, but perhaps traveling "together" and the Jupiter was a "late" addition, not the motive power across most of Nevada.


7/17/2006 6:32 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Kevin Bunker"

If I recall correctly, in April and May 1869, all of the newly received Schenectady 4-4-0s – 57, 58, 59 and 60 – were quickly sent east from Sacramento after setup to Eastern Nevada; certainly Whirlwind and Jupiter were at Promontory, and presumably Leviathan and its running mate turned there, too, or perhaps at Terrace, U.T.


7/18/2006 1:29 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

See the additional discussion.

12/16/2007 1:47 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Wendell Huffman

Alfred Hart’s 1868-9 photographs

The chronological sequence of the Hart photographs taken in 1868 and 1869 have recently occupied my attention. I offer the following as a tentative summary by way of soliciting comments:

All views 240 through 364 are numbered generally in a west-to-east sequence from Rocklin to Promontory. As noted by Mead Kibbey (p. 61) this seems to have been a pattern exhibited in Hart’s cataloging, and suggests the possibility that these were added to Hart’s inventory at one time. However, as they were taken over at least ten months, they doubtless date from different trips, and as Hart’s attention was directed to the eastward advancing end-of-track, the apparent geographical order may to some extent merely follow the location of his subjects.

Views 240-245 are located from Rocklin to Colfax, and likely date from early July 1868, when the Placer Herald (of 4 July 1868) places him at Auburn.

Views 246-317 cover country from "near Summit" to Humboldt Lake, in Nevada. Advertisements for Hart’s photographic services appears in the Reno Crescent throughout August 1868, and all of these views (246-317) likely date from that trip, either taken on his way to or from Reno, or on short excursions from Reno. I see nothing in any of those views inconsistent with that dating. Most of the Summit-area scenes are of snowshed construction (images 246, 247, 252-254, and 256), which we know was indeed happening at that time. One view at Truckee (image 262) and another at Boca (image 265) show locomotive which were not east of the Summit until after June 18th. (The subject of image 265 presents something of a puzzle as the trainload of ties is heading west!) View 268 shows passenger cars likewise not over the mountains until after June 18th. There was a wagon road—apparently built by the railroad company—from Verdi to Camp 24, at the 2nd crossing, so Hart could have gone that far west from Reno in his buggy, rather than relying on rail transport. Views 287-306, taken in the lower canyon of the Truckee, were probably made on an excursion from Reno during his August stay. His darkroom buggy appears in view 305. Likewise, there was a good wagon road east from Reno.

The eastern-most photographs in this batch include two (316 and 317) "at end of track". Image 317 was taken very near what is now Granite Point siding (see Hersh p. 62). While we do not see the actual end-of-track, the activity is consistent with being very close to it. Rail reached this point August 8th, well within the period in which Hart was at Reno. Images 310 and 311 are not identified as being at the end of track, but the construction boarding train in view suggests they were close to the end of track when the pictures were taken. Hart placed image 310 near Humboldt Lake. It and its companion views were probably just railroad-west of Brown’s, a point the rails reached on August 1st or 2nd. Thus, Hart may have actually arrived in western Nevada in late July (from Auburn), and traveled almost immediately to the end-of-track, near Browns. View 317, made a week or so later, may have been from a second trip to the end-of-track, but still very early in August. Hart likely relied on rail transport east of Wadsworth.

The next-eastward view is at the crossing of the Humboldt River (view 318, and variant). Rail was here about August 15th, but note this is not an end-of-track view. I suspect this view actually dates from Hart’s second trip to Nevada, in October 1868 (see below). If so, that would mean that Hart apparently did not go east of Granite Point after the first week of August, rather staying closer to Reno. Still, the various views in the lower canyon, as well as those back toward Truckee, may date from other excursions made out of Reno during his August 1868 sojourn.

Views 318-322. Image 321 shows the actual end-of-track. Thanks to exploration by Larry Hersh (p. 69), we know this was between Iron Point and Stone House. Thanks to construction data provided by Lynn Farrar, we know this was end-of-track on within a day one way or the other of October 8th, 1868. I suggest the views at the crossing of the Humboldt and of Winnemucca date from this October trip.

Views 323-342. Images 327, 329, 330-333, 335, and 338 place Hart in the Palisade canyon during construction. We know this to have been roughly during the last two weeks of November 1868 (again, from Lynn Farrar’s data). As Iron Point (mentioned above—views 318-322) was the traditional demarcation between the Piute and Shoshone peoples, the photographs of Shoshones (views 323, 324, and 342) probably belong to Hart’s November excursion, rather than earlier (see below).

The two Argenta images (326 and 343) present something of an anomaly. Argenta is between Iron Point and Palisade canyon, so image 326 is in the "correct" place (in terms of the west-east sequence), and thus probably dates from the November trip. However, 343 is "out of place". That image may date from after the Palisade canyon trip and might not have been numbered until after the Palisade images were already numbered.

Views 351-364. This final batch is placed at, or near, Promontory, and undoubtedly dates from Hart’s excursion to the "last spike" events of early May 1869.

Views 343-350 present something of a problem. If image 350, at Camp Victory, was indeed taken on the day of the laying ten miles of track, it dates to April 27th. If Hart was indeed here on April 27th, and also on Stanford’s train from Sacramento to Promontory, then Hart had to travel all the way from Rozel to Sacramento within the few days between the 27th and May 7th. Quite possible, and I admire him for doing so. But it would be odd if image 350 was the only photograph from that April trip. While it is possible that views 343-349 date from the May trip, it seems as likely that they date from April, in which case the train would not be Stanford’s train at all. Note that the locomotive in view 346 is No. 108 Stager. The locomotive in image 343 is also a Rogers product, and this may well be the same train. I do not have a good-enough version of view 344 to begin to identify the locomotive in that view.

In summary, I see no reason to date any of the photographs located between Summit and the Humboldt River to any of Hart’s later trips. His extended stay in Reno in August 1868 provided ample opportunity to make local excursions to the "front" or to places along the Truckee. The later trips to the rapidly advancing fronts likely afforded no time to stop for photographs along the way. Promontory does seem to be a long way to have gone twice so close together in April-May 1869, but it was entirely possible. But with the Rozel photo (350), there is a strong possibility that the train in 343-348 is not Stanford’s train.

3/23/2009 3:33 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Wendell Huffman"

I should add that the lack of other photographs from eastern Nevada and Utah is a good indication that 1) Hart made no trips to the front from late November (when he went to Palisade) until rails were almost to Promontory, and 2) he spent little time away from those trains on the way. This further suggests that the rather full collection of images from eastern California and western Nevada date from his August 1868 stay in Reno.


3/23/2009 7:26 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Glenn G. Willumson"

Dear Wendell,

I, too, am very interested in the dating of Hart's CPRR photographs. Bob Spude did an extensive study on the dating of the Promontory photographs (in 2005, I think) and is a definitive source. Michael Johnson also did a very interesting study of these photographs which doesn't always agree with Spude but is very interesting. I leave it to you to decide with whom you agree. A version of Michael Johnson's research is published in Utah Historical Quarterly (Winter 2004): 47-68.

I agree with you that 350 was not made on April 27. It was likely made on the trip out to the Promontory celebration. I know next to nothing about equipment but I am sure that someone more knowledgeable will be able to address those questions. I can tell you, however, that the CPRR bought 21 negatives from Alfred Hart in June 1869. This was the last purchase they made and so, presumably, this would have been 344-364. I have always assumed that these were made on a single trip out to Promontory in May, 1869.

—Glenn Willumson

3/23/2009 7:28 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Wendell Huffman"

I'm not sure how I feel about image 350. Frankly, insisting (not that anyone is) that it dates from April 27 seems to raise problems as it just doesn't seem like Hart to have made two trips to Promontory within two weeks, when he (apparently) wasn't east of Palisade for five months. It seems the only thing that might have drawn him was information about the 10-mile event. But, his technology really didn't allow action events. And, had he gone to the trouble of going, one would think there would have been other images, such as we see associated with this November trip to Palisade canyon (though, why are there so few images associated with the October trip to Iron Point?).

I wonder if what we see in 350 isn't workers breaking camp on or about May 8th, or perhaps the camp where workers were still holed up – and perhaps celebrating – on the 10th.

But, if 350 isn't the 27th, then the train in 343-348 may indeed be the Stanford train.


3/23/2009 8:03 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Kevin Bunker"

I'm surely less of an authority than many in this list, but my suspicions have long paralleled what Glen proposes. It makes more "plain good sense" to me that Hart used common sense, too, in getting all he could out of the trip to the Last Spike ceremonies.

Is there a remote possibility that he was out in eastern Nevada and Utah several days to a week ahead of the Stanford special train and met up with it along the way? If this were provable there'd still be the question of "where are any other images taken that week" but I'd submit that some could have been lost in intervening years (the 1906 fire, maybe?) or earlier. Maybe he just dropped a box of glass plates post-exposure. Similar or worse accidents have happened to all of us!

My 2 cents (or $13T) worth...

—Kevin Bunker

3/24/2009 4:29 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Wendell Huffman"

Just what is the evidence that puts Hart on Stanford's train?

3/25/2009 9:32 AM  

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