Frederick E Shearer.

The Pacific tourist : J.R. Bowman's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ... : acomplete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads ... online

. (page 29 of 61)
Online LibraryFrederick E ShearerThe Pacific tourist : J.R. Bowman's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ... : acomplete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads ... → online text (page 29 of 61)
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cial agents in New York, put their bonds on the
market, and the funds for the further extension of
the road were rapidly forthcoming. Leland
Stanford, then as now President of the company,
inaugurated the work at Sacramento, and also
drove the silver spike, which completed the union
of the two roads at Promontory on the 10th day
of May, 1869. The progress of the road during
each year, from the time of its commencement
until its completion, is given as follows : In the
years 1863-4-5, the company completed 20 miles
each year. This might be called preliminary
work. They were learning how, and their
severest difficulties were to be overcome. In
1866 they built 30 miles, and the next year 46
miles. Now the rivalry between the two great
corporations may be said to have commenced in
earnest. In 1868, they built 364, and in 1869, up
to May 10th, they closed the gap with 191 miles.


Difficulties, Discouragements and La-
bor. Few travelers realize, as they pass so
easily and pleasantly over this railroad, what is
represented by these long, smoothly-laid rails,
nor do they know of the early days of labor, and
intense energy.

Everything of every description of supplies had
to be shipped by water from New York, via Cape
Horn to San Francisco, and then inland to
Sacramento-. Thus months of delay occurred in
obtaining all needful material.

Even when the project was under full discus-
sion at the little office in Sacramento, where gath-
ered the six great brains which controlled the
destiny of the enterprise, (these were Governor
Leland Stanford, C. P. Huntington, Mark Hop-
kins, Charles Crocker, E. B. Crocker, and T.
D. Judah), everybody predicted its failure, and
few or none looked for its success. Very little
was known of the country it was to traverse, and
that not satisfactory, and one prophesied that
this, the western end of the Great Trans-Conti-
nental Railroad, would be run up into the
clouds, and left in eternal snows.

Scores of friends approached Huntington in
those days and said, " Huntington, don't go into
it; you will bury your whole fortune in the Sierra

Outsiders called it, after the first 40 miles were
built, " The Dutch Flat Swindle ; " and the pro-
ject was caricatured, abused by the newspapers,
derided by politicians, discountenanced by capi-
talists, and the credit of every one was impaired
who was connected with it

Thus nobly did the Californians help this the
greatest enterprise of the State, and how much
more noble have they since been !

In a speech before the Senate Committee of
Congress by C. P. Huntington, he says :

" I suppose that it is a fact, the mercantile
credit of my partners in business and myself , was
positively injured by our connection with this

"The difficulties which confronted us then, ar
now nearly forgotten, but they were intensely
vivid and real then. There were difficulties from
end to end ; difficulties from high and steep
mountains; from snows; from deserts where
there was scarcity of water, and from gorges and
flats where there was an excess ; difficulties from
cold and from heat, from a scarcity of timber
and from obstructions of rock ; difficulties in
supplying a large force on a long line; from In-
dians and want of laborers."

Of the princely subsidies voted by the United
States in its government bonds to aid the road
what was the real case? From the individual
and private means of the five capitalists, they
were compelled to support a force of 800 men
one year at their own risks build 40 miles
before they were entitled to the government
bonds, and then were eleven months delayed in

receiving what was their due. To build the first
section of the road to the mountains, they were
obliged to call in private means, which out on
loan was yielding them two per cent, interest in
gold, per month invest in the road and wait
for reimbursement. When the government
bonds were at last received, they vested into
gold at the high rate of premium then prevail-
ing, (often taking $2 in bonds to buy $1.00 in
gold) to pay for labor and expense of construc-
tion, which, too, were excessively high for gold

The personal dangers of the builders were

freat. The very surveyors ran the risk of being
illed by Indians, and some of them were ; the
grading parties, at times, could only work under
military guard ; at all times all the track-layers
and the train hands had to be armed, and even
after construction the trains were often attacked.
The first 100 miles was up a total ascent of
7,000 feet, requiring the most skillful engineer-
ing and expenditures of vast sums of money in
excavation. At the height of 5,000 feet, the snow
line was reached, and 40 miles of snow galleries
had to be erected, at an additional expense of
$20,000 to $30,000 per mile, and for a mile or
more, in many places, these must be made so
strong that avalanches might pass over them and
yet preserve the safety of the track. Even after
passing the Sierras, the railroad descended into
a vast plain, dry, sere and deserted, where there
was not a sign of civilized life, nor any fuel.
For over 600 miles of the route, there was not a
single white inhabitant. For over 100 miles at a
stretch, no water could be found for either man
or machinery ; and, even at the present day, in
many places the railroad company is obliged to
bring its water in artificial pipes for distances of
one to fifteen miles for the use of the engines.

Labor was almost impossible to get, and when
attained was almost impossible to control, until
the Chinese arrived, and to them is due the real
credit of the greatest help the road possessed.
Powder was one of the heaviest items of ex-
pense, which before the rise in prices of the war,
could have been had for $2.25 per keg but then
was obtained with difficulty at $5.00. Locomo-
tives, cars, tools, all were bought at double prices.
Rails, now worth but $40.00 to $50.00 per ton,
then cost $80.00 to $150.00.

Every bar of iron and every tool had first to
be bought and started on a sea voyage round
Cape Horn, some four or six months before it
was needed.

Insurance on the sea voyages rose from 2 1-2
to 10 per cent. freights increased from $18.00 to
$45.00 per ton.

Of the engineering difficulties of the con-
struction on the Sierras, none can form a possi-
ble idea. A culvert would be built, the begin-
ning of which was on the grade, while the other
end would be 50 feet or more below. At another


place is a bank 80 to 100 feet in height, covering
a culvert 250 feet in length, then comes a bridge
leaping a chasm of 150 feet in depth.

Next a cut of hardest granite, where, in the
short space of 250 feet, would be working 30
carts and 250 workmen, thick as bees while
a little beyond is an embankment built up 80
feet, from whose top you can look down 1,000

The famous Summit Tunnel is 1,659 feet in
length, cut through solid granite, and for a mile
on either side there are rock cuttings of the most
stupendous character, and the railroad is cut
directly in the face of a precipice. The powder
bill alone for one month was $54,000. Blasting
was done three times per day, and sometimes of
extraordinary execution. A hole of eight feet
was once drilled and fired, and 1,440 yards of
granite were thrown clear from the road-bed.
Several more holes of same depth
were drilled into a seam in the rock,
which were lightly loaded and ex-
ploded until a large fissure was opened,
when an immense charge was put
in, set off, and 3,000 tons of granite
went whirling down the mountain,
tearing up trees, rocks, etc., with
fearful havoc. One rock, weighing 70
pounds, was blown one-third of a mile
away from its bed, while another
of 240 pounds was blown entirely
across Donner Lake, a distance of two-
thirds of a mile. At one place, near
Donner's Backbone, the railroad track
is so constructed that it describes a
curve of 180, and runs back on the
opposite side of the ridge only a few
feet parallel to the course it has fol-
lowed to the point, all at a grade of 90
feet to the mile.

But it is impossible to tell all the won-
ders of engineering, or the feats of skill ;
let active eyes watch the scene as the
traveler passes over the railroad, and then give
due credit and admiration to the pluck, skill,
persistence and faith which has accomplished
so much, and been productive of so much

The little beginning, in 1860, has now given
place to the most astonishing enterprise of mod-
ern times. The pay-roll of the Central Pacific
Railroad Company now exceeds 10,000 names
of employes. The Southern Pacific Railroad,
another grand enterprise, controlled by the
same company, is building its road rapidly
toward the Gulf of Mexico. All the import-
ant railroads and steamboats of California
are now controlled by these gigantic cor-
porations, and from the latest reports we
quote figures of the financial capital of one
of the greatest corporations in the United


Authorized Capital Stock $100,000,000.00

Capital Stock paid in 64,275.500 00

Funded Debt 62,961,337.10

United States Subsidy Bonds 27,855,680.00

Farming Lands, estimated value 30.0UO.OOO.OO

Lands in San Francisco, Oakland and Sacra-
mento 7,750,000.00

Total assets $188,631,661.10

Number of miles constructed 1.407 46

Number of miles operated 2,500.00


Authorized Capital Stock $90,000,000 00

Capital Stock paid in 36,763,900.00

Farming Lands, estimated value b9 267,362.00

Totalassets $113,298,852.89

Number of miles completed and in operation 711.57


Capital Stock $20,000,000.00

Bonds 10,000,000.00


Capital Stock $10,000,000.00

Bonds 6,000.000.00


Westward to San Francisco.

Travelers from the East, after dining at Ogden
and having an hour in which to re-check their
baggage, will board a train of silver palace cars
belonging to the Central Pacific, in the evening,
as the trains now run, and will soon be whirling
away across the Great American Desert. As we
pass out of the suburbs of Ogden, we cross Og-
den River on a pile bridge, and leave it to pur-
sue its turbulent way to the lake. We soon ar-
rive at the point of junction before alluded to,
but find no magnificent hotel, or other buildings,
or any evidence of any. " Union Junction " is
therefore a myth, and exists only in the fertile
imagination. The land, such as it is, however,
is there, and we soon pass the steaming Hot
Springs on the right of the road and close to the
track. These springs are said to be both iron


and sulphur, and from the red sediment which
has been deposited over quite an area of surface
near by, we judge that the iron springs predom-
inate. Since leaving Weber Canon we have come
nearly north and will continue in that direction
until we approach Corinne. On our right are
the towering peaks of the Wahsatch in close
proximity. On our left are the irrigating ditches
that supply the farms with water, an increas-
ing growth of underbrush off toward the lake,
and Fremont's Island in the distance with a
towering rock,
looking like a
huge castle,
upon one ex-
tremity of it.
We soon pass
a little town
called North
Ogden, at a
canon through
the mountains,
which is some-
times called Og-
den Hole, or
North Ogden
Canon. Before
the road was
built through
Ogden Canon
proper, this was
the nearest
source of com-
with the valley
the other side of
the mountains.
There are about
nine miles of
straight track
here and we
soon arrive at

871 miles
from San Fran-
cisco, with an
elevation of
4,310 feet. It
is merely a side
track. The
Mormons have
some fine farms in this vicinity, and between the
railroad and base of the mountains there are
many cultivated fields and fine orchards of apple
and peach trees. There are frequent canons
through the range, at the mouth of which are
little settlements or villages ; the creeks from the
canons supplying the water which irrigates their
fields, gardens and orchards. The largest of
these settlements or villages are called Willard
City and Brigham City, and their business is now
done almost exclusively with the Utah North-


ern Railroad, which runs parallel with the Cen-
tral Pacific between Ogden and Corinne and near-
er the base of the mountains. The next station is
Brigham, 816 miles from San Francisco ;
elevation, 4,220 feet. A side track for the pass-
ing of trains. It is the station for Brigham
City, which is some three miles away, though it
does not look half that distance. It is the
county-seat of Box Elder County, and has a
population of 2,000. Leaving this station we
cross some alkali marshes near, and also an

arm of the lake
or small bay,
with the east-
ern part of the
Great Salt
Sea in full
view, with
Mountains be-
y o n d . A p -
preaching Co-
rinne we enter
the celebrated
Bear River Val-
ley, crossing
the Bear River.
Before reach-
ing the bridge
the train cross-
es 896 feet of
piling. There
is a " straining
beam " bridge
of 40 feet, and
a Howe truss
bridge of 181
feet 4 inches.

809 miles from
San Francisco,
with an eleva-
tion of 4,294
feet. It is the
largest Gentile
town in the
Territory, and
if not hated is
cordially and
effectually let
alone by most
of the Mormons in the surrounding settle-
ments. The natural location is excellent, and
when the thousands of acres of fertile lands in
the Bear River Valley are settled, as they sure-
ly will be in time, Corinne will be the center of
trade and influence to which her location enti-
tles her. On the completion of the railroad
through here before it came, even the Gen-
tiles had taken possession of the town and deter-
mined to maintain an ascendency. From that
time it has been an object of defamation by the


Saints; and the lands in the broad valley which
surround it, as rich as any in the Territory, are
left with scarcely a settler.

These lands are not all occupied by settlers.
The advantage of soil and climate are to be set
over against the want of water, for irrigation
is essential to good crops. A ditch has already
been dug from Malad River, which supplies
some farms on its line, and the town with water.
A large flouring-mill is also supplied with
water from this ditch.

Some of the finest wheat we ever saw was
raised near Corinne, on irrigated land. It was
spring wheat and produced at the rate of nearly
fifty bushels to the acre. The spring wheat of


Utah far excels in quality the best winter
Tfrheat produced in Eastern States. It has a
large, plump, hard, white berry, and will
rank as A No. 1 in any wheat market in the

Corinne in its early history was " a rough
town,"^ but the roughs have passed on, or
sleep in unknown graves. The town now
has three churches, a good school, a large
flouring-mill, several commission and for-
warding houses, stores of various kinds, etc.
It was the freighting point to eastern Idaho
and Montana before the Utah and Northern
Railroad was built. It was for a time the
terminus of this road, and since the change
of terminus to Ogden, the place has materially
declined. It is about seven miles from Great
Salt Lake.

There are quite a number of hotels and

public boarding-houses for the accommodation
of guests, the leading house, a brick structure,
being the "Central." Bear River abounds
in fish, and in the proper season the sloughs
and marshes bordering the river near the lake
are almost covered with ducks and wild
geese, thus offering fine sport for the hunter
and fisherman. The water-lines of the lake
become, as we pass westward toward the
mountains of the Promontory Range, visible
high up on the side of the mountains. There
are three distinct water-lines to be seen in
some places near Ogden, and each one has left
a bench or terrace of land or rock by which
it may be traced. The great basin is full of
wonders, and no richer field on the Continent
awaits scientific examination than this. Alkali
beds, salt deposits, and the detestable water
found in them will attract the eye as we go on,
and soon we pass

Quarry a side track, with a huge, rocky,
black castle on the right and back of it. Trains
do not stop here, nor is the station dowa on
the advertised time-cards. The mountain on
our right is called Little Mountain, and rises
solitary and alone out of the plain. Aa we
pass beyond and look back, an oval-shaped
dome rises from its northern end as the turret
of a castle. Salt Creek rises in the valley
above, and sinks into the sand on. its way to
the lake.

Blue Creek 789 miles from San Francisco,
with an elevation of 4,379 feet. It is a tele-
graph station with a side track and turn-table.
If we have a heavy train a helper engine is
here awaiting our arrival, and will assist in
pulling us up the hill to Promontoiy. Between
this and the next station, are some very heavy
grades, short curves and deep rocky cuts, with
fills across ravines. Blue Creek comes rushing
down from the mountains, and furnishes water
for several stations along the road. Leaving
this station we begin to climb around a curve
and up the side of the Promontory Range, the
road almost doubling back on itself. The old
grade of the Union Pacific is crossed and re-
crossed in several places, and is only a short
distance away.

As we wind into the depressions and round
the points, gradually ascending to the summit
of the divide, the view of the lake, Corinne,
Ogden and the Wahsatch Mountains, is grand.
The maximum grade between Blue Creek and
Promontory is 89.76 feet. We pass the rock
cuts where each road expended^ thousands of
dollars, and where Bishop John Sharp, now
President of the Utah Central, exploded a mine
which lifted the rock completely out, and
gave a clear track after the loose earth was re-

Promontory. 780 miles from San Fran-
cisco; elevation, 4,905 feet. It is about 9 miles


from Blue Creek, and in the first seven miles we
ascend over 500 feet. While the road was under
construction, this little place was quite lively,
but its glory has departed, and its importance at
this time, is chiefly historic. It has a very well-
kept eating-house for railroad and train men,
and large coal-sheds with a three-stall round-
house and other buildings for the convenience oi
employes. The water used here is brought
from Blue Creek. It is located between two
peaks or ridges of the Promontory Range, one of
which on the left, is covered with cedars, and a
portion of the year crowned with snow.

This place is well known as the meeting of the
two railroads.

The highest point on the left, is called " Peak "
on Froiseth's Map of Utah, and from its summit a
magnificent view of the lake and surrounding
country can be obtained.

The Great Railroad Wedding Driving
the Last Spike.

American history, in its triumphs of skill,
labor and genius, knows no event of greater,
thrilling interest, than the scene which attended
the drivingpf the last spike, which united the
East and west with the bands of iron. First
of great enterprises since the world's known
history began that gigantic task of join-
ing the two great oceans with bands of
steel, over which thousands of iron mon-
sters are destined to labor for unnumbered
years, bearing to this young country con-
tinued wealth and prosperity. The comple-
tion of a project so grand in conception, so
successful in execution, and likely to prove so
fruitful and rich in promise, was worthy of
world-wide celebrity.

Upon the 10th of May, 1869, the rival roads
approached each other, and two lengths of rails
were left for the day's work. At 8 A. M., spec-
tators began to arrive; at quarter to 9 A. M.,
the whistle of the Central Pacific Railroad is
heard, and the first train arrives, bringing a large
number of passengers. Then two additional
trains arrive ou the Union Pacific Railroad, from
the East. At a quarter of 11 A. M., the Chinese
workmen commenced leveling the bed of the
road, with picks and shovels, preparatory to
placing the ties. At a quarter past eleven the
Governor's train (Governor Stanford) arrived.
The engine was gaily decorated with little flags
and ribbons the red white and blue. The last
tie is put in place eight feet long, eight inches
wide, and six inches thick. It was made of Cal-
ifornia laurel, finely polished, and ornamented
wiMi a silver escutcheon, bearing the following
-inscription :

* The last tie laid on the Pacific Railroad, May
\0, 1869."

Then follow the names of the directors and

officers of the Central Pacific Company, and of
the presenter of the tie.

The exact point of contact of the road was
1,085.8 miles west from Omaha, which allowed
690 miles to the Central Pacific Railroad, for
Sacramento, for their portion of the work. The
engine Jupiter, of the Central Pacific Railroad,
and the engine 119 of the Union Pacific Rail
road, moved up to within 30 feet of each other.

Just before noon the announcement was sent
to Washington, that the driving of the last spike
of the railroad which connected the Atlantic
and Pacific, would be communicated to all the
telegraph offices in the country the instant
the work was done, and instantly a large crowd
gathered around the offices of the Western
Union Telegraph Company to receive the wel-
come news.

The manager of the company placed a mag-
netic ball in a conspicuous position, where all
present could witness the performance, and con-
nected the same with the main lines, notifying
the various offices of the country that he was
ready. New Orleans, New York and Boston in-
stantly answered " Ready."

In San Francisco, the wires were connected
with the fire-alarm in the tower, where the heavy
ring of the bell might spread the news immedi-
ately over the city, as quick as the event was

Waiting for some time in impatience, at last
came this message from Promontory Point, at
2.27 P. M. :

" A Imosl ready. Hals off, prayer is being of-

A silence for the prayer ensued ; at 2.40 p. M.,
the bell tapped again, and the officer at Promon-
tory said :

" We have got done praying, the spike is about
to be presented."

Chicago replied : " We understand, all are
ready in the East."

From Promontory Point. "All ready now;
the spike will soon be driven. The signal will be
three dots for the commencement of the blows."

For a moment the instrument was silent, and
then the hammer of the magnet tapped the bell,
one, two, three, the signal. Another pause of a
few seconds, and the lightning came flashing
eastward, 2,400 miles to Washington ; and the
blows of the hammer on the spike were repeated
instantly in telegraphic accents upon the bell of
the Capitol. At 2.47 P. M., Promontory Point
gave the signal, " Done ; " and the great Amer-
ican Continent was successfully spanned.
Immediately thereafter, flashed over the line,
the following official announcement to the As-
sociated Press :

Promontory Summit, Utah, May 10. THE


JPLKTKD 1 The pohit of junction is 1,086 miles west

IDriving the last Spike. 2.-Union of the East and West. 3.-First Whistle of the Iron Horse.


r f


vfthe Missouri River, and 690 miles east of Sacra-
tnento City.


Central Pacific Railroad.

T. C. DURANT, ~)

SIDNEY DILLON, > Union Pacific Railroad.

Such were the telegraphic incidents that at-
tended the completion of the greatest work of the
age, but during these few expectant moments,
the scene itself at Promontory Point, was very

After the rival engines had moved up toward
each other, a call was made for the people to
stand back, in order that all might have a
chance to see. Prayer was offered by Rev. Dr.
Todd of Massachusetts. Brief remarks were
then made by General Dodge and Governor
Stanford. Three cheers were given i*or the
Government of the United States, for the Rail-
road, for the Presidents, for the Star Spangled
Banner, for the Laborers, and for those respec-
tively, who furnished the means. Four spikes
were then furnished, two gold and two silver,
by Montana, Idaho, California, and Nevada.
They were each about seven inches long, and a
little larger than the iron spike.

Dr. Harkness, of Sacramento, in presenting to

Online LibraryFrederick E ShearerThe Pacific tourist : J.R. Bowman's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean ... : acomplete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads ... → online text (page 29 of 61)