Henry T Williams.

Pacific tourist : Adams and Bishop's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean : a complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads online

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Online LibraryHenry T WilliamsPacific tourist : Adams and Bishop's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean : a complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads → online text (page 27 of 62)
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" 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, are
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
great. The very surveyors ran the risk of being
killed 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 7,000 names of
employes. The Southern Pacific Railroad, an-
other grand enterprise, controlled in part by some
of the same company, is building its road rapidly,
with a force of 5,000 men, toward the fields of
Arizona and New Mexico. All the important
railroads and steamboats of California are now
controlled by these gigantic corporations, and
from the latest reports we quote figures of this
financial capital of the greatest corporations in
the United States :


Capital stock actually paid in, $54,275,500

Funded debt, 53.069,095

United States subsidy bonds, 27,855,680

Land grants of 11 ,722.400 acres at $2.50, 29.306,000

Value of lands in San Francisco, Oakland, and

Sacramento, 7,750,000

Total value, $172,256,275


Authorized capital Btock. $90,000,000

First mortgage bonds, authorized, 46,000,000

12,000,000 acres land grants, at $2 50, 30,000,000

Total value Southern Pacific Railroad Company, $166,000,000

Total capital of Central Pacific and Southern

Pacific Railroads, $338,256,275

Number miles constructed and in operation by

Central Pacific Railroad, 1,213

Number miles built and being built by Southern

Pacific Railroad, 1,160


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-
d e n H o le , o r
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
Hrlf/ham, 8G2 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. Leaving this
station we cross some alkali marshes near, and
cross an arm of the lake or small bay, with the
eastern part of the Great Salt Sea in full view,
with Promon-


tory Mountains
beyond. Ap-
proaching Co-
rinne we enter
the celebrated
Bear River Val-
ley, crossing the
river on a pile
bridge and

857 miles from
San Francisco,
with an eleva-
tion of 4,294
feet. It is the
largest Gentile
town in the Ter-
ritory, and if
not hated is cor-
dially and ef-
fectually let
alone by most of
the Mormons in
the surrounding
The natural lo-
cation is excel-
lent, and when
the thousands of
acres of fertile
1 a n d s i n the
Bear River Val-
ley are settled,
as they surely
will be in time,
Corinne will be
the center of
trade and influ-
ence to which her location entitles her. On the
completion of the railroad through here before
it came, even the Gentiles had taken posses-
sion of the town and determined 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 sraivcly
aflettler. To-day these landfl arc open and in
the market, and if enterprising fanners in the
East desire farms in a healthful climate, near a


good market, with short winters and those sel-
dom excessively cold, with the salt water breezes
fresh from the lake, and in a country where the
finest liind of fruit can be grown, we advise
them to stop here, inform themselves as best
they can, look the ground over thoroughly and
decide for themselves, the question of choosing
this place for a new home. This is one side of
the picture. The other is want of water. All
crops in this valley are raised by irrigation. 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
50 bushels to the acre. The spring wheat of
Utah far excels in quality, the best winter wheat
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 country.

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 forwarding houses, stores
of various kinds, etc. It was the old freighting
point to eastern Idaho and Montana, before the
Utah Northern Railroad was removed to Ogden.

Corinne is about seven miles from Great Salt

The leading hotel is 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 Indian ns a IZeggar. As a beggar
an Indian excels the laziest tramp. They have
a free-masonry among themselves. Give an
Indian anything and next day two Indians will
call on you. The third day there will be three,
the original beggar as one, and so on a^ injini-
lum. A well known gentleman connected with
the Union Pacific Railroad, seeing this propen-
sity in the character of the Indian resolved to
gratify it for his own amusement. Giving way
to his charitable impulses he bestowed a nickel
upon one of " Cooper's lords of the forest."
Next day he was waited on by a committee of
two. On the third day the first Indian made
up the three. After the fourth day the thing be-
came monotonous, and to get rid of his " friends "
lie locked his office door. No less than six In-
dians came down on him at once and looked in
the window?. The gentleman concluded his
finances were unequal to the strain, and that the
attempt to support the whole tribe of that per-
suasion of Indians was useless.

Quarry, a side track, with a huge, rockv,
black castle on the right and back of it. The
mountain on our right is called Little Mount-
ain. As 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.

ill nc Creek, 838 miles from San Francisco
with an elevation of 4,379 feet. It is a telegraph
station with a side track and turn-table. If we
have a heavy train a helper engine is here await-
ing our arrival, and will assist in pulling us up
the hill to Promontory. 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 recrossed 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. JThe grade
for a short distance, is said to be 110 feet to the
mile. 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 vock from the
grade completely out, and gave a clear track after
the rubbish was cleared away.

JPromontory, 804 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 of
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 lett, 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 driving of the last spike, which united the
East and West with the bands of iron. The
completion 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 on 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
with a silver escutcheon, bearing the following
inscription :

" The laxt tie laid on the Pacific Railroad, Mai)
10, 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 />/ .-//// -e
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 (most reatly. Hats 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 hare got done praying, the spike is about
to be />resentei/."

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

From Promontory Point. " A II ready now ;
the ypike will soon be driren. Tlie tifptot. 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. TIIK
PLETED 1 The point of junction is 1,086 miles went

1. Driving the last Spike. 2. Union of the E;ist :in<l West. 3. First Whistle of the lr..n Horse.


of the Missouri River, and 690 miles east of Sacra-
mento 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 for 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
Governor Stanford a spike of pure gold, delivered
a short and appropriate speech.

The Hon. F. A. Tritle, of Nevada, presented
Dr. Durant with a spike of silver, saying: ' To
the iron of the East, ami the gold of the West, Ne-
vada adds her link of silver to span the L oniinent
and wi Id the oceans."

Governor Safford, of Arizona, presenting
another spike, said : " Ribbed in iron, clad in
silver, and crowned with (/old, Arizona presents her
offering to the enterprise that has banded lite Conti-
nent and welded the ocean*."

Dr. Durant stood on the north side of the tie,
and Governor Stanford on the south side. At a
given signal, these gentlemen struck the spikes,
and at the same instant the electric spark was
sent through the wires, east and west. The two
locomotives moved up until they touched each
other, and a bottle of wine was poured, as a liba-
tion on the last rail.

A number of ladies graced the ceremonies with
their presence, and at 1 r. M., under an almost
cloudless sky, and in the presence of about one
thousand one hundred people, the greatest railroad
on earth was completed.

A sumptuous repast was given to all the guests
and railroad officers, and toward evening the
trains each moved away and darkness fell upon
th^ scene of joy and triumph.

Immediately after the ceremonies, the laurel
ti^ was removed for preservation, and in its
place an ordinary one substituted. Scarcely had
it been put in its place, before a grand advance

was made upon it by the curiosity seekers and
relic hunters and divided into numberless me-
mentoes, and as fast as each tie was demolished
and a new one substituted, this, too, shared the
same fate, and probably within the first six
months, there were used as many new ties. It is
said that even one of the rails did not escape the
grand battery of knife and hack, and the first
one had soon to be removed to give place to

A curious incident, connected with the laying
of the last rails, has been little noticed hitherto.
Two lengths of rails, 56 feet, had been omitted.
The Union Pacific people brought up their pair
of rails, and the work of placing them was done
by Europeans. The Central Pacific people then
laid their pair of rails, the labor being performed

Online LibraryHenry T WilliamsPacific tourist : Adams and Bishop's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean : a complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads → online text (page 27 of 62)