Transcribed and annotated by Bruce C. Cooper The Southern Pacific Tradition. In taking over the office of president on December 11,four days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President A.
Mercier issued a message to Southern Pacific men and women saying that "our first duty is to our government in the war," and added: I know the men and women of our railroad. They have what it takes.
Out on line, in the yards, in the shops and offices, day and night they will continue to do the greatest job in our history. With the return of peace, President Mercier has pledged that "all our resources of manpower and physical facilities will again be turned to furthering development of the area served by our lines and to provide progressive, friendly service to our customers.
The story of the early beginnings of this great railroad project is the story of the West, the saga of individual initiative and courage that spanned a nation with bands of iron rail and nurtured the development of today's western empire. Construction of the rail highway for the Iron Horse from the Pacific Coast to the Missouri River was one of man's greatest accomplishments.
Its completion gave birth to a new era, and the expansion of its western lines is evidenced today in the far-flung properties of the Southern Pacific Company. Pioneer of transcontinental railroads, Southern Pacific had its origin in the Central Pacific Rail Road Company of California, incorporated June 28,to build the western portion of the Pacific Railroad.
Construction began at Sacramento in following authorization by Congress in The original unit of the transportation system that today comprises more than 15, miles of rail lines in this country and Mexico, was built from Sacramento miles over the Sierra Nevada Mountains and across Nevada to meet the Union Pacific at Promontory, Utah, where the Last Spike was driven on May 10, To an unknown editor in the little village of Ann Arbor, Michigan, belongs the credit for making in the first suggestion for a railroad that would span the continent from the Great Lakes to the Pacific.
The benefits of a transcontinental railroad, it seems, should have been obvious to all thinking men, but the idea took root only gradually and met with strenuous opposition. The first plan to receive consideration of Congress was one in Others followed, some of them having a short route to the rich Orient as the primary objective rather than being aimed at the development of the West.
Discovery of gold in focused world attention on California and the Pacific Coast region. The arduous overland journey across the plains by oxen or mules, and the long ocean voyage via Panama or around Cape Horn, brought to the early settlers a realization of their isolation from the remainder of the country.
A growing sentiment in the West and East favored a railroad that would bind the nation closer together. During five parties of Army engineers were sent into the West to make surveys over various routes. Volumes of data were compiled [See" Reports of Explorations and Surveys, to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, made under the direction of the Secretary of War, in " Volumes I-XII.
Washington, Government Printing Office, The Civil War brought need for definite action. Withdrawal of the southern representatives left official Washington of one accord.
It was vital that California and the Pacific Coast be bound to the Union, consequently the Pacific Railroad became a military necessity. The Pacific Railroad Act was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on July 1,and six months later, on January 8,the first shovelful of earth was turned by Central Pacific in constructing the pioneer line.
HuntingtonCharles Crocker and Mark Hopkins. These Sacramento merchants, famed in later years as the "Big Four," became impressed with plans for a railroad east over the Sierra as conceived by Theodore D.
Judaha young civil engineer. Typical of the courage and daring that characterized the successful exploits of many western pioneers, the four associates launched the project, unmatched in all the story of rail transportation, without any one of them ever having been remotely connected with a construction project of greater magnitude than the erection of their own store buildings.
Against the advice of their friends and in the face of strong opposition and ridicule they threw their entire resources and personal credit into the project. How they accomplished the task is an epic chapter in the history of the West. Builders Young Men Stanford, 36 years old when first steps were taken in November,to organize a railroad company, was a dealer in groceries and provisions; Crocker, 38, had a dry goods store; Huntington, 39, and Hopkins, 47, were partners in a hardware establishment.
From this prosaic early environment the two hardware merchants became financial geniuses; the weigher of sugar and tea developed into a master organizer and political leader; while the man who had stood behind a ribbon counter rose to command men in a construction undertaking that startled the engineering world.Get directions, reviews and information for Turner's Expediting Services LLC in Holton, IN.
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