Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum

CPRR Land Surveyor's Map, c. 1898
Composite Land Grant Map
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The hand drawn and colored CPRR land surveyor's map shown below was prepared in the field sometime in or shortly after 1898 (form dated 8-5-98) and represents a 36 square mile grid designated "Township 12 North, Range 9 East" located in El Dorado County, California. Each of the thirty-six grid squares is one mile on a side (640 acres) for a total of 23,040 acres. The graphic on the left indicates where this township is located on the Central Pacific Land Company's 1924 map of its lands in California and Nevada. The township is bordered on the north by the Middle Fork of the American River just a couple of miles south of the CPRR main line at Clipper Gap. BCC

CPRR lands c. 1898

Central Pacific Railroad Land Map, c. 1898
Courtesy Bruce Clement Cooper Collection

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William Reese Company describes an earlier pamphlet promoting California Lands:

California Guide Book. The Lands of the Central Pacific and Southern Pacific Railroad Companies. Homes for All in California, Nevada and Utah. Geography, Climate, Soil and Productions. Advantages for Settlement. San Francisco. nd, c. 1882. 72pp., plus nine lithographic plates and folding lithographed map. Printed salmon wrappers. A California promotional pamphlet, produced by the Pacific Coast Land Bureau, agents for the sale of farm lands and the lands of the Central and Southern Pacific Railroads. The main emphasis of the promotion is on the agricultural advantages of California land. The directors of the Bureau note that California has "89,000,000 acres of land suited to profitable husbandry. Of these 40,000,000 are fit for the plow, while the remainder is excellent for stock-raising, fruit growing, and all other branches of agriculture." They go on to note that California contains only four inhabitants per square mile. Most of the text consists of substantial descriptions of California counties, and the rest lauds the suitability of California to the cultivation of specific fruits, grains, and vegetables, including alfalfa, grapes, oranges, apricots, and more. The folding map of California was lithographed by Britton & Rey, and the handsome plates, commissioned specifically for this pamphlet, are the work of Elliott & Company of San Francisco. The plates show a wine cellar in Fresno County and an orange orchard in Southern California (both on one plate); an alfalfa stock ranch in San Diego; a vineyard and orchard; a nut orchard and fruit farm; a bee ranch in Southern California; a dairy and fruit farm; an orange grove; a Fresno vineyard and winery; and a large grain and stock farm in the San Joaquin Valley (the agricultural heart of California). The bee ranch plate is especially interesting, signifying the development of large scale agricultural pollination activities. Two pages cover lands in Nevada and Utah. Cowan notes a similar promotional produced by the Pacific Coast Land Bureau, with no date, covering fewer counties, and with fewer pages and no plates, but does not list the present title. Not in Rocq. OCLC locates a total of four copies: at Yale, the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford, and Claremont College. DECKER 34:166a. COWAN, pp.467-68 (ref). OCLC 25929000, 21739716.

A lethal gun battle near Fresno, California in 1880 between evicted small farmers, lawmen, and the men to whom the Southern Pacific Railroad had sold the land left seven men dead became fictionalized as a struggle against corporate interests in novels such as Frank Norris' The Octopus, and is the subject of a new book, Gunfight at Mussel Slough: Evolution of the Western Myth (California Legacy Book) by Terry Beers.

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