WHERE TO EMIGRATE, AND WHY.
HOMES AND FORTUNES
WITH A COMPLETE HISTORY AND DESCRIPTION OF
THE PACIFIC RAILROAD
FREDERICK R. GODDARD
Perhaps the most important reason that the U.S. Government so vigorously promoted and helped provide financial aid for the construction of the Pacific Railroad was to make it possible to efficiently populate the West and thereby effectively bind the Atlantic and Pacific coasts with the heartland to finally create a truly “continental” Nation. Also helping to promote this crucial massive Westward emigration were a variety of books and travel guides which began to appear as the railroad reached completion. One of the earliest of these was Frederick Goddard’s 1869 volume “WHERE TO EMIGRATE, AND WHY: HOMES AND FORTUNES IN THE BOUNDLESS WEST AND SUNNY SOUTH WITH A COMPLETE HISTORY AND DESCRIPTION OF THE PACIFIC RAILROAD.” As did other similar works published during this era, Goddard’s 592-page tome painted a rosy picture of the prospects and benefits of emigration and homesteading the lands in the Nation’s frontier.
Included below are two representative selections from this work: the introductory chapter stating the case for emigration, and the “History and Description of the Pacific Railroad” which was being completed at the same time as the book’s publication. It is interesting to note in the article on the Pacific Railroad (which had been prepared by Edward Bliss, the former editor and proprietor of the Rocky Mountain News) the almost completely “uncritical” view taken of motivations and business practices the men who built and ran the UPRR and CPRR. —BCC
The Public Domain of the United States is almost boundless. Its unsold acres, exclusive of Alaska, number nearly fifteen hundred millions, as yet covered only with the primeval forest, or the wild and wanton vegetation of the prairies, “wherewith the mower filleth not his hand, nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom.”
The surface of this vast area is infinitely diversified with rivers and lakes, verdant prairies and sandy plains, lofty mountains and extensive valleys, and equally varied in its climate and soil, in its resources and range of productions. It requires no prophetic inspiration to foretell that thronging millions will soon people these broad and fertile acres, or that the future of our nation will be the most magnificent of any whose history is recorded.
With long lines of sea-coast on either ocean, our territory lies between, upon parallels of latitude which have ever nurtured the most vigorous nations -- equally removed from the burning heats of the torrid and the rigors of the frigid zone -- possessing a healthful climate, with mildly alternating seasons, which seem to compel exertion only to reward it.
We have the longest river and the largest lake navigation in the world; and from a single line three miles long in 1828, our railroad system has grown to a total length of more than forty thousand miles in 1868 -- nearly sufficient to twice engirdle the earth. Our people are unsurpassed in enterprise and intelligence, and our benign Government, which is at once our pride and glory, has made our country the hope and refuge of the world.
Ours is no land of “organized ignorance.” Systems of schools, free alike to the children of the rich and the poor, pervade nearly every section of the country, and from every town, and village, and hamlet, churches point their “taper fingers toward heaven.” Our Constitution guarantees us the two greatest rights of manhood: freedom to worship God as we please, and the right to elect our own rulers. And the flag we love and revere now equally protects all its children, native-born or adopted; our Government having, by recent legislation, declared to the nations of the earth that the old feudal doctrine, “once a subject, always a subject,” must be abandoned, and that she will maintain the rights of her naturalized citizens here or in foreign lands, and accord to their persons and property the same protection as to her native-born citizens.
To the natural advantages of our country and to the excellence of its institutions, we owe the fact that within a few score years we have grown from an English colony to be one of the foremost nations of the earth, numbering thirty-five to forty millions of people, of whom it is estimated that the emigrants drawn to our land of mingling nationalities since the year 1790, now comprise, with their descendants, over twenty millions.
The Hon. Charles Sumner, a distinguished American statesman, in an argument to sustain and extend the rights of the foreign-born among us, thus eloquently referred to their claims upon our hospitality and affection:—
“The history of our country, in its humblest as well as most exalted spheres, testifies to the merits of foreigners. Their strong arms have helped furrow our broad territory with canals, and stretch in every direction the iron rail. They have filled our workshops, navigated our ships, and even tilled our fields. Go where you will, among the hardy sons of toil on land or sea, and there you will find industrious and faithful foreigners bending their muscles to the work. At the bar and in the high places of commerce you will find them. Enter the retreats of learning, and there you will find them, too, shedding upon our country the glory of science.
Nor can any reflection be cast upon foreigners claiming hospitality now, which will not glance at once upon the distinguished living and the illustrious dead -- upon the Irish Montgomery, who perished for us at the gates of Quebec; upon Pulaski, the Pole, who perished for us at Savannah; upon De Kalb and Steuben, the generous Germans, who aided our weakness by their military experience; upon Paul Jones, the Scotchman, who lent his unsurpassed courage to the infant thunders of our Navy; also upon those great European liberators, Koseciusko, of Poland, and La Fayette, of France, each of whom paid his earliest vows to liberty in our cause.
Nor should this list be confined to military characters, so long as we gratefully cherish the name of Alexander Hamilton, who was born in the West Indies, and the name of Albert Gallatin, who was born in Switzerland, and never, to the close of his octogenarian career, lost the French accent of his boyhood —both of whom rendered civic services which may be commemorated among the victories of peace.”
And now that the unhappy strife which has torn our chastened country
is ended, we can realize that it has been the seal of our National greatness.
In its peril we have felt its value, and in battling for its integrity
we have inspired increased affection for its institutions. It has developed
our sinews and shown us our strength; and again a
“—Land of happy Union! where the East Smiles on the West in love,
and Northern snows melt in the ardor of the genial South!”—
we are entering upon a career of prosperity to which even the annals of our own country present no parallel.
It is stated, upon the official authority of Mr. D. A. Wells, special Commissioner of the Revenue, that
“Since the termination of the War more iron furnaces have been erected, more pig-iron smelted, more bars rolled, more steel made, more coal mined, more lumber sawed and hewed, more vessels built upon our inland waters, more houses constructed, more manufactories of different kinds started, more cotton spun and woven, more petroleum collected, refined, and exported, than in any equal period in the history of the country.”
During the last two years more than six hundred thousand sturdy immigrants have landed upon our shores, and there is no ebb to the flowing tide. Our land is ringing with the din of her internal improvements; cottages are springing up far away to the west upon sunny acres where, but yesterday, roamed the Indian and the buffalo. Grand lines of railroad are stretching out across the continent -- iron monsters resting upon either ocean, swallowing the values of one hemisphere to void them upon the other -- revealing what our first Great Emigrant, Columbus, vainly sought to manifest in the gloom of earlier ages -- that the shortest way to the Indies was via America.
Now that the Pacific Railroad is entirely completed, an almost marvelous fact, New York City and San Francisco are united by a continuous track thirty-four hundred miles in length, and the development of those portions of our domain which lie upon the “sunset side” of the Mississippi River, must be accelerated under its mighty agency in proportion to their increased facilities of access.
And all we have, and are, or may be, as a nation, we offer to share with the struggling millions of the earth.
Our Homestead Law -- one of the most beneficent enactments of any age, or country, and one which has done more than any other to honor the American name, and make it loved throughout the earth -- provides that each male or female settler after five years' occupation, becomes the owner of one hundred and sixty acres, on payment of ten dollars and the land officer's fees, providing such settler be a citizen of the United States, or has declared an intention to become so; and it further provides that no land acquired under the provisions of this act shall, in any event, be liable for the payment of any debts contracted prior to the issuance of the patent therefor.
In March last, our House of Representatives passed, without division, the following resolution:—
“Resolved, That in order to carry into full and complete effect the spirit and policy of the Pre-emption and Homestead laws of the United States, the further sales of the agricultural public lands ought to be prohibited by law; and that all proposed grants of land to aid in the construction of railroads, or for other special objects, should be carefully scrutinized, and rigidly subordinated; to the paramount purpose of securing homes for the landless poor, the actual settlement and tillage of the public domain, and the consequent increase of the national wealth.”
We want yet more people to wake our sleeping wealth; strong-armed men to press to the front in our march of civilization, and conquer easy victories with the plowshare -- to “tickle our prairies with a hoe that they may laugh with a harvest.” We offer them the greatest boon on earth -- Manhood and Independence. As one of our most eminent statesmen has nobly said:—
“There are our broad lands, stretching toward the setting sun; let them come and take them. Ourselves the children of the pilgrims of a former generation, let us not turn from the pilgrims of the present. Let the home founded by our emigrant fathers continue open in its many mansions to the emigrants of to-day.”
In our favored land the capitalist may find abundant scope for the profitable use of all his resources. Says J. Ross Browne, in his recent Report upon the Mineral Resources of the Pacific States and Territories: “Explorations made by prominent parties during the past year in many parts of the mineral regions hitherto unknown, demonstrate the fact that the area of the mineral deposit is much larger than was ever before supposed. It is safe to assume that of the claims already recorded in settled parts of the country and known to be valuable, not more than one in a hundred is being worked, and of those worked, perhaps not more than one in fifty pays any thing over expenses, owing to mismanagement, inefficient systems of reducing the ores, want of capital, cost of transportation, and other causes susceptible of remedy. With such wealth of treasure lying dormant, it can not be doubted that by the increased facilities for transportation and access to the mines, soon to be furnished by the Pacific Railroad and its proposed branches, and the experience in the treatment of ores, and the scientific knowledge to be acquired in a national school of mines, the yield must eventually increase.”
And yet, in spite of the drawbacks above alluded to, upon the authority of the Secretary of the Treasury at Washington, the bullion product of the United States for 1867, was seventy-five millions of dollars.
There are hundreds of railroads yet to be built; a quartz-mill or a flouring-mill, a saw-mill, or a paper-mill, is or will be wanted in every valley, from sea to sea, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Saskatchewan; and there is no lack of water power to be made available. Let us refer to two prominent instances in a single State: “It is said by competent engineers that the Falls of St. Anthony alone have an available capacity more than sufficient to drive all the twenty-five million spindles, and four thousand mills of England and Scotland combined. * * * And this splendid cataract forms the terminus of continuous navigation on the Mississippi, and the same waters which lavish on the broken ledges of limestone a strength sufficient to weave the garments of the world, may receive the staples of its mills almost at their very doors, and distribute them to every part of the great Valley of the Mississippi.” The Falls of the St. Louis River, upon the navigable waters of Lake Superior, are said to possess equal hydraulic power, and, situated at the head of navigation of the great lakes, where, near the mouth of the St. Louis, must soon be one of the greatest of our inland cities, and the terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad, its advantages are apparent. And throughout the South everywhere, are millions of acres of the finest cotton, wheat, sugar, and rice lands in the world -- many of them fenced and improved -- that to-day await a purchaser at a price that, a few years hence, will be but the simple interest of their current value.
If past experience be worth any thing -- if we may judge from the rapid
settlement and appreciation in value of the lands of Ohio, Illinois and
Indiana -- surely the lands of the newer States and Territories, with their
genial climate, great fertility, and vast mineral wealth -- under the added
stimulus of the great railroads opening up to the products the markets
of the West as well as the East, and a larger national immigration than
ever before -- can not idly linger in their advancement. On the contrary,
all reasonable inference tells us that they will as far outstrip the older
States of the West in rapidity of development, as the emigrant of to-day
upon the iron horse outrides the pioneers of those States moving slowly
on in the lumbering wagons of the past.
THE PACIFIC RAILROAD
[The following interesting article upon the Pacific Railroad was prepared for this work by Mr. EDWARD BLISS, formerly editor and proprietor of the Rocky Mountain News, published at Denver, Colorado. Mr. BLISS is familiar with the region traversed by the Railroad, and has enjoyed unusual facilities for forming a correct estimate of the national value and importance of this great enterprise.]
For nearly half a century after the organization of our Government, the vast plains stretching away to the west from the Missouri River, the grand old mountains forming the vertebral column of the continent, and the wilderness intervening between these last and the Pacific Ocean, remained almost a sealed book to the explorer and the historian. The former were in the undisputed possession of wild and savage tribes, who roamed over them at will, inflicting barbarous torture and death upon those of the white race who had the temerity to invade their hunting-grounds, or seek to occupy the soil; the mountains rose like a giant barrier, frowning upon every effort to penetrate their grand and gloomy solitudes, while beyond lay a terra incognita, veiled in mystery and resting in the shadows of vague tradition.
At long intervals during this period, a few daring and intrepid explorers had penetrated these regions, returning with meager and hurriedly collected information, which served only to sharpen public curiosity and increase the desire for further knowledge concerning them. With a national claim to all this vast heritage, our Government was only in nominal possession. The maps and school atlases from which many not yet past life's prime derived their early geographical knowledge, disposed of this portion of the United States possessions as "Indian Territory," and where descriptions were ventured, they were vague and unsatisfactory because of the conflicting authorities upon which they were predicated.
Lewis and Clark commanded the first expedition sent across the continent
for the express purpose of official exploration. But the course selected
carried them far to the north, along the devious channel of the Missouri,
and away from the route which many years later were found more advantageous
and more practicable, leaving all that region embraced within the 36th
and 46th parallels of latitude still enveloped in obscurity and mystery.
For forty years after the Lewis and Clark expedition, settlements between
the Missouri river and Pacific Ocean were confined to a few scattered military
posts along the frontiers; and not until the discovery of gold in California
did the world become familiar with the climatic and geographical characteristics
of the great central portions of the Continent.
THE NECESSITY OF A CONTINENTAL RAILWAY.
The inception of a grand trans-continental railway, to connect the Atlantic and Pacific, dates back for many years. The unsuccessful effort made by Whitney to enlist the General Government in a giant scheme for this purpose, is fresh in the recollection of the people. But his plans and projects were then far in advance of existing public necessities, and carried on their face such glaring speculative features, that the Government, at that time unaccustomed to enormous public expenditures, shrank from any serious consideration of his propositions. With all the arguments advanced for the construction of a railway across the continent, the culminating and convincing one was not reached until the breaking out of the Rebellion.
The first flash of war revealed the dangerous position occupied by the
Pacific States. Separated from the home Government by an interval of three
thousand miles, two-thirds of this distance without water or rail communication;
accessible only by the ocean routes, via the Isthmus, subject at any time
to serious interruption, and involving nearly a month's time, under most
favoring circumstances, in the transmission of men and munitions,—the flourishing
Pacific States were practically cut off from all home protection and support,
in the event of war with a foreign power. The general alarm prevailing
throughout the Pacific coast when less than a half dozen "Confederate "
cruisers were known to be about, and the temporary derangement of long-established
agencies for the shipment of treasure, illustrated most forcibly the defenseless
condition of that portion of our country, and doubtless stimulated the
prompt and energetic means adopted by the Government to remedy this glaring
and dangerous defect in her system of co-operative protection. The construction
of a trans-continental railway to the Pacific became a military necessity,
and a thorough discussion of the subject resulted in an organization, whose
grand energies and herculean efforts have already astonished the world.
ORGANIZATION OF THE UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD.
The Union Pacific Railroad received its charter from Congress in July,
1862. From that time until 1865, during which interval several amendatory
acts were passed, the company made little progress further than in perfecting
the organization and preparing the way for the grand work before them.
During the latter year, ground was first broken at Omaha, the eastern terminus
of the road, and thereafter the work was pushed forward with a rapidity
unexampled in the history of railroad engineering. The munificent subsidies
and land grants made by the Government to the company, were golden incentives
to the wonderfully rapid construction of the road. Twenty alternate sections
of land (12,800 acres) per mile of the public domain through which the
road runs, and a special loan of 6 per cent Bonds of the United States,
were granted in aid of this line, the latter payable upon the completion
of each consecutive forty miles of track, in installments at the rate of
sixteen thousand dollars per mile; thus affording the company unusual facilities
for the rapid and substantial building of the line.
DIFFICULTIES FIRST ENCOUNTERED.
And yet, the first labor upon the road was attended with serious obstacles and enormous outlays. Omaha at that time had no railroad communication with the East, and every article and implement used in the construction of the road had to be transported nearly two hundred miles in wagon-trains. Even after a sufficient number of miles had been completed to warrant the issue of bonds, capitalists were for a time reluctant to invest in these securities, fearing that insurmountable obstacles would prevent or delay the completion of the line to the Pacific. Time was required to dissipate these doubts and inspire public confidence. But the men who were intrusted with the general management of the affairs of the company, exhibited an energy and perseverance equal to every emergency. They fully realized that “miles upon miles" of road must be constructed, equipped, and in actual commission, before the incredulity of moneyed men could be sufficiently overcome to induce them to invest in the company's bonds.
Fortunately, laborers could be obtained in abundance, and as the first five hundred miles of the route extended along the level plain of the Platte River bottoms, rapid construction was rendered comparatively easy. But the working parties of the line often had to perform double duties. The Indians regarded this encroachment upon their former haunts with growing jealousy and suspicion, and frequently interrupted the progress of the work by bold attacks along the line. On these occasions the pick and shovel were temporarily thrown aside, the rifle and pistol substituted in their place, and peaceful laborers were transformed into little armies, ready to repel and punish the attempts of the savages to retard this great work of internal improvement.
The incidental history connected with the construction of the Union
Pacific Railroad—the thrilling and often perilous experience of the brave
and sinewy men who were the muscular pioneers of the work—if faithfully
written, would make a volume of almost romantic interest. A large majority
of the men employed were formerly in the army, and have engaged in this
labor with all that hardy confidence and eager love of adventure which
camp life invariably inspires. The dangers and difficulties encountered
have only served to give zest to the daily routine of duty and break its
MAGICAL GROWTH OF TOWNS AND CITIES.
The rapid progress westward of the Union Pacific Railroad was not without an accompanying birth and magical growth of towns and cities along its line. Wherever a temporary halt occurred in the work of track-laying, there quickly gathered crowds of "camp-followers," and almost in the twinkling of an eye, all the characteristics of a busy settlement flourished, where perhaps yesterday only prairie and meadow were to be seen. At Julesburg—a place familiar to all travelers by the old overland route as a stage station—a city numbering several thousand people rapidly arose when the railroad had reached that point. The frail and portable materials of which it was built, gave it the appearance of a "paper city;" but its thronged streets, its busy marts, and the exhaustless energy of those who dealt in comer lots and business sites, more than realized the miraculous creations of Aladdin with his wonderful lamp.
A few months later the railroad had left this mushroom city far in the rear, and halting to gain breath before it began the ascent of the Black Hills, another city more thrifty and more promising than the first, leaped up from the wilderness and nestled around its path. Then a large majority of the population of Julesburg folded their tents like the Arabs, and silently stole away; and following the magnetic highway laid down before them, soon enrolled themselves among the merchants, bankers, and professional men of the new city of CHEYENNE. Here the improvements have been of a more substantial character; and as this city will doubtless be the point of connection for the railroad from Denver, it has elements of permanence and prosperity to sustain it.
Farther west—at Sherman, Laramie, Benton, Green River, and Bear City—other
flourishing settlements have marked the advance of the Union Pacific; and
doubtless this will be a characteristic feature of its progress. The durability
and growth of these avant couriers of civilization and development,
depend much upon the local advantages of soil, climate, and mineral productiveness—sustaining
forces without which a vigorous and healthy existence can not long be enjoyed.
Doubtless, an occasional embryo city will bask for a brief season in a
delicious dream of municipal consequence, and relapse once more into that
insignificance to which nature originally assigned it; but at numerous
points along the line, thriving towns and cities are destined to spring
up and contribute bountifully to the way-traffic of the road.
BUSINESS OF THE ROAD.
Already the business of the Road, without a single connecting branch yet constructed, and with the connection but just made between it and the Central Pacific line, has assumed a magnitude vastly exceeding the most sanguine hopes of the company. The earnings of the Road for the year 1868 footed up the enormous sum of over five millions of dollars, and have since been steadily on the increase. When it is borne in mind that the freight and passenger traffic of Utah, Montana, Idaho and Nevada, are not yet secured—that the flourishing Pacific States are still unable to avail themselves of overland facilities for commercial purposes—that no portion of the extensive travel and traffic via Panama has yet been diverted from that long established route—that no effort has yet been made to secure emigrant and freight traffic—some faint idea can be gained of the immense business which will gather at both extremities, and at every connection, when the Road becomes fully equipped, and effort becomes organized.
There are other auguries of a brilliant future for the Pacific railroad
lines. The commerce of India, China, and Japan is expanding rapidly under
the magical touch of an advancing civilization, and lines of steamers across
the Pacific have already transformed the once distant Mongolians into near
neighbors. The day is not remote when the long and perilous voyage around
the "capes" will be exchanged for the securities and delights of a pleasure
trip around the world. Steam will literally "take the wind from the sails"
of commerce and triumph over the fitful breezes of every sea. The swarming
millions of eastern Asia, with increased intelligence and knowledge of
the outer world, and improved facilities for escape from their overcrowded
homes, will break away from old associations, and flock to a land where
personal and conscientious liberty go hand in hand. Already the mountains
and valleys of the Pacific coast have attracted thousands across the sea;
but with the Railroad completed, a countless throng of the "children of
the sun" will gather on our shores, pass swiftly to the summit of the Sierras,
and fill the great Basin with the fruits of patient industry and enterprise.
Nor is the hope a baseless one, that the broad and fertile fields of the
sunny South, now languishing for the want of appropriate labor, may find
important advantage in the introduction of Chinese workmen.
HOW THE ROAD WILL AID THE TERRITORIES.
General as has been the satisfaction and joy experienced over the completion of the Pacific railroad, there are special communities which celebrated this event with an enthusiasm inspired by peculiar advantages. The miners and settlers of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho—remembering the years of isolation and danger through which they have struggled to a territorial condition—hailed the inauguration of uninterrupted rail communication across the continent with wild demonstrations. Long and perilous journeys across the plains and over the mountains—sleepless vigilance on numerous occasions when Indian attacks were apprehended—scanty supplies of provisions, and inadequate shelter from stormy weather—these were the common lot of the people of those remote regions who first sought to redeem the wilderness and develop its hidden wealth. The first shrill blast of the whistling engine dissipated all these perplexities and dangers, and enables many a weary and worn exile from his friends once more to gladden their hearts with familiar greetings. Thousands who dared not ask their wives and children to share with them the privations and perils of pioneering, will soon summon them to the comforts and conveniences which the railroad has now made accessible; while other thousands, no longer timid and apprehensive, will join the swelling tide to these rich and attractive regions
Extensive and inexhaustible as the mines of these Territories are known
to be, many of them have met with slow development because of their remoteness
from routes of transportation. The cost of opening and proving some of
these mines, and providing them with proper machinery, has been almost
fabulous. The enormous expense of transporting heavy engines and ponderous
stamps for a distance of from 600 to 1,200 miles, by slow wagon trains
from the Missouri River, has often vastly exceeded the original cost of
the machinery. These serious obstacles to the prosperity of the Territories
above named will soon be entirely overcome. The cost of labor, too, will
sensibly decrease as emigrants flock to the mineral districts; and, with
increased yields and diminished outlays, the profits will well repay the
miner for all past disappointments.
PROSPECTS OF FUTURE MINERAL DEVELOPMENT.
The Union Pacific Railroad traverses for a long distance a section of country known to be rich in the precious metals, but which was not accessible and convenient before the approach of rail communication. The Black Hills have been prospected at different points with gratifying results. Farther west—along the Rocky, the Medicine Bow, and Wasatch ranges—abundant indications exist of the presence of gold and silver. With cheap labor, cheap supplies, and the protecting and encouraging influences which are inseparable from the proximity of the railroad, these mountains will soon be pierced and searched thoroughly. The effects of new and important gold discoveries are well known. No other attraction possesses such magnetic power over the mind of man as the well-founded prospect of securing a profitable gold mine. No other impulse will so rapidly and magically transform the solitude of a wilderness into the dwelling-places of a thronging population. The history of California, of Nevada, and of all the other States and Territories where the precious metals abound, so abundantly proves the truth of this proposition, that it can neither be gainsayed nor questioned.
It is reasonable, therefore, to predict that the development of the golden resources of the great central region through which the Union Pacific Railroad passes, will be attended with a corresponding growth of prosperous towns and cities along its route, forming necessary bases of supplies for those who explore the country on either flank.
The force necessary to maintain and operate the railroad even after
its completion, of itself, constitutes a small army of men; and thousands
who have assisted in the work of construction, charmed with the natural
beauty and prolificness of the country through which they have toiled,
will locate at favorable points, and soon become important contributors
to the way-business of the line. As an auxiliary in the great work of peopling
and developing the interior and western portions of our national domain,
the Pacific Railroad must take precedence over all other agencies. The
restlessness of the American people is almost a national characteristic;
and there is no point so distant or remote where they will not venture,
provided rapid and cheap transportation make that point conveniently accessible.
The allurements of mining— the advantages offered for obtaining land at
nominal prices— the superior climate and almost ravishing beauties of the
combined mountain and plains system, occupying the central region—will
all prove more attractive as the advantages of the great railroad bring
them within striking distance of the emigrant and the pioneer.
CLIMATIC AND SANITARY ADVANTAGES.
The Pacific Railroad maintains throughout its entire extent almost a due west course from the Missouri River, varying less than a single degree in deflection until it reaches the center of the State of Nevada, going west. From this point it runs in a southwesterly direction across the Sierra Nevadas, terminating at Sacramento, about the 38th parallel. With this exception, the road occupies a position between the 41st and 42d parallels of latitude, enjoying all the climatic advantages embraced within these limits. The healthfulness of this entire region has been favorably determined by years of experience on the part of mountaineers, trappers, and others who have sojourned there from an early period, as well as by more recent and more extensive opportunities which the numerous settlements therein have afforded. The configuration of the country referred to effectually protects it from miasmatic influences. The atmosphere is dry, pure, and bracing, and often freshened by the cool mountain breezes which sweep over the plains. Invalids in the early stages of consumption, or suffering from bronchial or asthmatic complaints, speedily find relief in the elevated portions of these regions, and often entirely recover.
There are numerous thermal and mineral springs scattered throughout
Colorado, Utah, and Nevada, some of them possessing extraordinary curative
properties for cutaneous and other diseases. These will in time become
favorite places of resort for the invalid and pleasure-seeker. Without
doubt another season will find no inconsiderable proportion of the summer-resorting
public turning their faces toward the Rocky Mountains. The monotonous and
barren frivolities of fashionable watering-places and sea-side haunts will
dwindle into insignificance before the unrivaled grandeur and magnificence
of the Great Mountains, and the dazzling beauties which cluster around
THE ROAD EQUIPMENTS.
Those who may have imagined that a railroad trip across the continent involved many perplexities and privations not common to railway lines throughout the East, will be pleased to know that on no other route in our country have more superior accommodations been furnished for the comfort and convenience of the traveler. The equipments of the Union Pacific Railroad are on a scale of ampleness and excellence possessed by few other roads in the world. The locomotives are of the very best class, and the passenger cars combine all the modem appliances of comfort and luxury. Pullman's magnificent line of palace cars daily pass over the road, affording to the traveler all the accommodations of the best appointed hotel. Seated in one of these elegant carriages, the passenger may enjoy fully the enchanting scenery of the route, and if he chooses may remain in his quarters throughout the entire journey.
Ample provision has been made for the accommodation of emigrants and their families, and as the business of the road increases, lower rates of fare will be adopted to correspond with the tariffs of other roads.
The freight accommodations of the Union Pacific Railroad are on a scale
commensurate with the immense prospective business of the road. Even while
we write, forty car-loads of cattle pass over the road daily, bound East.
Who will venture to predict the ratio of increase for this branch of business
alone, when the millions of acres of excellent pasture land rolling away
to the Pacific are covered with the countless herds they are capable of
THOMAS C. DURANT
We can not more appropriately conclude this brief consideration of the
progress of the Union Pacific Railroad, than with a passing tribute to
the sleepless energy, the indomitable perseverance, and never flagging
industry of THOMAS C. DURANT, Vice-President of the road. Giving his personal
supervision to the work of construction, he has stimulated the efforts
of every subordinate employed on the line, and aroused a feeling of pride
which has grown into individual enthusiasm. It is not too much to assert
that from the first breaking of ground at Omaha, in 1865, Mr. DURANT has
been more active and useful in this gigantic enterprise than any other
person. Difficulties and obstacles from which others would have shrunk
despairingly, were grappled with and removed by the exercise of his consummate
judgment and skill. Fully realizing the magnitude and importance of the
work, he brought every energy and qualification he possessed to aid in
its advancement, and the results attest the wisdom and ability with which
he has discharged his trust.
THE CENTRAL PACIFIC RAILROAD.
While the "Union Pacific Railroad," by reason of its immediate connection
with the great railroad system of the United States, has attracted more
general attention than any other constructing line in the world, the "CENTRAL
PACIFIC RAILROAD OF CALIFORNIA"—the western division of the great trans-continental
road—has exhibited a corresponding wonderful progress. With the same liberal
aid from Government, and prospectively enjoying the same business advantages
as the “Union Pacific,” the California line has been pushed forward from
the Pacific coast, across the Sierra Nevada mountains, where it meets the
ORGANIZATION OF THE COMPANY, ETC.
The organization of the Central Pacific Company dates back to 1861, when a charter was granted by the Legislature of California. The State conferred important franchises in aid of the construction of the road, which, in addition to the subsidies and grants from the General Government, furnished abundant resources for a vigorous prosecution of the work. The acts of Congress, authorizing the building of a railway from the Missouri River to the Pacific, offered the same encouragement and aid to the “Central Pacific” as to the “Union Pacific” but the inauguration of work on the two roads was attended with widely different conditions and strongly contrasted experiences. The eastern line had a level and unbroken country to traverse for several hundred miles, where engineers met with no perplexity, and workmen with no serious interruption. But the Central Pacific encountered at the outset the most formidable and most difficult obstacles. Less than twenty-five miles from the initial point, Sacramento, the spurs of the Sierra Nevada range were reached, and thence, for a distance of one hundred and fifty miles, the route ran through a region of lofty mountain ranges, frowning precipices, and almost fathomless ravines. It was literally up-hill work all the way. To illustrate more forcibly the character of the work and the expense attending it, one item may be mentioned: the blasting powder alone for the first one hundred and forty miles cost $900,000 in gold ! On some portions of the completed line, the cost of grading has exceeded $300,000 per mile.
Put with ample means to meet these enormous outlays, and an army of
willing and industrious laborers, the ascent and passage of the Sierra
Nevadas was accomplished in a manner and with rapidity highly creditable
to the engineers in charge. Frequent tunnels occur along this portion of
the route, one of which is about 1,700 feet in length. Deep rock cuttings
are of course numerous, and long lines of trestle-work span the wide ravines.
Probably no similar extent of road in the world presents so many grand
and startling illustrations of railway engineering and skill as this. The
best materials have been used in every department of the work. The culverts
and bridge foundations are of solid masonry wherever such materials were
practicable, and the road-bed itself is necessarily ..s firm as the everlasting
THE GREAT TRADE OF THE WORLD.
The people of the Pacific coast experience a just feeling of pride in
the Central Pacific Road, and have rejoiced in its completion as the dawn
of a brilliant future for that entire region. Already every branch of commercial
industry on the coast has begun to glow with new life, in anticipation
of the impulse which a finished railway communication across the continent
will give to trade and enterprise. eastern Asia and Japan, the innumerable
islands of the Pacific, and farther India, will all contribute to the wonderful
traffic which will mingle in a common current and float to the western
terminus of the Pacific Railroad. The land and water systems of the world
seem to have been specially arranged to make this great route a highway
for the nations of the earth. Over no same extent of territory on the globe
could a railway be constructed, combining such important and multiplied
advantages as this road will command.
CONNECTIONS OF THE CENTRAL PACIFIC.
The present and prospective connections of this road may be briefly stated as follows: at the western terminus, Sacramento, with a daily line of steamers for San Francisco, and also with the western Pacific Railroad now building to San Francisco, via Stockton; with the Sacramento Valley Railroad, for Placerville; the California Central and Northern railroads, for Oregon; and with the San Joaquin Valley and Southern Pacific railroads, projected to the Southern boundary of California
At Reno, 154 miles east of Sacramento, the Virginia and Truckee Railroad (17 miles) will extend to the Washoe mining regions, securing the already important business of that rich region. Farther east, at the north bend of the Humboldt it will connect with the Oregon branch of the Pacific Railroad, for which a bill has already been introduced in Congress and which contemplates a line of 350 miles, from Eugene City, near Portland, via the Willamette Valley, to connect with the main trunk-line on the Central Pacific, as above. Prom this point also,the Humboldt and Idaho Railroad (125 miles) is projected, extending into the center of the rich mining regions of Idaho, and designed for ultimate connection with the proposed Northern Pacific Railroad.
At Promontory Point, the Central Pacific links its duties and destinies with the Union Pacific Railroad, from which event will date the commencement of a railway track more extended and more immense than words and figures can adequately describe.
The same general reflections upon the influences which prompted the inauguration of the Union Pacific, and the elements of prosperity it possesses, will apply equally to the Central Pacific Railroad. Both these roads enjoy a common heritage, and each will receive an equal meed of endorsement and support at the hands of the great business world. The interests of the two are identical, and can not fail to blend together in profitable harmony. Whatever contributes to the pride and prosperity of the one, will equally advance and promote the welfare of the other. To all. intents and purposes the Union Pacific and Central Pacific organizations are one, and without doubt a consolidation will be effected at no distant day, by which the entire road will be under one management.
No fear need be entertained that the Pacific Railroad will become a
giant monopoly, or adopt a business policy in any degree unjust or oppressive.
The great aim of this road will be to earn the good will as well as the
business of the public, and command the confidence of commercial men. It
will for a time be without a rival; but other and powerful organizations
are already in the field, and not many years will pass away before a brisk
competition for the increasing traffic across this continent, will spring
up. The "Southern Pacific,"the "Northern Pacific,"and perhaps other through
lines, will have to be built before the growing commerce of the next twenty-five
years will be fully provided for.
LOW FARE AND FREIGHT RATES.
The munificent land grants and subsidies which have been bestowed upon these roads, are equivalent to a withdrawal from the national resources of a vast portion of the public domain originally held for pre-emption. In fact, the people of our country are the real builders and proprietors of the Pacific Railroad, and for their benefit and prosperity should it be maintained and conducted. Liberal freight and passenger tariffs ought to be adopted at the earliest practicable moment. The quicker the wonderful advantages and vast wealth of the region through which the great railroad passes, can be examined and appreciated by the restless public, the more speedy will be its settlement and development. The policy of the Mormon leaders who found an advantage to their colony in defraying the expenses of those who desired to emigrate to "Deseret"—may not prove an unprofitable study for the Pacific Railroad directors. High rates of fare can not be long maintained without serious damage to any transportation line. If it is to cost as much to cross the plains and mountains to California by rail, as it formerly did to make the same journey by stage-coach, thousands who have fondly hoped to make that trip will abandon their purpose altogether, or select a more economical route.
It should, and no doubt will, be the policy of the companies owning
so many millions of acres of wild land, to realize a rapid and profitable
sale of this vast estate. The early occupancy and improvement of these
lands will necessarily involve an immense increase of the business of the
road; and cheap fares and low freights will attract an eager and anxious
CHARACTER OF LANDS ALONG THE LINE.
The character of soil for 400 miles west of the Missouri River, and lying near the route of the Union Pacific Road, may be described as of great fertility, and possessing superior productive qualities. Elsewhere in this book—in the chapters devoted to Nebraska and Wyoming, the author has given a more detailed account of the geographical features of the Platte Valley and Laramie Plains, through which the railroad extends. The lands ceded to the company, although not fully surveyed and platted, are now open to occupancy by the settler, whose claim and title will be confirmed when the offices of the land department of the road are established and ready for business.
The Central Pacific Road, by reason of its more lengthy mountain route,
has not the same extent of agricultural land to offer to the settler as
the Union Pacific, but it is by no means destitute. The valley of the Humboldt
River, for 3 distance of 300 miles, is traversed by the Central Pacific,
and this region contains some good land and an abundance of wood and water.
The close proximity of this valley to rich mineral regions, and the ready
and profitable market which such regions furnish for agricultural products,
will make every available acre a flourishing garden or well cultivated
farm. In the valley of the Sacramento River, the company has large quantities
of bottom lands, subject to annual overflow, and possessed of great fertility.
In garden products these bottoms challenge the world, and many varieties
of semi-tropical fruits are cultivated successfully. The almond, olive,
and pomegranate, thrive well. The season of grass-growing commences immediately
after the rains of December, and continues until summer heat, when hay
cures standing, affording abundant forage for cattle, and other stock.
Even far up in the mountain range, small valleys nestle among the hills,
furnishing excellent farming lands, where numerous dairies and sheep ranges
In a general way we have thus briefly considered the characteristics, the advantages, and the prospects of the great Pacific Railroad. As a national work it stands without a rival in our grand system of internal improvement—a monument of the inexhaustible resources and indomitable enterprise of the American people. The world has watched its progress with looks of amazement and awe, startled by the facility and rapidity with which the great mountain barriers have been crossed; and marveling how our young Republic— still staggering under the effects of a terrible civil war—could display such wonderful recuperative energy and strength. And now that the silver hammer has driven the golden spike, and the great enterprise is completed, amid the rejoicings of the nation, we can not resist the conviction that the future of this road will have an important influence upon the whole civilized world. The people of every land and clime will cluster along its sides, giving and receiving the multiplied benefits which a peaceful mingling of nationalities can not fail to insure. It will give renewed security and confidence to our Government, concentrating and strengthening the great elements of power possessed by the nation, and reducing the possibilities of future international disturbances. X band of strength, a bond of union, a harbinger of prolonged peace and prosperity to our young and thriving Republic.
Courtesy of Bruce C. Cooper Collection.