Unformatted text preview: Railroads Featured Reference
Ambrose, Stephen E. 2000. Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869. "After 1850 railroads began expanding rapidly, linking growing cities and providing access to market for agricultural and forest products. Although called the "iron road," railroads used far more wood than iron. Except for the engine and rails, railroads were made of wood...."
Douglas W. MacCleery, American Forests [p. 19] The Transcontinental Railroad Social Implications Mobilized the postCivil War energy of the nation The U.P. and C.P. were the biggest corporations of their time and established the model for modern corporations for better and worse Remember Manifest Destiny? National security John Quincy Adams Secretary of State to James Monroe After Washington was burned in the War of 1812 California Gold Rush Charles Crocker From Troy, NY 27 years old in 1849 He and 4 other men headed for California Traveling overland following the Platte River, it took almost half a year to reach the gold fields Collis Huntington Also 27 when struck with gold fever Sailed from New York to Panama, crossed the Isthmus, and waited for a ship to San Francisco The journey took 5-1/2 months Mark Hopkins 34 when he sailed for California from New York around Cape Horn on a ship beset by storms, bad food, a lack of water, and a tyrannical captain Arrived in San Francisco after 196 days Crocker, Huntington, and Hopkins became three-fourths of the "Big Four" of the Central Pacific Railroad The fourth was Leland Stanford who was in California prior to the Gold Rush In 1850, 50,000 emigrants left Missouri for California 5,000 died of the cholera The Military Implication California was taken by conquest How could it be defended? Travel by any route took at least two months Lt. William T. Sherman 1846: Mexican War Sailed around Cape Horn for California with the 3rd Artillery The journey lasted 212 days The Straits of Magellan
"Here we experienced very rough buffeting about under storm stay-sails, and spending nearly a month before the wind favored our passage and enabled the course of the ship to be changed for Valparaiso."
William T. Sherman Captain U.S. "Sam" Grant 1852: The 4th Infantry Regiment was sent to California The route was by ship to Panama, across the Isthmus, and by ship to San Francisco "In eight days Aspinwall (Panama) was reached. At that time the streets of the town were eight or ten inches under water... July is at the height of the wet season on the Isthmus.... I wondered how anyone could live many months in Aspinwall, and wondered still more why anyone tried. Meanwhile the cholera had broken out, and men were dying every hour.... Altogether, on the Isthmus and on the Pacific side, we were delayed six weeks. About one-seventh of those who left New York harbor with the 4th Infantry... now lie buried on the Isthmus..."
U.S. Grant, Personal Memoirs Grenville Mellen Dodge Railroad engineer On August 13, 1859 in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Abraham Lincoln asks Dodge his ideas of the best route for a railroad to the Pacific Lincoln's host "pointed out Dodge to Lincoln and said that the young engineer knew more about railroads than any `two men in the country.'"
Stephen Ambrose, Nothing Like it in the World [p. 23] Grenville Dodge Enlisted in the Union army during the Civil War Rose to the rank of major general Served under Grant and Sherman After the war, he became chief engineer of the Union Pacific Railroad Dodge City, KS is named in his honor Significant Legislation Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 Established the Union Pacific Railroad First nationally chartered corporation since the Second Bank of the United States Pacific Railroad Act of 1864 Recognized the role of the Central Pacific Permitted the Union Pacific and Central Pacific to sell bonds (Credit Mobilier) Amended in 1866 to authorize the Central Pacific to construct their road until it joined with the Union Pacific
Railroad Land Grants The Federal government granted land to the railroads to help in their construction Began the practice in 1850s 10 acres for every mile of track laid in 1862; increased to 20 acres in 1864 129 million acres were granted to railroads between 1850 and 1870 (7% of the continental U.S.) "A race fit perfectly into the business climate of America. The businessmen spoke little and did much, while the politicians did as little as possible and spoke much." "It was indeed such an American thing to do. A race, a competition. Build it fast. The company that won would get the largest share of the land and the biggest share of the bonds. The cost to the country would be the same if it took ten years or twenty years or five years to build. People wanted to get to California, or back east. They wanted to see the sights, to ship the goods.... And there was no better way than to set up a competition. "This was democracy at work."
Stephen Ambrose, Nothing Like It in the World [pp. 193-194] The Work Force Railroad Camps Boom Towns
In 1868, the CP began selling lots in a new Nevada town they named after Civil War hero Jesse Reno. "...there was a rush of buyers, and choice twenty-five-foot lots sold for $1,200 apiece." (Ambrose, p. 304) "Hell on Wheels" Bridges and Trestles The Howe truss The Chicago Howe Truss Bridge Company supplied prefabricated sections for bridges on the U.P. Used 12" X 12" 16' timbers Tunnels Snowsheds Constructed by the Central Pacific through the Sierras to keep the road open during winter The sheds totaled 37 miles in length They were constructed of 75 million feet of timber and 900 tons of bolts and spikes Their cost was more than $2 million "The sheds remain one of the wonders of the CP. They were, until replaced with concrete, one of the wonders of engineering with wood. The timbers were fifteen feet or longer, almost as big as big tree trunks. Photographs continue to astonish and amaze. Except for their vulnerability to fire, the thirty-seven miles of sheds would still be there, being used."
Stephen Ambrose, Nothing Like it in the World [p. 304] May 10, 1869 Promontory Point, Utah Revolutionizing Transportation
"Of all the things done by the first transcontinental railroad, nothing exceeded the cuts in time and cost it made for people traveling across the continent."
Stephen Ambrose, Nothing Like it in the World [p. 369] Other transcontinental railroads were to follow... Northern Pacific Great Northern Southern Pacific Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe "Of the many industries and activities that depended on the products of the forest, those of railroad construction and operation made perhaps the greatest impact.... There was little doubt that the railroad meant change, and in the context of the forest that could only mean the diminution of the timber stand."
Michael Williams, Americans and Their Forests [p. 344] "The number of miles of U.S. railroads increased from less than ten thousand miles to more than 350,000 miles between 1850 and 1910. By the late 1800s, railroads accounted for 20 to 25 percent of the country's total consumption of timber."
Douglas W. MacCleery, American Forests [p. 19] "By far the most significant railroad use of wood was for crossties. Each mile of track required over twenty-five hundred ties. Crossties were not treated with preservatives until after 1900, so because of their rapid deterioration in contact with the ground, they had to be replaced every five to seven years. Given the miles of track in 1910, that would be equivalent to replacing the ties on over fifty thousand miles of track annually. Just replacing railroad ties on a sustained basis required between fifteen million and twenty million acres of forest land in 1900."
Douglas W. MacCleery, American Forests [p. 19] As the Union Pacific crossed the Great Plains, the only available timber for ties was cottonwood Cottonwood is light and weak, and would last only a short time Ties could be replaced later. Winning the race came first. "Pullman day cars, light wood passenger cars, were introduced in 1858, while Pullman sleepers and dining cars appeared after the Civil War. These cars soon became as luxurious as the interior of a Victorian mansion..."
Youngquist and Fleischer, Wood in American Life [p. 88] The Logging Railroads Shay, Heisler & Climax Engines
Logging railroads enabled fast & inexpensive transportati on of logs out of the woods Cass Scenic Railroad Mobility of the Industry Bringing Fire to the Forest "Rail and steam did everything imaginable to spread fire. Locomotives threw sparks like a Roman candle chugging down the tracks. Wood burners were worse than coal burners, which were worse than oil burners."
Stephen J. Pyne, Year of the Fires [p. 43] "Sparks could kindle only if they found suitable combustibles. These too the rails supplied. Railway construction broke open landscapes, littered their passage with fresh fuels, promoted fire-hungry weeds among the ballast.... Rail invited logging, logging invited farming; each chopped the land into combustibles, each sprinkled sparks atop them. Railways through the woods quickly became burned-out wastelands."
Stephen J. Pyne, Year of the Fires [p. 43] Railroads and the Bison Herd Split the herd because bison would not cross the tracks Brought buffalo hunters to the West Impact on Plains Indians Awakening Need for Forest Conservation
"...even where railroads have penetrated regions abundantly supplied, we soon find all along its track timber soon becomes scarce. For every railroad in the country requires a continued forest from one end to the other of its lines to supply it with ties, fuel, and lumber for building cars."
Andrew Fuller, 1866 Awakening Need for Forest Conservation Excesses of the railroads drove many early forest conservation efforts 1881: Establishment of Forestry Division in U.S.D.A. Franklin B. Hough was the first chief "According to (M.G.) Kern (U.S.D.A. Forestry Division), the `reckless system of forest clearing' for crossties could not go on indefinitely; the forest supplies would run out. He suggested two remedies: the preservation of timber to prevent rotting, and the planting of new trees..." Michael Williams, Americans and Their Forests [p. 350] Bernhard Eduard Fernow 1886: became chief of the U.S.D.A. Division of Forestry Advocated substitution and "timber science" as conservation measure "Under his direction, thousands of tests were carried out on the strength and durability of timbers, on air seasoning, on tie preservation, and on every aspect of `timber physics' and `material research.' For example, tests proved that the formerly despised chestnut oak was perfectly interchangeable with the favored white oak as a tie timber and that southern pines were all of very similar quality and were equal competitors with northern white pine as a bridge timber."
Michael Williams, Americans and Their Forests [p. 351] Burnett & Bethell Processes Burnett Process: Pressure treating Zinc chloride Bethell Process: Pressure treating Coal-tar creosote More effective "Together, the transcontinental railroad and the telegraph made modern America possible. Things that could not be imagined before the Civil War now became common. A nationwide stock market, for example. A continent-wide economy... a continent-wide culture...."
Stephen Ambrose, Nothing Like it in the World [p. 370] Railroads and the National Parks "But a choice made is made, it cannot be changed. Things happened as they happened. It is possible to imagine all kinds of different routes across the continent, or a better way for the government to help private industry, or maybe have the government build it and own it. But those things didn't happen, and what did take place is grand. So we admire those who did it even if they were far from perfect for what they were and what they accomplished and how much each of us owes them."
Stephen Ambrose, Nothing Like It in the World [p. 382] ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/04/2012 for the course HISTORY 104 taught by Professor Reed during the Spring '11 term at Rutgers.
- Spring '11
- Transcontinental Railroad