The Transcontinental Railroad poster

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The Transcontinental Railroad poster

The Transcontinental Railroad PosterBy Abigail Blanchard

The Effects of the Railroad on the West-As the railroad was constructed on the Native Americans' land, they were put on to more reservations and their were more conflicts.-More immigrants came to the west because of the easier travel, which also made more conflicts between the Native Americans and the settlers.-The railroad brought economic help to the west because of the easier transportation.-Many more Mormons, but also many other people came to the west which changed Utah's lifestyles. It was the end on isolation for the Utahns.-The mine business was more effective because raw materials and ore was moved from mines to smelters in an easier fashion.-The minerals were transported to other places of manufacturing.-The railroad also benefitted the farm industry because large quantities of produce was able to be shipped to other parts of the country.-Stress was put on local businesses. Goods could come much easier and cheaper by the locomotives than they could be made in Utah, so many businesses were either forced to shut down or make their production better by adjusting to new, better things.-Many passengers, settlers, tourists, and actors/actresses came to Utah and the west.As you can see, the railroad definitely changed and affected the west.

Owners of the Railroad The investment needed to build the railroad was made by selling government-guaranteed bonds to interested investors. Both sides, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific, had owners.Central Pacific- The Big Four were Collis P. Huntington who was president, Charles Crocker, Leland Stanford, and Mark Hopkins who was the treasurer. Theodore Judah was the one who helped find these men, he being the chief engineer, though he later died. These four men did not know much about building railroads before this assignment, but they were successful businessmen.Union Pacific- The owners of this side were constantly changing. In 1862, William P. Ogden was put as president and Henry V. Porter was secretary, though, the president was changed to John A. Dix in 1863. Thomas Durant was the vice-president and general manager at this time. He was a person that wanted a lot of money and tried to take control of both companies by investment. He was caught, but still managed to do so. Oliver Ames became president in 1867, and he and his brother, Oakes Ames, invested a lot in the railroad. The chief engineer in 1863 was Peter Dey, Colonel Silas Symour in 1864, and Colonel Grenville Dodge in 1866.

The Uniting of the Railroad at Promontory Point On March 10th, 1869, a group of people gathered at Promontory Point, north of Ogden, where the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Railroads met. Union Pacific's No. 119 and Central Pacific's "Jupiter" lined up facing each other on the tracks. The last spike was driven into the tie at 12:47 P.M. When Leland Stanford had tried to drive the spike into the ground, he missed twice. Thomas Durant missed as well when he tried. Finally, James H. Strobridge and Samuel R. Reed took turns driving the last spike in. Cheers went up, and people across the nation celebrated when the news came on a telegraph that the transcontinental railroad was "done." The two railroads were united at last, and the transcontinental railroad finally went from one side of the continent to the other.

The Route The route of the transcontinental railroad ran through Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. The Union Pacific side of the railroad started in Omaha, Nebraska and went west. The route followed the Platte River, along the North Fork, that crossed the continental divide at the South Pass in Wyoming, and continued along the Green River. The Union Pacific Railroad traveled through Elkhorn, Freemont, Grand Island, Kearney, North Platte, and Ogallala, Nebraska; then down to Julesburg, Colorado, and back up to Sidney, Nebraska; through Cheyenne, Laramie, Fort Fred Steele, Green River, and Evanston, Wyoming; and Ogden, Brigham City, and Corinne, Utah. The Central Pacific Railroad's route started eastward from Sacramento, California and followed and old emigrant road through the mountains near the Donner Pass. This railroad went through Newcastle and Truckee, California and Wadsworth, Winnemucca, Battle Mountain, Elko, and Humboldt Wells, Nevada. The two railroads met at Promontory Point, Utah.

Building of the Railroad Congress looked for a route for the transcontinental railroad during the 1850's. Theodore Judah gave an idea of a route running through Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. Daniel Strong helped him come up with a better route through the Sierras and they started the Central Pacific Railroad Company. The "Big Four" who were in charge of the Central Pacific were Collis P. Huntington, Charles Crocker, Leland Stanford, and Mark Hopkins. The Pacific Railway Act of 1862 was signed by President Lincoln. The Central Pacific spiked their first rail on October 26, 1863, and Union Pacific started in July 1865. Having to cover so much length, building the transcontinental railroad took a lot of workers. Most of the workers were immigrants from places like Ireland and China. The Union Pacific covered more land faster because they just had to cover prairie land, while the Central Pacific had to go through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The problems they faced while building were the hot deserts, cold mountain winters, dynamite blasts that sometimes killed workers, and Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapho Indian tribes who did not like the building of the railroad. Both companies faced much hardship as they laid miles of track. The Central Pacific moved quite fast once they got through the Sierra Nevada Mountains and got to Utah's border in 1868. The Union Pacific moved at a constant pace and completed its path through Wyoming. They met at Promontory Summit on May 10, 1869.


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