PEOPLE

 

Theodore Judah

.       Civil engineer, "father of the Central Pacific Railroad"

.       Surveyed route through Sierra Nevada

.       Won financial backing from the "Big 4," later had much friction with them

 

Grenville Dodge

.       Chief engineer of Union Pacific Railroad

.       General in Union Army during Civil War

.       Led military campaign against Plains Indians prior to becoming chief engineer

.       Elected to Congress from Iowa in 1866, where he lobbied for UP

 

Abraham Lincoln

.       Republican President of the United States, 1861-65

.       Oversaw Union victory in Civil War

.       Believed railroads were essential to progress

.       Major supporter of Pacific Railroad Bill of 1862

 

Collis P. Huntington

.       One of "Big 4" directors of Central Pacific Railroad

.       Made fortune selling supplies to prospectors during California Gold Rush

.       Invested Gold Rush earnings in CPRR

.       Ensured CP was not as obvious about crooked dealings as was Crédit Mobilier

 

Thomas Durant

.       Vice President of Union Pacific and head of Crédit Mobilier

.       Known as "Doc"; best-known and least-liked of all involved in Transcontinental Railroad project

.       Paid himself massive amounts of Union Pacific funds while almost bankrupting the railroad

.       Forced to resign before scandal broke in 1872, and so escaped the brunt of backlash

 


Leland Stanford

.       One of "Big 4" directors of Central Pacific Railroad

.       Named President of CP, 1863

.       Later became U.S. Senator and Governor of California

.       With wife, founded Stanford University, 1891

 

Charles Crocker

.       One of "Big 4" directors of Central Pacific railroad

.       Oversaw construction work as chief contractor

.       First to employ Chinese immigrant labor force

 

 

EVENTS

 

1860 Central Pacific Railroad Formed

.       Huntington, Stanford, Crocker, James Bailey, and Mark Hopkins formed first board of directors, buying into Judah's concept of Transcontinental Railroad

 

1862 Pacific Railroad Bill

.       Federal law authorized Central Pacific to build east from Sacramento

.       Established Union Pacific with mandate to build west from Missouri River

.       Did not establish meeting point for UP and CP, which led to later (very profitable) inefficiencies

.       Funded construction by giving land grants to railroads adjacent to rail lines

 

1865 Chinese Labor on CP

.       Crocker experimented with Chinese labor to mitigate turnover among Irish workers

.       Eventually switched almost entirely to cheap and effective Chinese labor

.       Never treated Chinese workers well

 

1869 Golden Spike

.       Central Pacific and Union Pacific lines joined at Promontory Summit in Utah Territory

.       "Golden Spike" ceremony celebrated completion of Transcontinental Railroad

 

1872 Crédit Mobilier Scandal

.       Durant and others implicated in massive fraud in construction and finance of UP

.       Scandal implicated many corrupt members of congress

 

 

GROUPS

 

The Big Four (a.k.a. The Associates)

.       Four primary directors of Central Pacific: Leland Stanford, Collis Huntington, Mark Hopkins, Charles Crocker

.       Funded first phase of construction of Transcontinental Railroad

.       All four became wealthy selling supplies to miners during California Gold Rush, then became immensely more wealthy as railroad barons

 

Central Pacific Railroad

.       Given charter to build western part of Transcontinental Railroad by Congress

.       Built challenging line through Sierra Mountains using Chinese labor force

 

Union Pacific Railroad

.       Created by Congress in 1862

.       Crédit Mobilier owned construction contract

.       Employed mostly Union Army men, Irish immigrant laborers

 

 

CONCEPTS

 

Standard Gauge

.       Standard for uniform width between rails

.       Allowed for integration of smaller railroads into larger ones

 

Gilded Age

.       Term, coined sarcastically by Mark Twain, for last quarter of 19th century

.       Described an era marked by great wealth but also great corruption

.       "Gilded" = golden on the outside, not golden inside

 


Self-Dealing

.       When a person has position of control in two major companies and pays himself in one position from funds of another

.       Avoids oversight from other parties

.       What Durant did in Crédit Mobilier scandal

 

"Hell on Wheels"

.       Makeshift towns that followed Union Pacific Railroad construction

.       Workers would storm into tiny towns; saloons would be erected immediately

.       Workers would proceed to gamble and drink away savings

.       Famously violent

 

 

PLACES

 

Promontory Summit, Utah

.       Place where Union Pacific and Central Pacific rail lines met, completing construction of Transcontinental Railroad