The Transcontinental Railroad

Report
The West
Railroads,
Miners, Indians,
and Cattle
By: Becky Rampey
November 2010
Prospecting
Mining Centers:
1900
Anaconda Copper Mining Co. (MT)
Mining (“Boom”) Towns-Now Ghost Towns
Calico, CA
Railroads had already
transformed life in the
East, but at the end of
the Civil War railroad
tracks still stopped at
the Missouri River. For
a quarter of a century,
men had dreamed of
building a line from
coast to coast. Now
they would attempt to
lay 1,775 miles of
track from Omaha to
Sacramento.
The
Transcontinental
Railroad
The Transcontinental
Railroad
It was 1,775
miles from
Omaha, NE to
Sacramento,
CA.
The
Transcontinent
al Railroad
A path would have
to be cut through
mountains higher
than any railroadbuilder had ever
faced; span deserts
where there was no
water anywhere;
and cross treeless
prairies where
anxious and defiant
Indians would resist
their passage.
The Transcontinental
Railroad
In 1862, Congress gave charters to two
companies to build these tracks. The Central
Pacific was to push eastward from Sacramento,
over the Sierra Nevada mountains. The Union
Pacific was to start from Omaha Nebraska, cross
the great plains and cut through the Rockies.
Slide #4
The Union Pacific
and Central Pacific
were soon locked in
a race to see who
could lay the most
track -- and
therefore get the
most land and
money. Somewhere
in the West -- no
one knew exactly
where -- the two
lines were supposed
to meet.
The
Transcontinental
Railroad
The Transcontinental
Railroad
Theodore Judah
discovered a route for the
railroad through the Sierra
mountains. He and Doc
Strong formed the Central
Pacific Railroad. They
located four Sacramento
investors who each
purchased $15,000 of
stock in the newly born
Central Pacific Railroad.
These men became known
as the “Big Four.”
The
Transcontinental
Railroad
In 1862, Congress
loaned the Central
Pacific and Union
Pacific Railroads
$16,000 per mile of
level track and
$48,000 per mile of
mountain track.
Congress also
promised each
company 6,400 acres
of federal land for
every mile of track it
laid.
The Transcontinental Railroad
In 1865, Crocker, in
charge of
construction, found
a solution to their
work force problem.
Besides hiring Irish
immigrants who
worked for low pay,
the Central pacific
Railroad employed
over 10,000 Chinese
immigrants.
The Transcontinental
Railroad
In 1866, the CPR had
44 blizzards while
trying to tunnel
through the Sierras.
In 1869, the CPR laid
360 miles of track. On
April 28, 1869, the CPR
crew set a record of
laying 10 miles in
twelve hours.
The Impact of the Railroads
Before the railroads, each town
kept its own time, based on the
position of the sun. Railroad
companies, however, needed more
exact time tables. They devised a
system with four time
zones – eastern, central,
mountain and pacific
time. Every place within
the same time zone
observed the same time.
The Impact of the Railroads
In 1869, George
Westinghouse helped make
railway travel safer and
faster with the invention of a
new air brake. On early
trains, each railroad car had
its own brakes and brake
operator. If different cars
stopped at different times,
accidents resulted. The new
air brake allowed an
engineer to stop all the cars
at once.
Promontory Point, Utah
Omaha, Nebraska
.
Central
Pacific
Railroad
x
Union Pacific
Railroad
.
J
j
Sacramento,
California
· In 1863, two companies, the Union Pacific and the Central
Pacific, began building the first transcontinental railroad.
“White manpower, the kind employers preferred, was in desperately short
supply, diverted by the call to arms or the shout of “Eureka!” in the
goldfields. The few white recruits who did straggle in…leaned on their
picks when the boss rode away and shouldered their shovels on payday.”
Central Pacific approximately
90% of their
workforce were
Chinese
immigrants
Immigrant
Workers
· Labor was
Union Pacific - scarce due to the
hired many
hard, dangerous
Irish
work and low
immigrants
pay.
· Therefore,
immigrant labor
was used.
“The Central Pacific
management even
considered importing
5,000 Rebel prisoners (the
Civil War’s end foiled the
plan) and peons from
Mexico (rejected as too
lazy). Diligent beyond a
doubt were some 40,000
Chinese already in
California. But “rice
eating weaklings”?
"The Chinese Question"
Harper’s Weekly,
February 18, 1871
by, Thomas Nast
“PACIFIC CHIVALRY”
Harper’s Weekly, August 7, 1869, page 512 (Nast Cartoon)
· The workers endured scorching deserts, blinding
snowstorms, and blasted through mountains.
Chinese railroad workers perform their duties in the snow.
The
Transcontinental
Railroad
Finally, on May
10, 1869, The
CPR and UPR met
at Promontory
Summit, Utah.
The presidents of
both railroads,
Stanford and
Durant, swung at
the last gold
spike.
On May 10, 1869, a golden spike was hammered into a track
joining the two tracks in Promontory Point, UT.
Gold-plated
Golden
Spike that
was
donated by
the
governor of
Arizona
Territory.
Spike is
now owned
by the
Museum of
the City of
New York.
Photo by
poster,
12/06
The Impact of the Railroads
The railroads spurred
economic growth.
Steel-workers turned
millions of tons of iron
into steel for tracks
and engines.
Lumberjacks supplied
wood for railroad ties.
Miners dug coal to fuel
the engines. The
railroads opened
every corner of the
country to settlement
and growth.
Driving Cattle to Market
· After the Civil War, growing cities in the East
increased their demand for beef.
· Texas ranchers began to drive herds of longhorns
hundreds of miles north to the railroads, where they
were shipped east.
• Cowhands
learned their
trade from
Spanish
vaqueros.
· Cowhands
had to worry
about
stampedes,
cattle thieves,
and the dry,
hot weather.
· Cow towns developed near the railroads,
offering cowhands hotels, saloons, and
restaurants.
Abilene, Kansas (late 1800’s)
Caldwell,
Kansas
(1880’s)
Wichita, Kansas (1874)
Dodge City, Kansas, 1874
"Kansas has but one Dodge City, with a broad expanse of
territory sufficiently vast for an empire; we have only room
for one Dodge City; Dodge, a synonym for all that is wild,
reckless, and violent; Hell on the Plains."
-- A Kansas Newspaper in the 1870's
The Open Range
Cattle Boom
· Cattle
roamed free on the plains.
Cowboys at
the end of an
1897
roundup in
Ward
County,
Texas, pose
with their
herd of
almost 2,000
cattle.
· Ranchers
rounded them up twice a year
and branded newborn calves.
The
Cattle
Trails
* The spread of farming, as well as harsh weather,
destroyed the cattle boom by 1887.
Hundreds of miles
of barbed wire
were strung across
the state in the
1880s, forever
changing the
character of the
frontier and
bringing a measure
of management to
the cattle industry.
Barbed Wire
Joseph Glidden
Regional Population Distribution
by Race: 1900
Regional Population Distribution
by Race: 1900
Exoduster Homesteaders
The Buffalo Soldiers & the Indian Wars
The Buffalo Soldiers on the Great Plains
African American &
Chinese Populations:
1880-1900
Frontier Settlements: 1870-1890
1887
Land
Promotion
Poster
for the
Dakota
Territories
A Pioneer’s Sod House, SD
The Traditional View of the West
A Romantic View
William “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s Wild
West Show
“Buffalo Bill” Cody & Sitting Bull
Legendary Female Western Characters
Calamity Jane
Annie Oakley
Destruction of the Buffalo Herds
The near extinction of the buffalo.
Yellowstone National Park
First national park established
in 1872.
National Parks

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