November 23, 2005
Nevada's Online State News Journal
[From The History of Nevada, edited by Sam P. Davis, vol. I (1912)]
Transportation was always an important subject in Nevada. It was a most important subject in the early days of the State and in the days when Nevada was a territory. As early as 1851 there was a mail route across the State, service being once each month. The Pioneer Stage Line was organized in 1857 and this was the institution of a scheduled passenger and mail traffic. In 1860, Wells, Fargo and Company bought out other stage lines and then had control of the entire business from Sacramento to Salt Lake City. In 1861 a daily overland mail stage business was established. As early as 1860 an application was made for a railroad franchise from Carson City to Virginia City, the petitioner being Leonard L. Treadwell. Several projects were before the State's first legislature, which granted charters to four companies, namely, the Nevada Railroad Company, with the privilege of constructing a road from the western to the eastern boundary; to Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, Collis P. Huntington, Lucius A. Booth, Mark Hopkins, Theodore D. Judah, James Bailey and Samuel Silliman; the Virginia City and Washoe Company; Virginia, Carson and Truckee Company ; and the Esmeralda and Walker River Company. Only the first of these roads was built under these legislative grants.
So eager were the people of the West for cheap and rapid means of transportation to and from California gold fields and Nevada's silver fields, that in the first State constitution was introduced a clause permitting the legislature to give $3,000,000 in bonds to the first company that should connect Nevada with navigable waters. This constitution was rejected, however, although the clause was not stricken out. It was at this period that the Central Pacific was building eastward from Sacramento and the engineers were making one of the greatest fights in history in an effort to conquer the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
The actual race in the construction of a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean occurred in Nevada. The Pacific Railroad
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Bill, which authorized the construction of the railroad, provided that the Union Pacific build westward and that the Central Pacific build eastward.
With every mile constructed went many acres of Government land, so the further east the Central Pacific was built the more land it received. The further west the Union Pacific was built the more land was granted it.
All the time the Pacific Railroad Bill was pending before the legislators at Washington, and during a great part of the time that the actual construction work was being pushed from both ends toward the centre, the United States was in the throes of the great Civil war.
The credit for the passage of the Pacific Railroad Bill, which gave to Nevada its first railroad—and its only railroad for thirty years—is probably due more to the persistence of the late Theodore D. Judah than to any other man, Judah was an engineer of note before he went to California. He had had prominent engineering jobs on several eastern railroads and a part of the Erie Canal was constructed under his supervision. He was the first engineer of railway enterprises in California, and, after completing the Sacramento Valley road, a distance of thirty-two miles between Sacramento and Folsom, he undertook to interest the capitalists of Sacramento and San Francisco in a transcontinental railroad. His entire time from 1856 to 1859 was spent in Washington in an effort to put through a bill making grants for railroad purposes. The attention of Congress was too much taken up with sectional controversies that led up to the War of the Rebellion, however, at that time, and he returned to San Francisco in the latter part of 1859 and organized the Pacific Railroad Convention. This gathering comprised some of the most prominent and wealthy men of the western States and territories.
Judah explained the situation to this convention thoroughly. It was due to the fullness, clearness and satisfactory information furnished by him that the convention declared its preference among the several routes mentioned for that over which the Central Pacific Railroad was afterward built. Following the convention he spent the next two years in Washington, but returned unsuccessful and prevailed upon Collis P. Huntington, Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins and Charles Crocker to
organize the Central Pacific Railroad of California. It was the first day of July, 1862, before he was successful at the National capital.
The traffic from the silver mines of Nevada was the principal object that induced the backers of the Central Pacific to devote their fortunes and energies to this enterprise. In a report to the railroad convention Judah gave it as his opinion, and as the opinion of other engineers associated with him, that by far the most important business to have been performed was the return freight of silver ore to Sacramento and San Francisco. Only the high grade ore was being worked. Judah felt that the railroad would make it possible for the handling of the middle grade ores. In one part of this report, he said
"The business that such a road will perform will necessarily be large ; the present business transacted by teams must be seen to be appreciated. It is not unusual to meet or pass three hundred loaded teams, en route for Washoe, in a day, loaded with an average of two and one-half tons." Thus, the silver mines of Nevada were one of the incentives for the routing of the Central Pacific straight across the middle of the State. The original route, as surveyed and recommended by Judah is the route of the Southern Pacific today. He had no hand in the actual construction work, having died from Panama fever in November, 1863, in New York. Still, he saw a part of the heavy construction work across the Sierra Nevada Mountains completed.
Nevada was the natural route of a transcontinental railroad. Besides being the natural route, it had just the sort of assets that were required for the development of the west. It needed the railroad for transportation purposes just as much as the railroad needed it for a short and easy route and for traffic. Nevada, when the first railroad surveys were made across the State, was absolutely barren except for two or three places at which were Indians or army posts. In his annual report to the stockholders of the Central Pacific for 1872, Leland Stanford, president, said:
"It is a suggestive fact, that between the Truckee and Salt Lake valleys, a distance of nearly six hundred miles, where now there is a business such as demands lateral lines of railroads for its accommodation, there lived at the time when your road was commenced but one white man."
The reports of all engineers was to the effect that Nevada was to fur-
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nish an important part of the railroad's revenue. The topography of the country was such that the business was compelled to naturally flow, and find its outlet over, this road. It has turned out to be that way.
There was a considerable effort made in different localities to hinder the construction of the Central Pacific. It came from different sources. One of the annoying sources was from the owners of toll roads and from owners of stage and freight lines, who realized that their business, which had been highly profitable, would be hurt by the operation of a railroad, which would assure speed in delivery of freight and would cut down the high tariffs that were being charged by the owners of teams. Many different methods were used in this effort to discourage the builders and backers of the project. The men employed on the construction were even kidnapped. Across Nevada nearly all of the real construction work was performed by Chinese, imported for just that purpose. As soon as the Central Pacific reached the California-Nevada State line it started across Nevada in an effort to beat the Union Pacific into the Salt Lake Valley. In addition to the Government grant of land and bonds based on mileage, there was the traffic of the Mormon country and Salt Lake City at stake. Besides this, it was readily seen that the line having the greatest haul would be correspondingly benefited when it came to subdividing earnings on trans-continental business. The sage brush plains of Nevada were the scene of the actual contest.
In the early part of 1869, rails of both the Central Pacific and Union Pacific were being laid at the rate of from six to ten miles a day. When the two tracks came together, the Central Pacific had nearly sixty miles of grading done parallel to the Union Pacific track, while the Union Pacific had located their line to the California State line and most of the grading was done as far west as Humboldt, Nevada. The laying of the last rail and the driving of the last spike occurred on May 10, at Promontory Point, Utah, in sight of Great Salt Lake, 'mid the cheering of thousands of spectators, mostly members of the various construction camps of both roads. Celebrations of the linking of the east and west were had in a hundred of the principal cities of the country on that same evening. Eventually the Central Pacific purchased the Union Pacific line from Promontory to Ogden and the latter place has been the Central Pacific terminal ever since.
Following the construction of the Central Pacific, the Virginia and Truckee Railroad was built; then the Nevada Central, from Battle Mountain to Austin; the Eureka and Palisade; Eureka and Ruby Hill; Pioche and Bullionville; Carson and Colorado; Nevada and Oregon narrow gauge, and in later years many other small roads, all of which act as feeders to the Central Pacific. Nevada today is a network of railroads, practically all of them depending a great deal on the mining industry. Although the mining industry was the principal attraction to the railroads in the early days of the State and notwithstanding the fact that mines are the principal industry of the State today, agriculture has not been and is not overlooked by the transportation lines that run through the State. The reports of the land commissioners of the Central Pacific all contained paragraphs to the effect that land in Nevada was good if water could be supplied. This water development has been slow, but it is gradually being found in all parts of the State—although it is necessary to bore unusually deep wells in some parts—and the railroads in another decade will look upon Nevada as a big shipper of agricultural products as well as of minerals.
Now there is hardly a town in Nevada with a population of 300, save possibly a few of the newest mining camps, which is not reached by rail. When it is realized that this State covers an area of more than 100,000 square miles, this statement is all the more interesting.
Nor is the work of construction lagging. It is being forced ahead as rapidly as ever. Double tracking is in progress both eastward and westward across the State. In the California and Oregon regions that are tributary to Nevada heavy work is being done by the railroads and another line to tap the southern part of Idaho has recently been a matter of much comment. The building of these roads assures the owners of mines containing ores that cannot be worked on the ground, that they may ship to the smelters. It also makes easy the marketing of ranch and range products and assists in settling up regions that have been untenanted since the dawn of creation. Nevada depends almost entirely upon its railroads for its prosperity. Without them this State would soon become almost destitute of population.
VIRGINIA AND TRUCKEE RAILROAD COMPANY
was organized March 2, 1868, with a capital of $3,000,000. Thomas
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Sunderland being its first president, was succeeded by William Sharon, January 9, 1869. Under the active management of H. M. Yerington, general superintendent, ground was broken February 18, 1869, and the road between Carson City and Virginia City completed November 12, 1869. Construction of the line from Reno to Steamboat was next undertaken and completed November 7, 1871, and the connecting link, Steamboat to Carson City, August 24, 1872, the last spike being driven on that day at a point one mile west from Carson City, making the total distance, Reno to Virginia City, 52.20 miles; regular train service was inaugurated September 19 of same year. December 7, 1872, construction of the company's round house and machine shops at Carson City was commenced and the following week work was also progressing on its telegraph line. July 20, 1874, the capital stock of the company was increased to $6,000,000, but was subsequently decreased to $5,000,000, May 10, 1887. June 4, 1875, D. O. Mills was elected president of the corporation. The years from 1876 to 1878 were the most prosperous in the company's history, requiring some thirty regular trains daily to handle the traffic and at times as many as forty-eight and fifty trains were in service during the day, from 1879 business began to decrease. July 12, 1900, the principal office of the company was changed from Virginia City to Carson City.
June 24, 1904, the company disposed of all its property and franchises, in consideration of the delivery to it of the entire capital stock of the Virginia and Truckee Railway, incorporated under the laws of Nevada, for $5,000,000. D. O. Mills was elected president of the corporation and H. M. Yerington, vice-president and general manager. September 10, 1905, ground was broken for an extension of the road to Carson Valley and was completed to Minden, a distance of 15.28 miles, June 16, 1906. March 18, 1910, Ogden Mills was elected president to fill the vacancy, occasioned by the death of D. O. Mills, and November 26, 190, A. M. Ardery was appointed vice-president and general manager to succeed, H. M. Yerington, deceased, and December 10, 1910, was elected to that position.
EUREKA NEVADA RAILWAY
1876.—The original bonded indebtedness of the Eureka and Palisade Railroad Company, created September 18, 1876, was $1,000,000. 1900.--
On account of default in payment of interest on outstanding bonds and of indebtedness otherwise to the amount of $409,500, the road went into the hands of a receiver. 1902.—The holders of the $1,000,000 bond issue took over the property and reorganized, a corporation under the name of the Eureka and Palisade Railway Company, in which they took stock in lieu of the $1,000,000 bond issue to the amount of $300,000, being the total capital stock of said corporation. 1910.—Thereafter on the 24th day of October, 1910, in the Circuit Court of the United States, Ninth Circuit, in and for the District of Nevada, an order was issued directing a special master to effect a sale of all the property of said Eureka and Palisade Railroad Company to satisfy a judgment therein obtained against said railway, and thereafter Mr. George Whittell himself and others, the owners of more than one-half of the original $1,000,000 bond issue, did purchase from the purchaser of the Eureka and Palisade Railway at said sale indicated on the 24th day of October, 1910, on the payment of $86,345.38, and thereafter said George Whittell did assign all his right, title and interest in and to said property to the Eureka Nevada Railway Company.
As previously advised, the Eureka and Palisade road was washed out in the flood of April, 1910. The cost to the present owners (Eureka Nevada Railway Co.) of rehabilitating the line and putting it in shape for the resumption of operations was $62,199.01. Reconstruction of the line was completed in May, 1912. Lease and actual operation of the reconstructed line was effected by the Nevada Transportation Company, under date of May 6, 1912.
The capital stock of the Eureka Nevada Railway is $500,000.
During the year 1912, that is from May 6, 1912, to December 31, 1912, the gross income of the Eureka Nevada Railway, under operation by the Nevada Transportation Company, was $43,909.30, exclusive of rentals for lease of road. The total operating expenses and taxes for the same period was $31,163.38, The $43,909.30 represents gross income operations.
NEVADA NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY.
Mr. M. L. Requa, at one time managing the Eureka and Palisade Railroad, had his attention called to the Ruth and Eureka mines here and he made several trips to examine the properties, which examinations
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finally resulted in his assuming to finance the properties. That a railroad was an absolute necessity was a foregone conclusion, and he attempted to negotiate an agreement with the Southern Pacific Company, whereby they would build the line. That company, however, refused to expend the money necessary to reach mines so far distant (some 150 miles) from their own property. He then attempted to raise sufficient funds to build a narrow gauge, but before realizing the necessary funds, he put his engineers in the field and ran a preliminary survey to Ely, starting from what is now known as Cobre, on the Southern Pacific.
He was unsuccessful in securing money to build the narrow gauge and finally presented the whole matter to the Guggenheim Exploration Company, of New York City. They became somewhat interested and sent engineers on several occasions to examine the properties. The reports received indicated there were great possibilities in the mines, and the Exploration Company took over the construction of the railroad and the operation of the mines, and instead of the proposed narrow gauge, construction on a standard gauge line was started in the year 1905, and completed as far south as Currie, Nev., on July 1, 1906, and the first mixed train was run from Cobre to Currie on July 2, 1906. On July 17, 1096, the first mixed train was run from Cobre to Cherry Creek, and on September 29, 1906, the first passenger train from Cobre to Ely. Regular passenger trains were put on between Cobre and Ely October 1, 1906, and freight service between the points was put in commission on October 12, same year.
The road from Cobre practically divides Goshute Valley as far south as Currie (63 miles) and passing through a canyon south of Currie enters Steptoe Valley, confining itself to the centre of the valley until it reaches a point practically opposite Ely, where it makes a curve in westerly direction and enters the town of Ely, 140.4 miles distant from Cobre.
Prior to the completion of the main line between Cobre and Ely, construction was under way on branch lines: McGill Junction to McGill, location of the Steptoe Valley Smelting and Mining Company's big smelter and concentrator, and from Hiline Junction to McGill, the latter being used exclusively for ore traffic. In addition there had been started from Ely City (now East Ely) a line, known as the "Branch Ore Line," between East Ely and the mines at Copper Flat, Star Pointer, Kimberly
and Veteran. This portion of the road was completed about April 1, 1908, and the first ten cars of ore from the Eureka Copper Flat mine moved to McGill concentrator April 15, 1908, and the first ten cars of ore from Veteran mine was shipped to the concentrator May 5, 1908.
This company is now handling daily from eight to ten thousand tons of porphyry ore between the mines and the concentrator and is running thirty-six scheduled suburban trains between the mines, Ely and McGill. This suburban service was put in effect between Ely and McGill on February 9, 1908, and between Ely and the Veteran mine (Kimberly, Copper Flat, Star Pointer, etc,, being intermediate) July 15, 1908.
At the time Mr. Requa first became possessed of the mines in the Robinson District, there was a population of about 350 in what is now known as the Ely District. The first year (1907) the road was in operation it was estimated there were probably eight thousand people in the town of Ely. Today there are probably eight thousand people in the district, which covers the territory between McGill and Veteran-25 miles.
The general offices of the company are located at East Ely as is also the shops and terminal yards, the latter consisting of about 7.5 miles of track and occupying an area of seventy acres.
Main line mileage, 165; sidings and spurs, 22 1/2 miles.
THE NEVADA-CALIFORNIA-OREGON RAILWAY.
The present Nevada-California-Oregon Railway was first known as the Western Nevada Railroad, a corporation formed by John T. Davis, S. M. Holmes, A. J. Rhodes, James McMeshan and George L. Woods, for the purpose of developing Rhodes' salt marsh, an extensive salt deposit about nine miles northeast from Belleville, Esmeralda County, Nevada, 125 miles southeast from Reno, Washoe County, Nevada, by constructing from thence a railroad northerly via Wadsworth, a station on the Central Pacific Railroad, to the Oregon Line west of Goose Lake.
June 1, 1880, the incorporators and organization of the Western Nevada Railroad was abandoned and in its stead, the Nevada and Oregon Railroad Company was incorporated, with Messrs. A. J. Hatch, G. L. Woods, John A. Paxton, James McMeshan, C. A. Bragg, John Sunder-
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land and C. P. Soule, as directors. A. J. Hatch was president and William C. Starr, secretary. The object was to construct a railroad about three hundred miles long in divisions, with the section from Reno to Beckwith Pass designated as Reno Division.
The board in substance made and executed a contract with Moore, August 26, 1880, in which contract the company agreed to issue fifty-year eight per cent. mortgage bonds to the extent of, only $10,000 per mile.
On December 4, same year, the railroad company entered into a contract, in which it was stipulated that the Reno Division should be first constructed from Reno to Beckwith Pass. The abandonment of the southern terminus at salt marsh created internal antagonism, and while persisting importuning that followed, all those who had promised the original $100,000, local aid, that was required as a condition precedent to making binding the $100,000, which the eastern parties proposed contributing, increased largely the disaffection and ill feeling, followed by distrust, loss of confidence and enmity among the various interests, including directors and officers of the company with each other and with Moore.
Notwithstanding all the obstacles placed in Moore's way, he laid seventeen miles of track from Reno northerly, and provided certain rolling stock and materials, before he became insolvent and compelled, about November 16, 1881, to abandon his contracts and leave Nevada. The control of the company and road then fell on Hatch, who was president under direction of the board, and in accordance with Moore's contract, operated the road the best he could and succeeded in extending it thirty-one miles.
April 17, 1884, the road, franchise. etc., were sold. Moran Brothers being the purchasers, and on August 4, the directors of the company consented and approved of the deed, which was finally executed November 21, 1884, and the property passed over to Moran Brothers, and name changed to Nevada-California-Oregon Railway.
The road has been extended from time to time until it now reaches Lakeview, Oregon.
THE NEVADA CENTRAL RAILROAD
is a line ninety-three miles long, operating from Battle Mountain,
on the Southern Pacific, to Austin, its southern terminus, serving the mines at Austin and the rich agricultural and mining districts in Reese River Valley, Smoky Valley and the territory as far south as Berlin, Ione, Manhattan, Round Mountain and Milletts.
The road runs due south from Battle Mountain in almost a tangent through level desert country for forty-three miles, thence winding up through a picturesque canyon, and through fertile fields and well stocked ranges of many prosperous ranches to the foothills of the Toyabe Range. At this point in the valley the line turns abruptly and ascends the side hills to the town of Austin, an altitude of nearly 6,000 feet, and the geographical centre of the State of Nevada. Austin, itself, is a typically located mining town in a narrow canyon between two high mountains, being the old "Pony Canyon" in the trail of the Pony Express which operated mail service from the Missouri River to the Pacific Coast. This identical trail is now a part of the Coast-to-Coast automobile route adopted by all trans-continental tourists.
The Nevada Central Railway was completed February, 1880, in a blinding snow storm, the corporate city limits having been extended a couple of miles to enable the road to be completed into the town of Austin before the expiration of its charter. It was organized by some pioneers in Nevada mining to serve the mines at Austin and was built by General Ledlie, a prominent engineer of his day. It later became the property of the Union Pacific. In 1888 it was reorganized as the Nevada Central Railroad, and is now operated by some of the original incorporators. In 1910 the road suffered in common with all Nevada railroads from severe floods, being washed out from end to end, but was promptly rebuilt and was put in operation in exactly 100 days.
THE "SALT LAKE ROUTE."
One of the principal factors in the development of Southern Nevada has been the opening of that system of railways founded and built by Senator W. A. Clark, of Montana, of which the Salt Lake Route is the main line.
For years plans had been laid for the construction of an air line connecting Salt Lake City with Los Angeles, but none of these plans ever reached more than the "blue print" stage until Senator Clark saw the
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great possibilities of a railroad which would open up that vast and almost unknown country lying southwest from the Wasatch Mountains to the sea. No one, save a thorough western man, versed in the possibilities of a new and undeveloped region, could be brought to a realization of what the building of such a line meant to the country traversed and many builders had balked at the undertaking before the man from Montana looked over the field and found its promise good.
It was in 1902 that the first practical work of construction was begun and three years time had elapsed before the first trains moved between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. The main line of the system enters Nevada at Uvada and passes out of the State at Calada, with 214 miles of rails crossing Clark and Lincoln Counties.
The story of Senator Clark's railway system is also closely allied with that phenomenal mining development which has marked the last decade of Southern Nevada's history. Directly following the completion of the main line, work was commenced on a branch known as the Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad, which, leaving the main line at Las Vegas, runs north to the great mining camps of Nye and Esmeralda Counties. This branch was opened to Rhyolite in 1906 and to Goldfield in 1907, with a total present mileage of 198 miles, thus bringing the intervening territory into short-line communication with all Rocky Mountain and Pacific Coast points. At the same time another branch thirty miles long was constructed from Caliente, in Lincoln County, to the almost forgotten camp of Pioche.
The latest addition to the Salt Lake Route in Nevada is a branch reaching out southward from Moapa and extending twenty-two miles down the entire length of the Moapa Valley.
THE BARNWELL AND SEARCHLIGHT RAILWAY.
As early as the summer of 1902 the matter of connecting Searchlight with the main line of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, either by a line northerly from Ibis (formerly Ibex) or from Barnwell east was agitated, and a reconnaissance was made by Mr. R. B. Burns, then chief engineer of the Santa Fe Company. The town of Searchlight at that time had a population of about 500 people.
There was at that time in operation a stage line, two stages being run
to connect with each of the tri-weekly trains arriving at Barnwell from Goffs, where connection was made with the main line of the Santa Fe Company. One stage left about 10:30 a. m. (on the arrival of the train) and the other about 1 p. m., handling chiefly freight. About four hours was required to make the trip. Practically all the freight was brought in via Barnwell, though a little hauling was done from Ibis, and a narrow gauge line which the Quartette Company had built to the Colorado River (seventeen miles distant) was utilized to some extent, though river navigation was practicable only at high water.
In 1905 a daily stage line was inaugurated between Nippeno, on the Salt Lake line, and Searchlight, and efforts were made by Colonel Hopkins and his associates to secure funds for the construction of a line of railway over the same route. The Barnwell and Searchlight Railway Company was organized April 16, 1906, under the laws of the State of California, for the purpose of building this road, with a capital stock of $500,000, Mr. A. G. Wells (general manager of the Santa Fe Company at Los Angeles), being the first president. Doctor Hansen had invested some money for purchases of right of way, etc., in his projected Searchlight and Northern line, and as the proposed construction between Barnwell and Searchlight would make useless any outlet to the north, the Barnwell and Searchlight Company purchased from Doctor Hansen what right of way, station grounds, and miscellaneous property the Searchlight and Northern had acquired. Right of way for the remainder of the line to Barnwell, which did not lie upon Government land, was donated. The grading was completed November 1, 1906; track laying was accomplished by the forces of the Barnwell and Searchlight Company, Service between Barnwell and Mile 8 (from Barnwell) was inaugurated December 6, 1906. Severe cold weather and storms delayed track laying, but on January 30, 1907, train service was extended to Mile 11, and on April 1, 1907, into Searchlight, a distance of twenty-three miles from Barnwell. On April 7, 1907, the line was leased to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company, and was operated by the latter company until December 28, 1911, when all property of the Barnwell and Searchlight Company was sold to the California, Arizona and Santa Fe Railway Company.
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THE NEVADA COPPER BELT RAILROAD CO.
Some seven or eight years ago, a coterie of mining men, engaged in the mining of copper, having operated extensively heretofore in Utah and other parts of the West, had their attention called, at that time, to the copper deposits in the Yerington and Mason mining district. Then, little was known of the tremendous proportions of that section, except that the Ludwig, Bluestone and some other properties had been, in days gone by, some thirty or forty years ago, shippers of high grade copper ore. The calling of the attention of these men resulted in one of the best properties being taken over and rapid development started.
Among those most active was Capt. J. R. DeLamar, who now owns the Bluestone, and the Gunn, Thompson Company, of New York and Salt Lake City, who control what is known as the Mason Valley Mines Company, which embraces what is known as the Spragg Group, and A. J. Orem and Company and their associates, of Salt Lake City and Boston, who control and operate the Nevada Douglas Copper Co., whose holdings comprise the Douglas, Ludwig and Amalgamated groups, as well as the Nevada Copper Belt Railroad.
Active development work had been carried on in these properties and others of lesser importance, for four or five years prior to January 1, 1912, until large tonnages were developed and blocked out, demonstrating conclusively not only the need, but the absolute necessity of both transportation facilities connecting the copper camps with the outside world, and production facilities for reducing the ore to matte or blister copper, in the district without having to figure against a long haul to the then nearest smelting plant—both the Nevada Douglas Copper Company and the Mason Valley Mines Company having reached a point in their career, where in order that some adequate return for the large amount of money and energy expended might be obtained, it seemed necessary that each of these companies provide themselves with both transportation and production facilities. The need of each became common ground, resulting in an understanding that one should build a smelting plant, and the other a railroad, and each in turn would patronize the other. The agreement resulted in the beginning of construction of the Mason Valley Mines Company's new modern 1,000-ton smelting
plant, located at Thompson, Nevada, some three miles distant from Wabuska, a station on the Southern Pacific Company's line.
The Nevada Copper Belt Railroad Company, controlled by the Nevada Douglas Copper Company's interests, as indicated above, started construction of their railroad, traversing not only the entire mineralized area of this section, but a large agricultural territory as well, known as Mason and Smith Valleys, began building their forty-two miles of railroad in the fall of 1909, which was successfully completed and in full operation, September, 1911. The line is well equipped and standard gauge, fully prepared to handle 2,000 tons of ore or more and other products daily, has forty-five steel ore cars, of fifty-ton capacity, battleship type, which have been provided exclusively for ore hauling from the various mines to the smelting plant, at Thompson.
The first twenty-seven miles of the road are in Mason Valley, one of the largest and most fertile sections of the State of Nevada. The line then runs through what is known as Walker River Canyon into Smith Valley, near the California border. This valley is equal in area and agricultural developments to Mason Valley. Both valleys are watered by the Walker River, one of the best streams in the State.
Early in January, 1910, the Nevada Copper Belt began operation of trains between Wabuska and the towns of Yerington and Mason, a total distance of fourteen miles. In February, 1911, an additional fifteen miles, Mason to Hudson (the latter point is in Smith Valley), was opened for traffic.
The Nevada Copper Belt Railroad was constructed by the Mason and Douglas Construction Company, whose principal stockholders are the stockholders of the railroad. Two or three different lines were run, and the best, as viewed from several standpoints, selected. The possibilities of the line, as constructed, being very instrumental in helping to make of Mason and Smith Valleys a new inland empire, within the State of Nevada, determined the route through the valleys instead of the shortest line from the smelter to the mines.
The passenger equipment of the company consists of a sixty-nine passenger gasoline motor car, and a thirty-five passenger motor, together with a trailer. Service consists of three round trips daily between Mason
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and Wabuska, and one round trip daily between Mason and Ludwig, its terminus in Smith Valley.
TONOPAH AND GOLDFIELD RAILROAD COMPANY.
In the latter part of the year 1903 the development of ore bodies in the camp of Tonopah had advanced to such a state that it was deemed advisable to construct a line of railroad from a point of connection with the Carson and Colorado Railroad near Rhodes, Esmeralda County, Nevada, to the town of Tonopah, Nye County, Nevada, for the transportation of the ore from the mines to the smelters. The Tonopah Railroad Company was thereupon incorporated under the laws of the State of Nevada and an agreement entered into between it and the Tonopah Mining Company of Nevada, under which agreement the Tonopah Mining Company undertook to construct and equip a narrow gauge railroad into Tonopah. The construction of this road was commenced in the early part of 1904 and was completed in July of the same year. In December, 1904, it was deemed advisable, in order to meet the requirements of the increased traffic, to standardize the gauge of the Tonopah Railroad to conform with the gauge of its connections, which was thereupon done.
In the latter part of 1904, owing to the development of large bodies of ore in the camp of Goldfield, a syndicate was formed for the purpose of constructing a line of railroad from Goldfield to a point of connection with the Tonopah Railroad. The construction of this road was commenced in May, 1905, and completed in September, 1905, the road being operated under the name of the Goldfield Railroad Company.
On November I, 1905, the properties of the Tonopah Railroad Company and the Goldfield Railroad Company were taken over, under an agreement of association, amalgamation and consolidation, by the Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad Company, which company has since that time operated the line of railroad between Tonopah Junction and Goldfield.
TONOPAH AND TIDEWATER COMPANY.
The Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad Company was incorporated under the laws of the State of New Jersey in 1904, with F. M. Smith.
president; Dewitt Van Buskirk, vice-president, and C. B. Zabriskie, secretary and treasurer.
During the year 1905, Mr. John Ryan was appointed superintendent of construction, and Mr. C. M. Rasor, chief engineer, and under the management of these two men the road was constructed from Ludlow, California, to Gold Center, Nevada.
Grading was commenced at Ludlow on August 30, 1905, and the laying of steel commenced November 26, of the same year. The first locomotive arrived at Ludlow four days later.
February 20, 1906, the track was completed to Crucero, California, twenty-five and a half miles distant to where the T. & T. R. R. crosses the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad and a crossing was effected.
Rails were laid across the Nevada State line in the latter part of 1907; thence to Gold Center, and a connection was made with the Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad Company on October 30, 1907.
December 6, 1907, operation was commenced, trains running through from Ludlow to Tonopah—a traffic arrangement having been entered into with the Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad and Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad.
In May, 1908, the T. & T. R. R. acquired the Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad, and on July 19 commenced operation through to Goldfield with their own motive power and equipment—the Tonopah and Tidewater organization of officials handling both the T. & T. and B. G. lines. The two roads are still operating under the same conditions.
SILVER PEAK RAILROAD COMPANY.
The Silver Peak Railroad Company was incorporated under the laws of the State of Nevada on June 20, 1906, by M. L. Effpunger, R. J. Watson, C. J. Blumenthal, E. B. Cushman, Geo. A. Bartlett, Herbert W. Clarke, H. S. Crockett, J. H. Monteath, C. M. Hobbs and Lewis A. Parkhurst, and the following gentlemen were the first officers of the incorporation: E. B. Cushman, president; Geo. A. Bartlett, vice-president; M. L. Effinger, Secretary and treasurer. A. J. G. Logan was appointed chief engineer.
Construction work was started at once and trains were running by the
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latter part of October, 1906, connecting the town of Blair with Blair Junction, on the Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad, a distance of seventeen and a half miles.
THE WESTERN PACIFIC RAILWAY.
A. W. Keddie, one of the few survivors of the generation building the first trans-continental line, as an old man, stood on the steps of the city hall at Quincy, Cal., and made the welcoming speech to the first passenger train to run through the famous Feather River canyon on the new Western Pacific.
His dream of a half century ago had come true, and the old engineer's voice broke as he told of the ignominious rejection of his plans by the builders of that first railroad constructed across the precipitous and forbidding Sierra Nevada.
But if Keddie, the engineer, found the physical pathway for the latest, and for many years to come probably the last of the trans-continental lines, it was E. T. Jeffery who found the financial resources which are the vital element of every great undertaking.
Mr. Jeffery was elected president of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Company on September 30, 1891. The system then comprised about 1,600 miles, with its western terminus at Grand Junction, Colo., about 250 miles from Denver.
In 1895 he commenced studying the extension of the system west, either by purchase of the Rio Grande Western Railway, extending from Grand Junction to Salt Lake City and Ogden, or by building an independent line to the points named, with the ultimate object, circumstances permitting, of extending to the Pacific Coast.
About ten years ago Mr. Jeffery negotiated for the purchase of the Rio Grande Western, having in the meantime had private reconnaissances made for a Pacific Coast extension. In 1903 he began taking necessary steps, confidentially, in California for securing control of Beckwourth Pass (5,000 feet above sea level) and Feather River canyon, between the pass and Oroville, Cal.
In 1905 Mr. Jeffery negotiated with bankers the sale of $50,000,000 Western Pacific five per cent. first mortgage gold bonds, and under the
mortgage deposited the proceeds at interest with responsible depositaries in New York and other financial centres.
Soon thereafter he let to lowest responsible bidders the greater portion of construction work of the Western Pacific Railroad, and began securing ample terminals in San Francisco and Oakland, Cal.
The enterprise was delayed by the great San Francisco earthquake and fire; also by the financial panic of the latter part of 1907 and first half of 1908, although work was carried on continuously with diminished monthly expenditures.
In 1908 Mr. Jeffery perfected a general financial plan for the Denver and Rio Grande in the form of a first and refunding mortgage for $150,000,000, of which about $18,000,000 could be applied to completion of the Western Pacific by the purchase of second mortgage bonds of that company at seventy-five per cent. face value, under certain contracts entered into between the Denver and Rio Grande and Western Pacific companies in 1905. In the latter part of 1909 he sold 40,000 shares of the preferred stock of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Company for providing further funds for Western Pacific, without adding to the fixed charges on the Denver and Rio Grande—a remarkable financial achievement, considering all conditions.
The roughest and most picturesque of the canyons of the Feather River, the one known as the North Fork, was selected by the new Western Pacific as its gateway into the valleys of the central portion of the Golden State. The pass leading to it was one of the lowest of the Sierra Nevada. With a tunnel about 6,000 feet long, this pass was crossed at an elevation of a little over 5,000 feet. Then the engineers laying the lines ran them to the headwaters of the Feather River, famous from the days of the gold excitement in California history.
There followed one of the most exacting pieces of railroad engineering to be found anywhere. The engineers were under imperative orders that they must not lay out grades over one per cent. At no point through the one hundred and fifty miles of canyon before them must the track drop over fifty-two feet to the mile.
To accomplish their aim the engineers at times cut their lines in solid rock hundreds of feet above the river. Again, the tracks are only just
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high enough to escape the torrential current of the river, when the river rises forty-five to fifty feet over night.
At many points on the line of the new Western Pacific Railroad there was not room enough in the canyon for both river and railroad, and solid walls of masonry had to be built to carry the tracks above the stream. At other points the sharp curves in the canyon have sent the tracks back and forth from one side to the other on steel bridges and high trestles.
In building the line, material and workmen frequently had to be let down the sides of the canyon by ropes hundreds of feet in length, to start construction on new sections. Wagon roads are everywhere impossible.
At last, after endless turnings and twists in fighting its way through one hundred and fifty miles of the canyon, the tracks come out into the broad valley at Oroville, over which, for countless ages, the Feather River has poured debris from its mountain fastnesses.
In startling contrast to this long stretch of canyon scenery is the great salt desert through which the new road runs after leaving Salt Lake City. This desert is sixty miles long and fifteen miles wide, composed of rock-salt ninety-seven per cent. pure.
Right through the centre of it the engineers of the road ran their lines, and for forty-six miles there is not a curve in the tracks. The ties are laid on a bed of solid salt, two or three feet above the level of the plain. The salt looks like a field of ice and snow, and it is difficult for the traveler to realize that his train is not passing through a wintry scene of the far North.
When the engineers laid out the line they followed the same course in crossing the southern end of Great Salt Lake. For years that mysterious body of water had been drying up. Its waters receded every season hundreds of feet, and it was predicted that before many years Great Salt Lake would have disappeared. And so with the utmost confidence the engineers laid their tracks over its old bed.
Then nature changed its mind in regard to drying up the great lake. It sent a flood of water into it from somewhere, and soon the waters came up around the-newly built tracks.
Then one day there came a furious storm from the north and when
it was over there were many miles of the new tracks, not yet tested by other than construction trains, scattered and twisted amid the saline scenery. When this track was rebuilt the engineers saw that it was protected this time by countless trainloads of broken rock dumped on either side of the tracks.
The first passenger train was sent over the new transcontinental road, the Western Pacific, August 20, 1910. Passing through an undeveloped region most of the way from Salt Lake City to San Francisco.
The length of the Western Pacific from Salt Lake City to San Francisco is 927 miles, including four miles of ferry from Oakland to San Francisco. It crosses Nevada in its most populous section, passes into California and reaches San Francisco by way of Oroville, Marysville, Sacramento, Stockton and Oakland.
The Western Pacific extends through a section of the country that in many parts has received no addition to its transportation agencies since the first Pacific road was opened forty years ago. Its remarkable features are low grades, permanent construction and freedom from snow drifts.
THE RAILROAD COMMISSION.
The Railroad Commission of Nevada is one of the newer branches of the State government. It was created under the provisions of an Act of the Legislature, approved March 5, 1907, and contained in the special laws of that year, beginning at page 73.
The Commission consists of three members. They are appointed by the Railroad Board, consisting of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General. The three Commissioners first appointed were H. F. Bartine, for a term of two years ; Henry Thurtell, for a term of three years, and J. F. Shaughnessy, for a term of four years. This arrangement was made in order that the term of one Commissioner might expire each year, when a successor could be appointed for the term of three years, the regular term contemplated by the law.
At the end of two years, Commissioner Bartine was reappointed to succeed himself. At the expiration of three years, Commissioner Thurtell was likewise reappointed, and at the close of his four-year term, Commissioner Shaughnessy was reappointed for the regular term of three years.
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On January 15, 1911, Commissioner Thurtell resigned to accept a position with the Interstate Commerce Commission, and on the following day, Mr. W. H. Simmons, of Reno, Nevada, was appointed Commissioner for the unexpired term.
On the first Monday of January, 1912, Commissioner Bartine was reappointed for another three-year term, beginning on the first Monday in February, 1912.
On March 27, 1911, the Railroad Commission law was amended so as to provide for a Chief Commissioner, who is to be chairman and who is also to be an attorney well versed in railroad law; a First Associate Commissioner, who must be a practical railroad man, and a Second Associate Commissioner, who must be a business man having a general knowledge of fares and freights, tolls and charges as levied by common carriers coming within the meaning of the term "railroad" as defined by law. This made no change in the personnel of the Commission. Commissioner Bartine became Chief Commissioner and chairman; Commissioner Shaughnessy became First Associate Commissioner, and Commissioner Simmons became Second Associate Commissioner, but all having the same voice and vote.
From its first organization, Mr. Edgar H. Walker has been secretary of the Commission, and since January 20, 1912, Mr. W. K. Freudenberger has been engineer, both of these officials being appointed by the Commission.
The creation of the Railroad Commission was prompted both by the progressive legislative spirit of the age, and by the transportation conditions existing in this State. Nevada is one of the so-called intermountain States, which lie between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevadas.
The Commission has been of the greatest possible service to the State of Nevada, and its rulings on railroad cases have been quoted all over the Union. It has dealt with great fairness, and in none of the cases submitted for its consideration, has it been charged with bias either way.
HISTORY OF OLD NO. 4.
This old locomotive was built in Norfolk, Va., in 1865, and it was "set up" by the Risdon Iron Works, of San Francisco, after its arrival "around the Horn." It belonged to the old Central Pacific Railroad
Company and was named either "Governor Stanford" or "T. R. Judah," probably the latter, as the Stanford was retained in the service of the company at an earlier date than this No. 4, according to the records.
The engine was used in 1868 and the following year by Charles Crocker and other officials in Nevada and California, during the construction period of that line. Tom J. Griffin, the old engineer who presided at the throttle in those days, from whom most of this information is gleaned, thinks she was the first locomotive to cross the Summit. And that of itself is ample warrant for presenting her portrait here. She was one of three in use at that time, the "C. P. Huntington" and the "Governor Sanford" being the other two. All were used mainly for the transportation of the officials to different points in the construction work, and at times also for hauling the "pay cars." In the early 80's this engine was still in service from the old Haight Street ball grounds, at the end of the Haight Street car line, in San Francisco, to the Cliff House. After that she became the property of the Stockton and Tesla Coal Company. Previous to this, however, she was in the possession of a machine shop in Stockton. It was from this company that Captain Overton, in 1900, then manager of the Sierra Nevada Wood and Lumber Company, purchased the historic old engine for which he paid $1,500. She proved entirely inadequate for that service, however, and after being equipped with "air" and "got ready for the road" she worked only eleven days.
Mr. Griffin says "the last crew to run her beside myself as engineer, was A. G. Ticknor as fireman, and Lance Thompson as brakeman. And when I say that it was with good graces that we run her to the old spur track or "boneyard," as the railway vernacular has it, I would be stating it mildly. She still remains where we left her, unless recently removed, and this picture was taken on the scene of her last resting place. She should be cared for, as she is now fast becoming historical. Such a comparison of motive power requirements of the long ago with those of today would show the wonderful progress in railroading during the past half century.