|CENTRAL PACIFIC RAILROAD
Photographic History Museum
|“Lewis Clement had achieved
a triumph of the first magnitude in engineering. The Summit
Tunnel was 7,042 feet above the sea. This
was the highest point reached by the CP. The facings were off by
only two inches, a feat that could hardly be equaled in the twenty-first
century. Clement had done it with black powder, nitroglycerin, and
muscle power. He had not used electric or steam-driven drills, steam
engines to power scoop shovels, or any gas or electric-powered carts or
cars to haul out the broken granite. There were no robots, no mechanical
devices. Well over 95 percent of the work was done by the Chinese
men. They and their foremen and the bosses, Clement and Crocker
and Strobridge, had created
one of the greatest moments in American history.”
“More than a dozen tunnels were blasted through the granite mountains. Most were on curves, laid out by Lewis Clement. When the faces met, they were never more than an inch off line, showing the remarkable accuracy of his calculations and instrument work under the most difficult of circumstances. Van Nostrand’s Engineering Magazine said in 1870 that the undertaking was preposterous, but Clement did it.”
—Stephen E. Ambrose, “Nothing
Like It in the World
The idea for a transcontinental railroad "to shrink the continent and change the whole world" was first proposed by men of imagination in 1830. It wasn't until 1862 that Congress passed a bill authorizing such a venture. In 1869, after a long, bitter and often terrifying struggle against Indian attacks, brutal weather, floods, labor shortages, political chicanery, lawlessness and a war, the first transcontinental railroad finally became a reality. Now the way was open for vast expansion and social changes that would make America the industrial giant of the world. ... One of the great engineering feats of history and ... a fascinating chapter in the development of our country.
[After Rails Across the Continent: The Story of the First Transcontinental Railroad by Enid Johnson.] Text Courtesy Walt Winter.
An 1846 Cincinnati newspaper mocked the utopian claims that a railroad could "create settlements, commerce and wealth"; the project's supporters, the paper suggested, might as well be promising "to unite neighboring planets in our solar system and make them better acquainted with each other."
["Looking at the Transcontinental Railroad as the Internet of 1869" by Edward Rothstein, New York Times, December 11, 1999.] Text Courtesy David Bain. [Interview]
Photography was a critical marketing tool for financing with transcontinental railroad bonds – both the CPRR and UPRR hired photographers to document the progress of construction, producing the numerous stereoviews which now illustate this website. The camera equipment of the day was so large and heavy that a photo wagon was needed. Wet glass plate collodion negatives had to be produced in the field, required long exposures, and albumen paper required 20 minutes in sunlight to make photo prints. Today's digital cameras by comparison are a marvel — to select the best camera to create photographs for the CPRR Museum website, we found invaluable the extensive reviews on a great site for digital cameras, Digital Camera HQ.
|“The Chinese made the roadbed and laid the track around Cape Horn.
this took until the spring of 1866, it was not as time-consuming or difficult
as had been feared. Still it remains one of the best known of all
the labors on the Central Pacific, mainly because, unlike the work in
the tunnel, it makes for a spectacular
diorama. As well it should. Hanging from those [ropes], drilling
holes in the cliff, placing the fuses, and getting hauled up was a spectacular
piece of work. The white laborers couldn't do it. The Chinese
could, if not as a matter of course, then quickly and — at least they
made it look this way — easily. Young Lewis
Clement did the surveying and then took charge of overseeing the railroad
engineering at Cape Horn.
“What Clement planned and the Chinese made became one of the grandest sights to be seen along the entire Central Pacific line. Trains would halt there so tourists could get out of their cars to gasp and gape at the gorge and the grade.”
—Stephen E. Ambrose, “Nothing
Like It in the World
Click images to view the two parts of the movie. Courtesy Internet Movie Archive.
||CENTRAL PACIFIC RAILROAD
Photographic History Museum (CPRR.org)
to Live Sierra Nevada Mountains Railroad Radio Communications (UP Roseville
Scanner). [Listen with iTunes]
Audio Stream is broadcasting courtesy of Steven Reynolds of Sacramento, California and RailroadRadio.net.
|Macintosh creator Jef Raskin's book shows how the Web, computers, and information appliances can be made much easier to learn and use! A COMPUTER SCIENCE MUST READ.|
Track workers on a hand car in the Utah desert.
(E. & H.T. Anthony Stereoview #7148.) See enlargement and "3D" Stereo.
Echo Canyon Utah with the rock that A. J. Russell labeled "Great Eastern" in the background. [Digital image restoration of railroad pictures.]
The hand hewn ties are another giveaway that it's on the Union Pacific Railroad.
Location identified courtesy Don D. Snoddy, UPRR.
National Stereoscopic Association
MUSEUM ENTRANCE – Visit the Exhibits
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