The difficulties at the Hernden House, heretofore alluded to, were amicably arranged on the Monday following our arrival from the Rocky Mountains; and Mrs. Brownson, the new lessee, was fully installed in quiet possession.
A favored few of the guests were allowed to retain our rooms in the gloomy, half-deserted house; and vegetate, as best we could, among the restaurants, until the hotel could be renovated and refurnished.
Mrs. Brownson will not only prove herself to be a public benefactor, but do much towards establishing the doctrine of the social and business equality, and vested rights, of women, if she succeeds in the hazardous undertaking of keeping a good hotel. She certainly has the best wishes of her numerous friends in the town, as well as of the railroad people and travelling public generally.
But the city of Omaha should boast of several first-class hotels. The town is growing, and will continue to grow rapidly. It has the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific Railroad; and is the half-way point between Chicago and the Rocky Mountains. No finer site was
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Having received orders to remain for the present at Omaha, I was very glad of an opportunity, when other duties would permit, of accompanying my friend Collins on his hunting expeditions to the Florence lakes, a few miles above Omaha, where fat wild geese and ducks did much abound. And here I must be permitted to say, that a young wild goose, when cooked under the supervision of Mrs. Collins, is the finest eating of the feathered game kind that I ever tasted.
My friend Major Bent would sometimes join us in these excursions, and then we would be sure to return with enough game to supply our restaurant table for one or two days.
Another pleasant incident, in this somewhat dull and monotonous period of my Western sojourn, was the advent of Messrs. Tappen, Patrick and Brown, heads of the freight and passenger departments of that "Great connecting link," the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, who tarried a few days at Council Bluffs and Omaha, as they were passing on their way to Denver, for the pur-
pose of establishing offices, and making other business arrangements in connection with their road, and its far-reaching Western tributaries.
As they started westward, on the morning of the 17th October, in a special train laden with demijohns, cases, canned meats, fruits and pickles, rolls of buffalo robes and blankets; together with almost any number of breechloading carbines and revolvers, one would think that they expected to spend at least six months among savage beasts and Indians, before returning to the land of civilization.
When the train was about starting from the depot at Omaha, Mr. Tappen was loudly called upon by his friends who remained behind, for a few parting words. Upon which he promptly made his appearance upon the rear platform, raised his hat, bowed gracefully to the audience, steadied himself by a firm hold upon the railing, and spoke substantially as follows:
"FELLOW-CITIZENS: But a few short years ago, the spot on which my foot now rests, was part and parcel of a howling wilderness"—just here, the sudden starting of the train so disturbed the spot upon which the distinguished speaker's foot was resting, that he came near being thrown overboard; but, on recovering himself instantly, he proceeded with great composure to say:
"During a somewhat short but eventful life, I have held every position, from"—at this point, the train being fairly under way, it became quite difficult to hear distinctly, except the closing sentence, which was as follows:
"I leave the Great connecting link in your hands, while I proceed to swing around the"—the remainder of this
happy speech was lost; but the speaker evidently alluded to a curve in advance of the train.
The train soon disappeared, but the telegraph wires kept us continually posted, during the day, as to the progress of the party; and the nature of the despatches was such as to afford the most gratifying evidence of the expansive powers of the air and scenery west of the Missouri River, particularly when a party, like our friends, are borne for the first time with railroad speed along the broader expanse of the great Platte Valley, on their westward course to the Rocky Mountains.
The following specimens have fortunately been preserved :
FREMONT, 10:12 A.M.—"Green leaves grew where my hand now rests. Wild beasts roamed unmolested by the hand of man. More to come."
NORTH BEND, 10:35 A.M.—"The shrill whoop of the savage alone broke the solitude and silence of nature. It was at this epoch of our nation's existence, that two solitary horsemen might have been seen—To be continued."
COLUMBUS, 11:25 A.M.—"Or words to that effect. Conclusion."
By far the most exciting event of all, however, was the official announcement received on Thursday, October 18 that the great Pacific Railroad Excursion had reached Chicago, on its way westward from New York, and that it might be expected to arrive at Omaha on the following Monday morning.
The worthy Mayor immediately convened the Common Council; and the President of the Board of Trade
called that august body together at once, for the purpose of conferring upon the subject, and giving a proper reception to the distinguished strangers.
It was finally arranged that the freedom of the city should be tendered to the excursionists; and that a grand reception ball and supper should be given them at the Hernden House, on the evening of their arrival in town.
Before speaking further of this great excursion, it may be well to refer briefly to its objects, as well as to its immediate antecedents.
The public generally, is so ignorant respecting the identity of the many railroads in this country, which bear in some form the appellation of Pacific, that I will take the liberty of inserting the following letter written upon that subject, and published for general information, more than a year ago, in the National Intelligencer, at Washington.
The status of many of the roads referred to has undoubtedly become changed somewhat since the letter was written; but it is believed that it will be found substantially correct for our present purpose:—
Confused Ideas as to its Locality—Nine Different Pacific Railroads—Location and Present Condition of Each—Government Aid, etc.
So much doubt and confusion appears to exist in the minds of the people, and possibly of some members of Congress, in relation to the
locality, present condition, and future prospects of the Union Pacific Railroad, that, with your permission, I will endeavor to throw some light upon the subject.
There are, at the present time, no less than nine different projects, or organizations, known as Pacific railroads—and, consequently, when allusion is made to either one of these, it is erroneously, and sometimes quite injuriously, applied to the one great trunk line chartered by Congress for the purpose of constructing a railroad through the entire Territories of the United States, and thus connecting the railroads of the extreme Eastern and Western States in one continuous line across the continent.
In speaking of these different organizations, I shall refer to them in their proper geographical order, from the east and south to the west and north; and shall endeavor to confine myself to a simple and concise statement of facts:
1. The Pacific Railroad of Missouri, a State organization, extending from the city of St. Louis to the east line of Kansas, at or near Kansas City, a distance of 283 miles. This road is now completed and in operation.
2. The Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division, extending from the western terminus of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, at the eastern boundary of Kansas, to an intersection with the Union Pacific Railroad, "at a point on the one-hundredth meridian of longitude west from Greenwich, between the south margin of the Republican River and the north margin of the valley of the Platte River, in the Territory of Nebraska, at a point to be fixed by the President of the United States after actual surveys." The total distance is about 380 miles. This is also a State organization, and was formerly known as the "Leavenworth, Pawnee, and Western Railroad Company of Kansas;" but the Company, in 1863, assumed the name of "Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division," by which title it has since been recognized. This Company receives the same amount and kind of aid from the General Government as the Union Pacific Railroad, which, to avoid repetition, will be described in connection with that road. The laying of track was commenced in 1863, since which sixty-two miles have been completed, and the road is now open for use to Topeka, the capital of the State.
This Company is also required to "build a railroad from the city of Leavenworth, to unite with the main stem at or near the city of Lawrence; but to aid in the construction of said branch the said Com-
pany shall not be entitled to any bonds." This branch will be completed early next season.
3. The Central or Atchison Branch of the Union Pacific Railroad, extending from Atchison, on the Missouri river, in Kansas, to an intersection with the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division, in the valley of the Kansas River or Republican Fork. This Company by virtue of an assignment from the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad Company, receives the same aid from the Government as the Union Pacific Railroad for the first one hundred miles west of the Missouri River. The grading and mechanical work upon the first section of twenty miles is substantially completed, the iron on hand, and track-laying commenced. The second section of twenty miles is under contract to be completed by the first of May next. There is now a railroad connection from the east, via the Hannibal and St. Joseph, and Platte Country railroads, to a point on the east bank of the Missouri opposite Atchison.
4. The Union Pacific Railroad, extending from the western boundary of the State of Iowa, at Omaha, "to the western boundary of the Territory of Nevada, there to connect with the line of the Central Pacific Railroad Company of California," a distance of about sixteen hundred miles. The capital stock is one hundred million dollars. The organization is entirely the creation of Congress, and being located within the Territories, is not subject to any State or municipal regulations. To aid in its construction the Government grants "every alternate section of public land, designated by odd numbers, to the amount of ten alternate sections per mile, on each side of said railroad on the line thereof, and within the limits of twenty miles on each side of said road, not sold, reserved, or otherwise set aside by the United States, and to which a pre-emption or homestead claim may not have attached at the time the line of said road is definitely fixed." The law further provides that "said company shall designate the general route of said road, as near as may be, and shall file a map of the same in the Department of the Interior, whereupon the Secretary of the Interior shall cause the lands within twenty-five miles of said designated route or routes to be withdrawn from pre-emption, private entry, and sale; and when any portion of said route shall be finally located, the Secretary of the interior shall cause the said lands herein-before granted to be surveyed and set off as fast as may be necessary for the purposes herein named.
To aid further in the construction of this road, the law provides that as certain portions therein specified are fully completed and equipped, the Secretary of the Treasury shall "issue to said Company bonds of the United States of one thousand dollars each, payable in thirty years after date, bearing six per centum per annum interest (said interest payable semi-annually), which interest may be paid in United States Treasury notes, or any other money or currency which the United States have or shall declare lawful money and a legal tender," as follows: "For three hundred miles of said road, most mountainous and difficult of construction, to wit: One hundred and fifty miles westwardly from the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains, and one hundred and fifty miles eastwardly from the western base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, said points to be fixed by the President of the United States," forty-eight thousand dollars per mile ; and between the sections last named of one hundred and fifty miles each, thirty-two thousand dollars per mile; and for the entire balance of the road, sixteen thousand dollars per mile. These bonds constitute a second mortgage upon the whole line of the railroad, rolling stock, and fixtures, and "one-half of the compensation for services rendered for the Government shall be required to be applied to the payment of the bonds issued by the Government." The Company is also authorized to "issue their first mortgage bonds to an amount not exceeding the amount of the bonds of the United States, and of even tenor and date, time of maturity, rate and character of interest," with the Government bonds, "and the lien of the United States shall be subordinate to" these first mortgage bonds ; and it is also authorized to issue these bonds "to the extent of one hundred miles in advance of a continuous completed line of construction."
The work of construction has been materially hindered during the past year by the delay of the President of the United States in deciding upon a question of location near the eastern terminus. The laying of track was commenced in July last, and forty miles were completed and examined by the Government commissioners on the 6th instant. Since that time the track has been extended to Fremont, fifty-five miles from Omaha. The grading of the first one hundred and ten miles is now completed, and arrangements are perfected for opening one hundred miles to the public before the 4th of July next. The progress of the work is very much retarded and embarrassed by the want of an easterly railroad connection; but it is hoped that this will be remedied during the present year.
Large and commodious brick shops, engine and station houses have been constructed by the Company at the Eastern terminus of the road, and these will be repeated as often as may be necessary to operate the road successfully.
The surveys of several routes have been extended as far west as the meridian of Salt Lake City, and of one line to the Humboldt Valley; but the location cannot be regarded as definitely fixed beyond the first two hundred miles.
5. The Sioux City and Pacific Railroad, extending from Sioux City, Iowa, on the Missouri River, to a connection with the main line of the Union Pacific Railroad, "said point of junction to be fixed by the President of the United States, not further west than the one hundredth meridian of longitude aforesaid, and on the same terms and conditions as provided in this act" (approved July 1, 1862) "for the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad." This branch was originally to have been constructed by the Union Pacific Railroad Company; but the act of July 1, 1862, was amended by the act of July 2, 1864, so as to release the Union Pacific Company, and authorize the President of the United States to designate a Company to construct it upon the same terms and conditions as were previously granted to the Union Pacific Company, with an additional grant of "alternate sections of land for ten miles in width on each side of the same along the whole length of said branch." The President, on the 24th December, 1864, designated the "Sioux City and Pacific Railroad Company" for this purpose. The map designating the general route of the road was filed in the Department of the Interior, June 27, 1865. Nothing further has been done towards its construction.
6. The Central Pacific Railroad of California, extending "from the Pacific coast, at or near San Francisco or the navigable waters of the Sacramento River, to the eastern boundary of California." This is a State organization, but it receives from the General Government the same aid as the Union Pacific Railroad. It has also been authorized by Congress to extend its road one hundred and fifty miles eastward into Nevada, in case the Union Pacific Railroad is not completed to the State line when it arrives there. This Company has transferred to the Western Pacific Railroad Company the right to construct the road to the Pacific coast, and is now engaged in the construction of the line easterly from Sacramento to the State line, a distance of 164 miles. The laying of the track was commenced in June, 1864, and
56 miles of road have since been completed and accepted by the Government. Seventeen additional miles of grading are now completed and the balance of the grading is well under way. The line, as established by the Company, intersects the easterly boundary of California in the valley of the Truckee River.
7. The Western Pacific Railroad of California, extending from Sacramento to San Francisco, by way of San José, a distance of one hundred and seventy miles. This is also a State organization, and receives, through an assignment from the Central Pacific Railroad Company, which has received the sanction of Congress, the same aid from the Government as the Union and Central Pacific Companies. The line from San José to San Francisco, a distance of fifty miles, is completed. From San José eastward, twenty miles are about completed, and the iron for the balance of the distance to Sacramento is already purchased and going forward. The grading is entirely out of the way.
8. The Southern Pacific Railroad of California, extending from the bay of San Francisco to the port of San Diego, and thence to the east line of the State of California, a distance of about four hundred and twenty miles. Capital $30,000,000. This is a State organization, and receives no aid from the General Government. Very little, if any, work has been done up to the present time.
9. The Northern Pacific Railroad Company, extending from the head of Lake Superior to Puget Sound, "with a branch via the valley of the Columbia River to a point at or near Portland, in the State of Oregon." Capital stock $100,000,000. This Company was chartered by Congress in 1864. The Company receives from the Government "every alternate section of public land, not mineral, designated by odd numbers, to the amount of twenty alternate sections per mile on each side of said railroad line as said Company may adopt, through the Territories of the United States, and ten alternate sections per mile on each side of said railroad whenever it passes through any State, and whenever on the line thereof the United States have fulltitle not reserved, sold, granted, or otherwise appropriated, and free from pre-emption or other claims or rights at the time the line of said road is definitely fixed, and a plan thereof filed in the office of the Commissioner of the General Land Office; and whenever prior to that time any of said sections or parts of sections shall have been granted, sold, reserved, occupied by homestead settlers, or pre-empted or
otherwise disposed of, other lands shall be selected by said Company in lieu thereof, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, in alternate sections and designated by odd numbers, not more than ten miles beyond the limits of said alternate sections."
I am not aware that anything further than an organization of the Company has been effected up to the present time.
In addition to the above it may be proper to mention the old organization known as the Southern Pacific Railroad, which was intended to run from Memphis to San Diego, about which very little has been heard for some years.
The following speech of General Simpson, President of the Board of Government Commissioners (copied from the Chicago Tribune), delivered at Chicago, on the return of the excursionists, will also be found to contain much interesting and valuable, as well as later information upon this subject:—
MR. MAYOR, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:—
The interests of the Pacific Railroad have been ably presented by the gentlemen who have preceded me; but as there are some points upon which they have not touched, and it may be expected of me, as the President of the Board of Commissioners on the road and its branches east of the Rocky Mountains; and the officer to whom has been intrusted by the President of the United States the charge of the road and its branches, so far as concerns the General Government, to say something in this regard, I trust I shall be pardoned for making the following statement:—
Preliminary, however, to this, I cannot but generally descant upon the magnitude and importance of this great enterprise. If we take a railroad map of our country, we
cannot but be struck with the net of railroads which traverse our domain on the east side of the Missouri River, from Maine to Florida. This bird's-eye view immediately evolves the immense traffic, social comfort, and political homogeneity and harmony which these roads must develop and enforce; and not only so, it also discloses the wonderful progress which has been made in bringing the different sections of the portion of our country alluded to, in close bonds of affiliation, and therefore of Christian love and sympathy.
But still farther scanning the map of our extended country, we find a most important portion of our domain along the Pacific coast, already filled with a teeming population, and capable, agriculturally, mineralogically, commercially, militarily, politically and socially, of still farther development, so remotely situated, with regard to the portion on the east side of the Missouri River—so isolated by distance and barriers of mountain chains and extended deserts, that it at once suggests the deficiency and the absolute requirements of the extension of our railroad system, so as to bring this portion of our republic into closer and more sympathetic relation with the other; and thus to bind all portions of our country in one homogeneous organism of political, military, social, commercial and Christian nationality and power.
This is to be effected by the Pacific Railroad and branches; and because of their infinite importance in this respect, their completion ought to be pushed forward by the people and Government with the greatest possible dispatch.
The acts of Congress bearing on this important project are chiefly the act of July 1, 1862, the act of July 2, 1864, and the act of July 3, 1866. These acts, as they now stand, authorize the construction of one main line, commencing at Omaha, Nebraska, the initial point fixed agreeably to law by the late President Lincoln, and extending westward in the most direct
and practicable line, till it meets the Central Pacific Railroad of California, extending eastward from San Francisco. These two Companies are unrestricted in the extent of the road they shall build, except that they are required to locate and join their respective portions in the most direct and practicable manner.
The Union Pacific has been constructed and accepted by the President of the United States, west from Omaha to the two hundred and seventieth mile post, or to a point seventy-seven miles west from Fort Kearny; and the probabilities are that by the setting in of winter there will be about three hundred and ten miles of the road finished; which will carry it beyond the Forks of the Platte, and embrace the bridge now near completion over the North Fork. The surveys for this road have extended across the Rocky and Wasatch Mountains to the valley of the Humboldt; and lines of routes have been found which will not require a grade, at any point, over one hundred and sixteen feet per mile, the maximum grade of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and the limit fixed by law.
The Central Pacific of California, on the 6th of the present month, had been graded from Sacramento eastwardly to Cisco, a distance of ninety-three miles, or to a point within twelve miles of the summit of the Sierra Nevada; and the track has been laid from Sacramento, eighty miles of that distance, and the cars are running thereon. The surveys show a perfectly feasible route over the Sierra Nevada, with maximum grades within the limits prescribed by the law; and as they show a very easy line along the valley of the Humboldt, not requiring a grade over fifty-three feet to the mile, the President of the Company, Leland Stanford, Esq., confidently anticipates that they will be able to reach Great Salt Lake during the year 1870.
The branch roads west from the Missouri river joining the Union Pacific Railroad, are, commencing at the most northern point and running southwardly, first:—
extending from Sioux City westwardly, and to join in the most practicable and direct manner at such part of the Union Pacific Railroad as the Company may select. Surveys, I have been informed by Mr. John J. Blair, the President of this Company, have been made for this road, but as they have not yet been officially reported to the Government, the final location of the route has not yet been established, and nothing further remains to be said than that no work has yet been done on this branch. Next,
which by law is to cross the Missouri River south of the mouth of the Platte, and, according to the map filed in the Interior Department, has been located by the Company as far as Kearny City, along the south side of the Platte, and getting into the Platte Valley again within eighteen or twenty miles east of Fort Kearny. The road is to join the Union Pacific, not further west than the one hundredth meridian of west longitude. No work has been commenced on this branch. Next,
which the Company have, by law, the option of connecting in the most direct and feasible way with the Union Pacific, not farther west than the one hundredth meridian, or the Union Pacific, Eastern Division, without restriction to distance. Twenty miles of this road west from Atchison has
been constructed and accepted by the President of the United States, and another section of twenty miles is represented to be nearly ready for examination by the Commissioners. The next branch is
which starts from the mouth of the Kansas River, on its south side, and has been located up the valley of the Kansas River as far as Fort Riley, and thence across to and up the valley of the Smoky Hill Fork, as far as the western boundary of Kansas; thence it is to go to Denver City, and join the Union Pacific at a point not farther than fifty miles west from the meridian of Denver. This road has been accepted by the President of the United States for a distance of one hundred and thirty miles west from the initial point at the mouth of the Missouri River, and has been represented recently as completed and the cars running thereon as far as Fort Riley, a distance of one hundred and thirty-six miles.
The Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Railroad of California, on the completion of sections of not less than twenty miles of their roads, will be alike entitled to bonds respectively from the Government to the extent of $16,000 per mile from their initial points to the east line of the Rocky Mountains, and to the west base of the Sierra Nevada, thence across the Rocky Mountains to the west base of the same for a distance of one hundred and fifty miles, and across the Sierra Nevada to the east base of the same for a distance of one hundred and fifty miles, they respectively got three times $16,000, or $48,000 per mile. Between the western base of the Rocky Mountains and the eastern base of the Sierra Nevada, they will be entitled to twice $16,000, or $32,000 per mile.
Both these Companies will, by law, be entitled to ten alternate odd sections of land on each side of their road, not sold, reserved, or otherwise disposed of by the United States, and to which a pre-emption or homestead claim may not have been attached.
The Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division, (properly the Southern Division), agreeably to the act of July 3, 1866, receives, on the completion of sections of at least twenty miles of its road, $16,000 per mile, for a distance from its initial point at the mouth of the Kansas River, as far westward as would be equal to the length of its road, had it, according to the act of July 1, 1862, joined the Pacific Railroad on the one hundredth meridian of longitude, between the north bank of the Platte River, and the south bank of the Republican Fork of the Kansas River. This road is entitled, in addition, on the completion of sections of not less than twenty miles of its road, to ten alternate odd sections of land on each side of its line, subject to the reservations, as in the case of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroad before stated.
The Atchison and Pike's Peak Railroad, or Pacific extension of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad, on the completion of sections of not less than twenty miles, gets bonds of $16,000 and ten alternate sections of land on each side of the road, per mile, but only for a distance of one hundred miles west from Atchison.
The Sioux City Pacific Railroad under the act of July 2, 1864, is entitled to bonds of $16,000 per mile on the completion of sections of not less than twenty miles, for a distance from the initial point at Sioux City, not greater than it would have been entitled to under the act of July 1, 1862, which restricted its junction with the Union Pacific, at a point not farther west than the one hundredth meridian of west longitude. This road also gets land, but only to the extent of five alternate sections within a limit of ten miles on each side of the road, with the same restrictions as stated in the case of the roads already mentioned.
The Pacific extension of the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad, by the act of July 2, 1864, is not entitled to bonds, but to lands to the extent of ten alternate odd sections on each side of its line of route.
Having thus given the chief points of the law with regard to the Union Pacific Railroad and branches, I would recall your attention to the anticipation confidently entertained by Mr. Stanford, the President of the Central Pacific Company of California,, that they will, even under the present law, be able to reach Great Salt Lake during the year 1870. General Dix, the President of the Union Pacific Railroad Company, has informed me that they will meet the Central Pacific, of California in five years; and, thus, according to both the gentlemen named, we may expect the completion of the road in 1871, or six years before the 1st of July, 1877—the limit fixed by the law. It is submitted, however, that as the work in the Rocky Mountains and Utah will be very heavy, there should be some legislation which will enable the Union Pacific Railway Company to work in advance of their completed line, at least eight hundred miles; so that the Company could now be employing the Mormons in Utah, who, with the "Gentiles," are willing and anxious to take contracts for grading the road, getting out the ties, and making the necessary iron. The act of July 3, 1866, enables the Union Pacific, and Central Pacific of California, to work three hundred miles in advance of their continuous line; but while this privilege is probably sufficient for the California Company, on account of the nature of the country through which it will have to construct its road, it is not so for the Union Pacific, whose difficult portions stretch out for so great a distance west of their present work. It is hoped that this matter will receive the attention of Congress at the earliest possible moment.
There is another item of legislation required, which has grown out of the confusion that exists with regard to the names of the roads, which should be attended to. The branch road, which starts from the mouth of the Kansas River, is called the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division. The consequence is, that though this road is being made by an entirely different Company from the Union Pacific Railroad Company, which is constructing its road all the way through from Omaha, till it meets the Central Pacific of California, the credit or discredit which attaches to the one naturally attaches to the other, to the enchancement or depreciation of its bonds; and already I am informed there have been considerable serious misapprehensions existing on this account, to the advantage or detriment of one or the other Company. This liability to error can only be obviated by Congress changing the name of the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division, so that it may not by any possibility be confounded with the Union Pacific Railroad, with which it is in no way pecuniarily connected. A sufficiently distinctive name would be the Kansas River Branch of the Union Pacific Railroad.
Thus, Mr. Mayor, ladies and gentlemen, I have at some length given you a description of the Union Pacific Railroad and branches, with the provisions of law relating thereto; but I cannot close my remarks without pointing out to you the great benefits which must inure to your city from the completion of this great highway of nations. Standing as you do pre-eminently related to the great lakes of the North; and by your railroads with all portions of the United States on the east side of the Rocky Mountains, with the prestige of your past and present growth; and immediately on the great airline route across the continent from New York, you cannot but become the great entre-dépôt of trade and travel of the
world; and therefore without doubt one of the greatest cities of the world—second on this continent to probably only the metropolis of New York.
Adding my thanks to those of the gentlemen who have preceded me for the very kind and munificent reception which the Union Pacific Railroad excursion party has received at your hands, I will here close my already, I fear, too extended remarks.
The laws of Congress require that the first one hundred miles of the Union Pacific Railroad, west of the Missouri River, shall be completed on or before the 27th June, 1866; and that it shall be completed to the one-hundreth meridian of longitude, a distance of one hundred and forty-seven miles further, at the rate of one hundred miles per year thereafter; or, say, by the middle of December, 1867.
The Railroad Company however, had, in utter disregard of all precedents in railroad construction, completed the first one hundred miles on June 2d, 1866, and had laid the track across the hundredth meridian on the 5th October of the same year.
In fact, the Company had become so regardless of these precedents, and of the slow progress contemplated by Congress, that it had allowed Mr. Reed, the Engineer in charge of construction, to do the grading, construct the bridges, and lay the superstructure, all complete, upon two hundred and forty-five miles of road in one hundred and eighty-two working days; averaging more than one and one-third miles per day.
It was therefore deemed expedient and proper, by the managers of this great national enterprise, that, the completion of the first division, extending from the Missouri River, at Omaha, to the one-hundredth meridian of longi-
tude, within considerably less than a year from the time required by law, should not only be suitably advertised to the world, but satisfactorily verified by the proper officers of the Government, and members of Congress.
Invitations were accordingly extended to the President of the United States, and members of his Cabinet; also to all the members of Congress, Foreign Ministers, military and naval commanders, and to the principal railroad men and leading capitalists throughout the country, to join in a grand excursion from New York City to the one-hundredth meridian, in the Great Platte Valley, a distance of about seventeen hundred miles, and more than half way across the continent.
No railroad excursion of similar character and magnitude had ever been projected in this, or any other country; and the parties most interested were, of course, untiring in their efforts to make it a complete success.
The different lines of connecting railroads, steamboats, and stages between New York and Omaha, were at once placed at the disposal of the Company by their liberal and enterprising managers, who seemed to vie with each other in their efforts to aid the Union Pacific Railroad Company in its great and somewhat novel undertaking.
Very much to the regret of the excursionists, as well as the receptionists along the route, General John A. Dix, the President of the Company, was prevented from accompanying the party, by receiving from the President of the United States, the appointment of Minister to France, just previous to its departure from New York. The charge of the excursion therefore devolved upon Mr. Thomas C. Durant, Vice-President, and Messrs. Sherman, Cook, Dillon, Lambard, and Duff, Directors; assisted by Mr. B. F. Bunker, Assistant Secretary of the 4
Company, Col. N. A. Gestner and Mr. E. Simmonds, from the New York office.
The party, consisting of about one hundred persons, fully supplied with everything that could be improvised or thought of for its comfort and enjoyment, left New York on Monday evening, October 15th, by way of the New Jersey, and Pennsylvania Central Railroads, to Pittsburgh; and the Pittsburgh Fort Wayne and Chicago Railroad to Chicago, where they arrived in high spirits on the following Wednesday evening.
Considerable accessions of invited guests were made to the party on the way to, and at, Chicago. Messrs. Springer Harbaugh, of Pittsburgh, and Jesse L. Williams, of Fort Wayne, Government Directors of the road, accompanied the excursion to Chicago; but, as both these gentlemen had just returned from a somewhat extended inspection of the road, they were very reluctantly excused from proceeding farther with the party.
Several of the excursionists preferred to remain a day or two at Chicago; and then proceed over the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, in company with the officers of that Road, to Dennison; and from thence to Omaha by stage. But by far the largest portion, accompanied by the Great Western Light Guard Band, started from Chicago on Thursday morning, October 18th, by way of the Chicago Burlington and Quincy, and the Hannibal and Saint Joseph Railroads, and arrived at St. Joseph on the following Friday evening.
Here they were met by Mr. H. M. Hoxie, the General Western Agent of the Union Pacific Railroad, to whose
care had been assigned the transportation on the Missouri River, a distance of two hundred and fifty miles, by river, from St. Joseph to Omaha; and also the subsistence of the entire party until its return to Saint Joseph.
Two of the largest class Missouri River packets—the Denver, Captain Waddell, and the Colorado, Captain Hooper—with an additional band of music on board, were in readiness to receive the party on its arrival at Saint Joseph; and the excursionists soon found themselves, with bands playing and colors flying, steaming up the great Missouri River, which, for many hundred miles of its turbid, snaggy, barry, winding course, forms the western boundary of the Atlantic portion of the United States.
The journey from Saint Joseph to Omaha was accomplished, without serious accident or detention, in less than forty-eight hours; and the party reached the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific Railroad on Monday morning, the 22d of October, having been on the way from New York a little less than one week.
Some idea of the manner in which the excursionists were subsisted under the supervision of Professor Hoxie, while passing up the Missouri River, may be formed by a perusal of the following bills of fare on board the steamers:—
Chief Owners of all Railroads in the United States,
ON BOARD THE SPLENDID
J. D. HOOPER, Com. | O. M. BROWN, Clerk.
R. FORD, General Superintendent Packet Line.
|Baked Pike, Oyster Sauce.||Boiled Trout, a-la-Normande.|
|Leg of Mutton, Caper Sauce.||Ham.||Tongue.|
|Turkey, Oyster Sauce.||Corned Beef and Cabbage.|
|Chicken, Egg Sauce.||Beef, a-la-mode.|
|Turkey, Giblet Sauce.||Saddle Mutton.||Lamb, Barbecued.|
|Quails on Toast.||Spare-Rib of Pork.||Ribs of Beef.|
|Sugar-Cured Ham, Champagne Sauce.|
|Chicken Salad, Young America style.||Boned Turkey, with Jelly.|
|Lobster Salad, Boston Style.||Leg of Mutton, Boiled.|
|Fresh Tongue, in Belvue.||Pressed Corned Beef.|
|Anchovy Salad. Ham.||Roast Beef.||Buffalo Tongue.|
|Rabbit, sauti, a-la-Chasseur.||Vel an Vent, aux huitres.|
|Small Patties, a-la-Française.||Petis Pates, garnie a-la-Bechamelle.|
|Lamb Chops, a-la-Millionaire.||Croquettes de Volaille.|
|Chicken Livers, fried in paper.||Boudins, a-la-Richelieu.|
|Calf's Head, stuffed, a-la-Royal.||Filet de Bœuf, Sauce Medere.|
|Fricassee of Chicken, a-la-Rhine.||Supreme de Volaille, aux Champignons.|
|Escaloped Oysters, Louisiana style.||Canards Braise, aux Oliaes.|
|Fillets of Beef, larded, a-la-Soubise.||Fricandeau de Veau, pica aux Epinards.|
|Rice Croquettes, garnished with Preserves.||Pigeons, Braise, a-la-Financiere.|
|Fried English Cream, flavored with Vanilla.||Baked Salmon, with Cream.|
|Calf's Brains, fried in Batter.||Turkey Giblets, a-la-Valenciene.|
|Veal Cutlets, breaded, Sauce Tortue.||Antelope Steak, Sherry Wine Sauce.|
|Baked Pork and Beans, Boston style.||Maccaroni, with Oparmesseur Cheese.|
|Prairie Chicken, larded Tomato Sauce.||Fried Oysters.|
|Antelope, larded, Sauce Bigarade.||Grouse, larded, Madeira Sauce.|
|Bear, brazed, Port Wine Sauce.||Quails, on Toast.|
|Saddle of Venison, Cranberry Sauce.||Wild Turkey|
|Mallard Ducks-Teal Ducks, Malaga Wine Sauce.||Rabbit Pot Pie, Boston style.|
|Oyster Plant.||Carrots.||Onions.||Boiled Potatoes.|
|Hominy.||Boiled Rice.||Mashed Potatoes.|
|Tomato Catsup.||Worcestershire Sauce.||Boston Pickles.|
|Beets. Celery.||Olives.||Cold Slaw.|
|English Plum Pudding, White Sauce.||Rum Jelly.||Pound Cake.|
|Jelly Cake. Vanilla Ice Cream.||Champagne Jelly.||Lady Fingers.|
|Fruit Cake, ornamented.||Chocolate Cake.||French Kisses.|
|Pyramid of Macaroons.||Princess Pyramid.||Old Castle.|
|Cranberry Tartlets. Mince Pie.||Cream Pie.||Apple Pie.|
|Almond Macaroons.||Cranberry Tartlets.||Swiss Cottage.|
|Oranges. Pecans. Almonds. Raisins.||Merungues aux Peches.|
|Gateau Genoise, a-la-Jelée.||Bonbon, a-la-Vanilla.|
|Charlotte Russe au Marasquin.||Bavarois Glace, aux Amandes.|
TEA, COFFEE AND CHOCOLATE.
|Purée of Rabbit, a-la-Chantilly.||Rice Soup, a-la-Florentine.|
|Trout, a-la-Victoria.||Pike, a-la-Chevaliere.|
|Chicken, a-la-Montmorenci.||Chartreuse of Vegetables, garnished with|
|Cushion of Veal, a-la-St. George.||Partridges.|
|Timbal of Maccaroni, a-la-Mazarine.||Border of Potato Paste, garnished with|
|Tourte of Ox, Palates a-la-Francaise.||Calves Brains a-la-Bavigotte.|
|Boar's Head, with Aspic Jelly.||Italliene Salad.|
|Gelatine Turkey, with Aspic Jelly.||Salina of Duck, with Aspic Jelly.|
|Maraschino Bavarian Cream.||Celestine Strawberry Cream,|
|English Cream, with Peaches.||Pineapple Jelly.|
|Orange Jelly, a-la-Anglaise.||Macedoine of Fruits.|
|Web Meringue, a-la-Parisiene.||Nouilles Cake, a-la-Allemande.|
|Cream Fouett, a-la-Printanier.||Strawberries and Cream.|
|Fruit Meringues.||Cocoanut Candy.|
WILLIAM DWYER, Steward.
The authorities of Omaha were on the alert at an early hour for the purpose of welcoming and entertaining the distinguished party. Governor Saunders, Secretary Paddock, Mayor Miller, and Vice-President Patrick, of the Board of Trade, soon made their appearance upon the steamers, and welcomed the excursionists in appropriate speeches, tendering them the freedom of the City and Territory; and inviting them to a reception ball at the Hernden in the evening; all which were duly responded to and accepted by Senator Patterson, Government Director Sherman, and others of the party.
Carriages were in waiting, to convey such of the number as desired to leave the boats, either about the town, to the hotels, or to the residences of several of the private families, which had been most liberally thrown open for the occasion.
That portion of the party which had crossed the State of Iowa by land, including Mr. Perry H. Smith, the Vice-President, and Mr. George L. Dunlap, the General Superintendent of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, Messrs. Turner, Ayer, Bowen, Crerer, and several others from Chicago, with the most important addition of Professor Kinsley, the justly celebrated caterist of Chicago, and a strong detachment of his assistants, having re-joined the party in the morning, were assigned to quarters on the Railroad Company's steamer Elkhorn, which lay at the landing immediately across the bows of the steamer Denver.
It should here be recorded for the benefit of all future historians, as well as the "rest of mankind," that, on this memorable day, and upon this veritable steamer Elkhorn, the famous, and never-to-be-forgotten Elkhorn Club was
duly organized and established upon a firm, and it is to be hoped an enduring basis.
The excursionists, with their insignia of ribbons and rosettes, were soon to be seen in all parts of the town, and among the extensive workshops of the Railroad Company, evidently delighted, and somewhat astonished to find themselves, after a week's journeying westward from New York, still among people of wealth, refinement, and enterprise.
The ball in the evening, however, was perhaps the greatest surprise. The presence of General Phillip St. George Cooke, commanding the Department, with his staff; Governor Saunders, Chief-Justice Kellogg, Secretary Paddock, Senators Thayer and Tipton, all of Nebraska; together with the city authorities, and the wealthy, enterprising, business and professional men of Omaha, with their families, all conduced to make it an entertainment which would have done credit to any gathering of a similar character in Chicago, Washington, or New York.
The dance, alternating with the promenade, and a judicious sprinkling of excellent and substantial refreshments, occupied the time most pleasantly till the small morning hours, when all separated in the best of spirits, ready for the new and exciting scenes which were to open upon them on the morrow.
Here we will leave them for the present, and be prepared to accompany them many hundred miles farther westward, towards the never-setting Star of Empire.