The Saint Paul and Pacific Railroad: An Empire in the Making, 1862-1879

The Saint Paul and Pacific Railroad: An Empire in the Making, 1862-1879

by Augustus Veenendaal Jr., A. J. Veenendaal
     
 

Beginning in 1862 as a small carrier connecting St. Paul and Minneapolis with outlying towns, the Saint Paul & Pacific Railroad became the foundation of the vast rail system that would open the entire Northwest. As a pioneering line in virgin territory, it played a vital role in the early development of Minnesota's economy. When railroad tycoon James J. Hill took

See more details below

Overview

Beginning in 1862 as a small carrier connecting St. Paul and Minneapolis with outlying towns, the Saint Paul & Pacific Railroad became the foundation of the vast rail system that would open the entire Northwest. As a pioneering line in virgin territory, it played a vital role in the early development of Minnesota's economy. When railroad tycoon James J. Hill took over the troubled company in 1879, its tracks were extended into westward lines that eventually, as the Great Northern Railway, reached the Pacific Ocean.

Written by leading railroad historian Augustus J. Veenendaal Jr. this finely researched book examines the growth of the fledgling Saint Paul & Pacific as it struggled to lay track, meet the schedule, and make the payroll. The railway's leaders and workers took risks of injury and ruin during these years on the frontier, when everything except hardship was in short supply. Veenendaal devotes an entire chapter to the accidents and disasters that befell the new enterprise, including deadly collisions and derailments. He also chronicles triumphs, such as the use of the Miller coupler and the refurbishment of the famed Wm. Crooks, a 4-4-0 woodburning engine that was the first locomotive in Minnesota.

Veenendaal reveals the strategic importance of foreign investment in American railroads—in particular, Dutch investment. The Saint Paul & Pacific was one of the first railroads to attract the attention of Dutch bankers, who would eventually become the second largest group of foreign investors in American railroads. After James J. Hill bought out the Dutch interest in the railroad, he reorganized it as the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railroad. Today, after the megamergers of recent years, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe system owns the ghost of the old Saint Paul & Pacific Railroad Company.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Fascinating.... Leading railroad historian Augustus J. Veenendaal examines one of America's most significant pioneer pikes. The Saint Paul & Pacific typifies early roads, especially those firms that threw rails ahead of major settlements."—H. Roger Grant, author of The North Western

Booknews
Veenendaal (Institute of Netherlands History, the Hague) traces the company from its beginnings as a small carrier connecting St. Paul and Minneapolis with outlying towns, to when it was bought by railroad tycoon James J. Hill under whom, as the Great Northern Railway, it reached the Pacific Ocean. He describes such aspects as laying track, meeting the schedule, making payroll, injury and ruin, and the general shortage of everything on the frontier. Of course he includes the many old photographs without which a railroad history would not get off the dime. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780875802527
Publisher:
Northern Illinois University Press
Publication date:
08/28/1999
Edition description:
1
Pages:
186
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >