Sunset Limited: The Southern Pacific Railroad and the Development of the American West, 1850-1930 / Edition 1

Sunset Limited: The Southern Pacific Railroad and the Development of the American West, 1850-1930 / Edition 1

by Richard J. Orsi
     
 

ISBN-10: 0520200195

ISBN-13: 9780520200197

Pub. Date: 05/16/2005

Publisher: University of California Press

The only major U.S. railroad to be operated by westerners and the only railroad built from west to east, the Southern Pacific acquired a unique history and character. It also acquired a reputation, especially in California, as a railroad that people loved to hate. This magisterial history tells the full story of the Southern Pacific for the first time, shattering

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Overview

The only major U.S. railroad to be operated by westerners and the only railroad built from west to east, the Southern Pacific acquired a unique history and character. It also acquired a reputation, especially in California, as a railroad that people loved to hate. This magisterial history tells the full story of the Southern Pacific for the first time, shattering myths about the company that have prevailed to this day. A landmark account, Sunset Limited explores the railroad's development and influence—especially as it affected land settlement, agriculture, water policy, and the environment—and offers a new perspective on the tremendous, often surprising, role the company played in shaping the American West.

Based on his unprecedented and extensive research into the company's historical archives, Richard Orsi finds that, contrary to conventional understanding, the Southern Pacific Company identified its corporate well-being with population growth and social and economic development in the railroad's hinterland. As he traces the complex and shifting intersections between corporate and public interest, Orsi documents the railroad's little-known promotion of land distribution, small-scale farming, scientific agriculture, and less wasteful environmental practices and policies—including water conservation and wilderness and recreational parklands preservation.

Meticulously researched, lucidly written, and judiciously balanced, Sunset Limited opens a new window onto the American West in a crucial phase of its development and will forever change our perceptions of one of the largest and most important western corporations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520200197
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
05/16/2005
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
637
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.75(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgments

PART I: FOUNDATIONS
1. “These Mountains Look Too Ugly and I See Too Much Work Ahead”: Building the Southern Pacific Company, 1850–1930
2. Men of Vision: Southern Pacific Leaders, Land, Agriculture, and the Development of California and the West

PART II: LAND SETTLEMENT
3. “Stand on the Rights of the Company and Make a Square Fight of It”: Land-Grant Myths, Conflicts with Government, and Squatterism
4. The Mussel Slough Affair
5. A Land of “Well-tilled Little Farms”: Land-Grant Development
6. Promoting the Far West

PART III: WATER
7. “The Satisfactory Supply Is Yet Undiscovered”: The Southern Pacific as a Pioneer Water Developer
8. Private Irrigation
9. “This Splendid Country Is to Be Reclaimed”: Public Irrigation
10. “The Government Is Hard to Deal With”: Federal Reclamation

PART IV: AGRICULTURE
11. Promoting Scientific Agriculture
12. “The Damndest Railroading You Ever Heard Of”: Marketing the Produce of Western Farms

PART V: CONSERVATION
13. “Shall This Destruction Proceed?”: Wilderness Preservation
14. Conserving Forest and Rangeland Resources

Epilogue
A Note on Manuscript Sources
Notes
Abbreviations for Collections and Repositories

Index

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