By Peter J Lewty
In exactly many years of prosperity, among 1886 and 1891, a wave of railroad building broke around the in moderation populated inland undeniable of the Pacific Northwest. Racing to safe strategic routes and resources of site visitors, the railway promoters equipped an intensive and bewildering community of competing traces. carrying on with the saga he started in To the Columbia Gateway: The Oregon Railway and the Northern Pacific, 1879-1884 (WSU Press, 1987), Peter Lewty describes the region's dramatic railroad growth within the years 1885 to 1893. Recreating the existing surroundings of optimism and pleasure, he strains the growth of the Northern Pacific and Union Pacific platforms within the inside Northwest, chronicles the development of the Pacific extension of the nice Northern Railway, and provides a multi-faceted portrait of railway operations at the final frontier of yank payment.
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Extra info for Across the Columbia Plain: Railroad Expansion in the Interior Northwest, 1885-1893
Looking at maps of the Inland Northwest I was struck by the close mesh of the railway network, and at once began to wonder why such a sparsely populated agricultural area should have been blessed with so many competing lines. Before my questions could be answered, I had much to learn, and not only about railways. Donald W. Meinig's admirable book, The Great Columbia Plain, provided me with a wealth of information. Moreover, the threads of regional railroad history, so skillfully woven into it, suggested that someone should make an attempt to assemble a more detailed account of the way in which the railway system developed.
If I was to cope successfully with the wealth of information available from newspapers and periodicals published prior to the financial collapse of 1893, I would have to end the saga at that point. Since any study of later events would have required access to railroad company archives, which I did not have, the decision was easily made. I gladly opted for further exploration of the more forthright world of the 1880s. Even then I found there was far too much material for one book and had to divide the work into two at the construction hiatus of 1885.
On December 17, 1883 Villard was forced to resign from the presidencies of both the Oregon & Transcontinental and Oregon Railway & Navigation companies, and on January 4, 1884 he withdrew from leadership of the Northern Pacific. During the next week a Philadelphia syndicate, including former Northern Pacific president Charles B. Wright, took advantage of the depressed stock market prices to purchase a large block of Northern Pacific shares previously held in the Oregon & Transcontinental treasury.