The Ironwood Times from Ironwood, Michigan on April 21, 1939 · Page 2
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The Ironwood Times from Ironwood, Michigan · Page 2

Ironwood, Michigan
Issue Date:
Friday, April 21, 1939
Page 2
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TWO THE IRONWOOD TIMES Friday, April 21, 1939 Omaha Turns Back the Clock to 70 Years Ago When North America Was First "Spanned With Steel 1 The "Wedding of the Rails" at Promontory Point, Utah, May 10,1869, completing the first transcontinental railroad. Central Pacific engine on the left, Union Pacific on the right. Coupled with this train will be the Union Pacific's giant new steam-electric locomotive and the necessary modern baggage and Pullman cars to accommodate the motion picture celebrities from Hollywood and others arriving from the West coast. Getting off this train will be W. M. Jeffers, president of the U. P., Cecil B. DeMille, producer of "Union Pacific," Joel McCrea, Barbara Stanwyck, other members of the cast, and several western governors. That night the Easterners and Westerners will meet at a huge banquet in the Ak-Sar-Ben coliseum and, during the next two days, they will see and take part in a series of historical parades, 'pageants, luncheons, banquets and other By ELMO SCOTT WATSON © Western Newspaper Union. "J~7*OR four days, April 26 to 29, Omaha, Neb., is turning back r~"« the clock 70 years and visitors arriving there during that •*- time will probably rub their eyes in amazement. For they will find that this modern American city has been transformed into what resembles a frontier village of three-quarters of a cen- . tury ago. / A They will see the Union station covered with logs to a height of 10 feet to give it the appearance of an old-time stockade, and, as they cross the Plaza in front of the station, they will be greeted by shrill war-whoops from a band of Brule Sioux Indians whose lodges are pitched there. On the courthouse lawn they will find another Indian village and as they walk down one of the principal streets in the business section they will see a solid block of buildings cohered with "false fronts" similar to those which lined Omaha streets back in 1869. Prairie schooners and stage coaches, instead of automobiles, will be parked along the curbs with here and there a picturesque frontiersman in his fringed buckskin suit and fur cap lounging in .his saddle as he passes the time , of day with bewhiskered citizens, • wearing tall, beaver hats, or ogles isome pretty girl dressed in crinoline, hoopskirt and quaint, old- fashioned bonnet. In fact, some 50,000 of Omaha's 200,000 people , will be wearing the costumes of ,,1869 during those four days. , "Golden Spike Days." "Golden Spike Da^s," they're called, and they commemorate . the seventieth anniversary of the event which really united these United States. It was the driving of'the final golden spike when the eastward-building Central Pacific and the westward-building Union Pacific met at Promontory Point, Utah, on May 10, 1869, to form the first transcontinental railroad. Why, then, should this celebration be held in Omaha rather than out in Utah? There are several good reasons. One is that headquarters of the Union Pacific railroad are in Omaha and the history of the U. P. has been bound up closely with the Nebraska metropolis and its twin-city-across-the-Missouri, Council Bluffs, Iowa, from their beginnings. Another is the fact that the world premiere of a new motion picture called "Union Pacific," based upon the building of the first transcontinental railroad, will be held in Omaha during the celebration. During the celebration there will be another East-West meet- Ing in Omaha which is somewhat reminiscent of the historic meeting at Promontory Point 70 years ago. On Thursday morning, April 27, a special train will arrive from the East bearing W. A. Harriman, chairman of the 'board of directors of the Union Pacific, all other members of the board and a large number of eastern industrialists. That afternoon the old-time train used in the picture "Union Pacific" will pull into the Union station. The engine on it will be the . "General McPherson," one of the original U. P. wood-burning locomotives of the exact type used at Promontory Point. Behind this ancient iron horse will be two coaches of the same period, one of which is a replica of the business car used by Gen. Grenville M. Dodge, who was the chief engineer of the railroad during U» construction period. woods, a hewn tie, polished and with a silver plate properly inscribed." Hon. F. A. Fryth, of Nevada, then stepped forward and presented to Or. T. C. Durant, vice president of the Union Pacific, a silver spike, on behalf of the people of Nevada, with the sentiment, "To the iron of the East and the gold of the West, Nevada adds her link of silver to span the continent and wed the oceans." Governor Safford of Arizona next presented a spike made of iron, silver and gold, saying: "Ribbed with iron, clad in silver, and crowned with gold, Arizona presents her offering to the enterprise .that has banded the continent and directed the pathway to commerce." To these donors, Governor Stanford, on the part of the Central Pacific, responded, "accepting with pride and satisfaction these gold and silver tokens of appreciation and importance of the great work." ' Maj. Gen. Grenville M. Dodge, chief engineer of the Union Pa- The Old and the New—A modern Union Pacific streamliner and the old-time locomotive, built in 1862, which was used in the motion picture "Union Pacific." festivities which have been arranged as a part of the celebration. Such will be the highlights in the celebration of the event upon which the' eyes of the whole nation were focused when it took place 70 years ago. For that event special trains, bearing notables from both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, were run to Promontory Point, arriving on May 10. At a signal from Edgar Mills of the firm of Ogden Mills and Company of San Francisco, who was master of ceremonies, the two engines moved up to their assigned positions about 60 feet apart. Drawn up along the north side of the track were four companies of the Twenty-first infantry with their regimental band to furnish music for the occasion. The scene which followed is described by L. O. Leonard, for many years historian of the Union Pacific, as follows: The preliminaries completed, Edgar Mills stepped forward and asked for attention, while the Rev. J. Todd of Pittsfield, Mass., offered prayer. Next was the presenting of the spikes for the ceremony. Doctor Harkness of the Sacramento Press in a brief speech presented Governor Stanford with a spike "forged with gold from the mines of California" and also presented, "from her laurel cific, responded for that company in a most happy manner. Mr. Coe of the Pacific Express company, then presented the officials with a silver spike-maul with which to drive the golden spike into the tie. All preliminaries now being completed, Samuel B. Reed, who had had charge of the Union Pa* cific construction work, stepped forward, as did also J. H. Strowbridge, who held a similar position for the Central Pacific. They carried the laurel tie and placed it in its bed beneath the track. Governor Stanford, grasping the silver spike-maul firmly in his hands, then took his position on the south side of the rail and Vice President Durant upon the north side. At a signal, Governor Stanford struck the first blow and then Doctor Durant the second blow and the golden spike was driven home. At the same instant the electric signal announced to the world the completion of the great enterprise. The crowd cheered and the band played the "Star Spangled Banner." The ceremonies and visiting Dicing concluded the trains backed off the scene and the crowd gradually faded away. By evening the scene was deserted and that night the coyote roamed over the locality, disturbing no one with his lonesnmp howl W. M. Jeffers, president of the Union Pacific, wearing the type of beaver hat which will, be in vogue in Omaha during "Golden Spike Days." Closely associated with the history of the first transcontinental railroad is the name of Abraham Lincoln. It came about in this way: In 1858 Lincoln visited Council Bluffs on legal business for a client. General (then Colonel) Grenville M. Dodge had just returned from making a survey for a railroad west of the Missouri river. General Dodge says: "He heard of my return from the survey and on the porch of the Pacific House he .sat with me for two hours or more and drew out all the facts I had obtained in my survey and naturally my opinion as to the route for a railroad west. I thought no more of giving this at the time than that possibly I might have given away secrets' 1 that belonged to my employers in this work. In 1863 while in command of the district of Corinth, I received a dispatch from General Grant to proceed to Washington and report to the President. "President Lincoln informed me that I was sent for for a consultation in regard to the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific railroad. He remembered the conversation with me on the porch of the Pacific House and under the law he was to determine the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific railroad. Those who remember that time know what pressure was brought to bear on the President to name this point far north and far south of Council Bluffs. After a long conversation with me obtaining my views fully and the reasons for them, the President finally determined to make it on the western border of Iowa." A "Pacific Union." On July 1, 1862, President Lincoln signed the act to build the Pacific railroad. It was not a perfunctory procedure. He had advocated the passage of the act and the building of the road, not only as a military necessity, but as a 'means of holding the Pacific coast to the Union. There is no doubt but that the idea behind this enterprise was for a Pacific Union, which name reversed gives us the title of the railroad. Not only did Lincoln establish the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific railroad opposite Section 10 in the Territory of Nebraska, but he also fixed the other boundaries on the western end of the line which was being built eastward from the Pacific. By the original railroad act the President was to fix the point where the Sacramento valley ended and the foothills of the Sierra Madre began. The chief engineer had designated Barmores, 31 miles from Sacramento as the beginning of the mountains. The Supreme court decided the foot hills commenced at 30 miles from that city. Several attempts were made to b'ring this to the attention of President Lincoln but the President's occupation with heavier duties connected with the war prevented the action. The time came, however, when it could not be longer delayed. It was important to the railroad company that the foot hill should begin as near as possible to Sacramento. Senator Sargent claims the credit of moving the mountain from Barmores to Arcade creek, a distance of 24 miles. He relates the affair as follows: Lincoln was engaged with a map when the senator substituted another and demonstrated by it and the statement of some geologist that the black soil of the valley and the red soil of the hills unite at Arcade. The President relied on the statements given by him and decided accordingly. "Here you see," said the senator, "my pertinacity and Abraham's faith rempved mountains." Apropos of Lincoln's connection with the Union Pacific is the fact that several years ago Historian Leonard found in the records of the department of the interior in Washington' many papers which he signed, one of them on a U. P. document only four months before his assassination. It is interesting to note that only upon • U. P. paper$ did he sign his full name "Abraham Lincoln'." Or almost all others he wrote it "f Lincoln." ADVENTURERS' CLUB HEADLINES FROM THE LIVES OF PEOPLE LIKE YOURSELF! "Kails of Death" H ELLO, EVERYBODY: Well, sir, for a long time I've been warning young fellows to stay off of side door pullmans. I've seen so many adventure yarns about lads who have come to grief beating their way on freight trains that I'm pretty well convinced it's a dangerous pastime. But here's a lad I can't very well warn to stop riding freight trains. In the first place, that was his job. In the second place, he's reformed and isn't .working on the railroad any more. And in the third place, he knows all about the hazards of railroading. He probably knows a doggone sight more about it than I do. If those aren't enough reasons, I could probably think up some more. But here comes today's distinguished adventurer, Edwin F. Eckdahl of Young, Saskatchewan, Canada—another fellow who has come a long, long way to join our club. And here's the story: Ed started railroad work in the early part of the century, braking on the Pennsylvania. His run was out of Logansport, Ind., and those were the days when the men had to contend with the old style link-and-pin drawbar and when air brakes were few and far between. There might be a few air-braked cars on every train, but most freights consisted principally of "jacks" or hand-braked cars. Ed says every brakeman tried to get a few up at the head of the train, where they'd help a lot in holding back the other cars, but some of the old die hard conductors wouldn't allow that. "There are brakes on top," they used to say, "and the brakeman is getting paid for braking them. Let him work for his money." It was one of those conductors that Ed was working for—and it came near costing him his life. Tops of Cars Covered With Thin Ice. It was one day early in 1906 that that happened. Ed's train pulled Out of- Chicago about 10:30 on a cold winter night with a light train of He lost his balance and was forced to step off the flat running board. meat and merchandise. "We had a nice string of air-braked cars," he says, "but there were behind about ten or twelve 'jacks' and the conductor said 'nothing doing' when the rear-end man and I wanted to switch them. It had rained in Chicago and the tops of the cars were covered with a coating of thin ice, and my first job was to go over the tops and chip that ice from the running boards on the ten or twelve cars I was to use for braking." Ed had ice clips on his shoes to keep him from slipping. They were pretty dull, but he thought they'd last him one more trip. He worked his way along until he was about ten cars back' of the engine and then, near the I. C. crossing at Riverdale, the train hit a slight curve. Ed was unprepared for it. He lost his balance and was forced to step off the flat running board onto the sloping, ice-covered top of the car. The instant he did his feet shot out from under him. He started sliding off the top. "I was on my back," he says, "but when my legs were over the side I managed to turn over on my stomach— and, as luck would have it, a nail 'that had worked up from a board in the car top caught in my coat. I was sd far over the side that there was more of me in the open than on the roof. I was just able to keep part of my chest and arms on the car. And there I hung. "I knew if I slid off I wouldn't have much of a chance. All I could do was hang on— and get back on top if that was possible. It was cold weather and the position I was in was tiring me out. • The longer I stayed there the worse it would be." His Hands Slipped on the Smooth Ice. Ed knew he couldn't look for any help. The engineer would think he was in the caboose and the conductor would think he was in the engine. His lantern had shattered and gone over the side when he fell and he couldn't signal with that. He tried pulling himself forward with the flat of his hands against the car top, but they slipped on the smooth ice. "I tell you it kept me busy," he says. "I didn't know how long that nail would hold me, or how long the cloth of my coat would stand the strain. But believe me, I stuck tight with all the strength I had." But now Ed noticed something that was working in his favor The heat of his palms as they pressed against the top of the car was melting the thin coating of ice. In one spot his hands were beginning to take hold. He began to. move his palms forward to melt the ice up ahead It was a long slow process. "By wriggling my body as a snake would, he says, "I was able to bring it forward a little. I had to melt quite a bit of ice to get myself in a fairly safe position and even then the wind and the swaying of the car threatened to throw me off at any minute. And then I ran into another obstruction." The Nail Holds Him Back From Safety. /» i, 1 * WaS £!*• n ?2 Wh l? h had caught in his clothi ng. In the beginning 'ft had saved his life Now it was holding him back, keeping him from moving any farther forward. Ed didn't dare move a hand to free it! And there he was, fastened to the car, unable to move any farther and him ^° Wmg When a 1QW spot or a curve in 'he track would shake - He began to get a bit panic-stricken then. He clawed at the top 'of the car with futile hands. And suddenly his groping palms struck on another nail worked up out of the boards like the first onT - ' ? ' «. V^T 8 ^ h ° ld ° f U ky a thumb and finger," Ed says, "and only then did I dare to move the other hand down and loosen the nail thai was caught in my coat. I wriggled back on the top and when I reached the running board I was covered with sweat and my hands and face were full of slivers. All I did was lie flat on my See and pant " The .train was pulling into a station and the engineer 'whistled for brakes, but Ed didn't move. "Of course the train ran past the Ttation " Say n' I? 1 * l WaS ln ^ ine for a bawling out - B "t when I told the engineer what had happened he had to make his excuses for not seeina nndVe ^ ^ °* d °" C *»* * -ilroad Copyright.—WNU Service. First U. S. Post Office Was Located in Boston in 1641 The first postal establishment on the North American continent was located in Boston in 1641 to the tavern of Richard Fairbanks who was given authority to charge one penny for ' each letter delivered, Prof. R.- Del French of McGill university told members of the Rotary club of Montreal, says the Christian Science Monitor. In Canada, the first record of postal service was during the French regime when a road was opened between Quebec and Mon- treal more than 200 years ago., Private dispatches by mail in Canada were delivered on schedule only after the fall of Quebec into British hands. This marked the final real attempt to organize a postal service on a regular basis, and Benjamin Franklin was instrumental in developing this work between Montreal and New York by way of the Champlain and Hudson route. Postal service was instituted between' Halifax and Livernool in 1755.

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