The News from Paterson, New Jersey on May 9, 1969 · 25
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

A Publisher Extra Newspaper

The News from Paterson, New Jersey · 25

Paterson, New Jersey
Issue Date:
Friday, May 9, 1969
Start Free Trial

I ,- Fri Mau Q 1QRQ Patercnn Kleue 4C 1 I H I T 1 VI J Vj I V V UIVI JVM IIVIIJ U.S Railroad Epic Relived At Site Of Golden Spike Paterson Shares Limelight Of Utah Celebration May 1 0 ; . PROMONTORY SUMMIT, Utah Exactly 100 years ago on May 10. the Union Pacific's Engine 119, built in Paterson, N. J., clunked against the Central Pacific's engine here and officially opened the trans continental railroad. Seven Paterson native now living near the historic site in Brigham City will be present at the centennial observation this year. A concrete marker is left at the Summit, the only reminder that it was here trains first crossed into the Western prairies. The Summit's brief fling with prosperity and prestige was ended abruptly in 1906 when the Lucin Cutoff - re-routed most trains from the slower mountain route to a landfill causeway across the Great -Salt Lake. ' Settlers who came to the bustling tent town after the ... railroad was completed moved out with it 37 years later when the causeway was finished Descendants to Return But this year their descendants will return, many .of them dressed in 19th-century costumes a's members of the Sons and Daughters of Utah's Pi-: ioneers. - In some ways the fate of Promontory Summit has been the fate of America's great railroads, now competing to stay in business in the jet age. But dignitaries from across the country, including, possibly. President Richard Nixon, will pay tribute to a bygoneera at the festive ceremonies. The colonial American dream of a rail link of the east and west moved a step closer to becoming reality in 1863 when a Congressional decree allowed construction to begin. The Union Pacific would build from Omaha, Neb., and the Central Pacific from Sacramen to, Calif. Flashes News: "Done" After serious work began in 1865, it took four years. , At 12:47 p.m. on May 10, 1869 a telegrapher flashed the news to a waiting nation: DONE. In Washington, D.C. church bells rang for several minutes; Chicago staged a four mile long parade ; cannons were fired in many cities. An historian later noted: "An event took place near the northern shore of the Great Salt Lake that ended a pioneer era and started a new period of interstate commerce. But the staid historical foot note to the growth of the Unit ed States was not the reality of the Utah celebration. . Scene of ','Low Comedy" ' A drunken crowd of work crews and rubbernecks were on hand 'for the driving of the final golden spike. One observer later recalled that the driving of the spike Teas - a scene of low comedy, where oratory and whiskey t rt TTT A A in. O V 1 1 f A111 r nmAlinfl Hundreds of spectators quiet ed down when Leland Stanford a. Central Pacific executive slung a silver sledge hammer at the spike. He missedand was jeered. His competitor, Thomas C Durant, tried and also missed, but the task was finally done and two chief engineers, S.S Montague and Grenville Dodge shook hands to end the rivalry .Golden Spike State Utah as a state remembered the occasion by dubbing itself the Golden Spike empire. Nearby Corinne several decades later opened a railroad museum with an exhibit, "The Age of the Steam Locomotive." And in 1968, Promontory Summitt was designated a Na tionai Historic hue. it is now hoped that a' replica of the Paterson engine can be built and placed there. The history of the interest in a transcontinental railroad dat ed back to the early 1800s when explorers, politicians and trad . ers clamored for the opening of tne west by ran. When' the Central and the Union were finally commissioned to build it, they both un dertook years or fierce and seated competition and difficult construction across treacherous wilderness. , . Grades Were Obstacles The Central, building from the West, had the towering Sierra Nevada Mountains to , contend with. Grades and engineering obstacles were as seemingly insurmountable . as were the heavy winter snow Storms. The Union, cutting through America s heartland from tb Midwest, had no mountains but an equally formidable foe the disgruntled Sioux . and Chey- enne. By mid-1968, the railroad were closing the gap. When Congress' had authorized the project, though, no point of . junction was decided on. . Because the prizes govern ment bonds, land, grants and access to the trade of the Great Basin were attractive, both railroads attempted to build a: much as they were able. When they could have -joined In January, 1869, tney Kept go ing and parallelled 225 miles of track. .-- Several months later the tw companies agreed to halt con struction. - .The previous years had been sometimes brutal. I Intense Rivalrv In November, 1868, for exam pie, it was evident to tie Cen (Continued on Page 28) Rails Spurred By Economics, Unification Like manv of this country's ideas, tne one for a transcon tinental railroad was spurred on by economics. As early as 1830, it was realized a railroad to the West was needed to open the prairie lands for settling, establish Cal ifornia as the trade base to the Far . East, and finally to rid the nation of the "Indian menace." The commercial "plum' of course wotfuTbe the abilitv of the railroad to carry European trade from the country's East-coast to California and then on bv shin to the Orient. bix montns alter tne railroad was finished however, the Suez Canal, was opened, and the plan never materialized. A consolation, though, was that settlers would be carried the "Great American Des ert" opening new business op portunities there. As private promoters and lobbyists pressed for a cross country railroad, national lead ers began to think of the ides in more far-reaching terms than first expressed. Unified Country The vast frontiers of the West could be eliminated by railroads, which would also provide a way of transporting troops, supplies and mail quick to the Pacific coast and streghthen country. the unity of the By 1850, there was general that only federal enable a transcon agreement aid would tinental dream to be realized Jhe major delay was the se lection of an Eastern terminus'. Animosity between North .and South guided every public ques tion of the pre-war era, and neither side wanted to give the other the trade benefits which -would be provided to the area wnere tne terminus was located. An impasse in the debate (Continued on Page 28) Many Paterson Natives Plan Railroad BRIGHAM CITY. Utah - Many residents -Of this former frontier town, including seven natives, of Paterson, N.J., are planning for the transcontinental railroad centennial May 10. tne nev. Earl ieymour Fox, pastor of the Community Presbyterian Church here and a member of the citizen's advi sory committee planning the 100th anniversary relebration, points out the coincidence that natives of Paterson, where the Union Pacific's historic engine was built, now live in this community. Ihe celebration will take place May-10 at nearby Prom ontory Summit where the. fi nal tracks were laid in 1869. Rev. Fox's father-in-law, Da vid Oldham, 90, can boast that his grandfather worked in the shop that built the engine. uidnam, wno used to work as a cigar maker with Allen k Dunnings, lives with Mr. Fox, his wife, Grace (Mrs. Old ham's daughter.) Other former " Patersonians are Artnur Barbien and his daughters, Elaine and Deborah, and Mrs. Chnstine Larsen. , The Golden Spike The minister recently ob served that 'he driving of the golden spike , that signalled the completion of the cross-country railroad nad greater eltect on FIRST PATERgON sent Engine Brigham City, near the point Arthur Barbien, and: the -Rev. Earl S. Fox. From left, standing; Christina ' Larsen, Deborah Barbieri. and Grace Oldham Fox. Another former Patersonian,' Elaine Barbieri. was nn able to be present for this picture. ENGINE 119, (at right) built celebrating work crews and Utah Pastor, Native Patersonian, Tells About Famous 'Wedding Of The Rails' (EDITOR'S NOTE: The au- ! thor of this article was born in Paterson and is now a Presbyterian minister in Brig-ham City, Utah, near where the' transcontinental railroad was finished in 1869. After much research, Mr. Fox wrote a lengthy history of the railroad, the old frontier, Paterson as the leading locomotive manufacturer before 1900, and the celebrations his town plans for, May 10, the centen-ennial anniversary of the railroad's completion. This report is a section of that history.) By REV. EARL FOX November 19, 1868 was in many ways just another day in Paterfn. The front page of the newspaper carried the usual lo cal advertisements. There were no crucial headlines. News items were kicking ud but lit tle dust. It was also lust another busv day at the Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works. The main activity was the delivery of another steam locomotive to the Union Pacific Railroad. It h been the earlier custom for rail roads tojiame their engines after famous Americans, constel lations, birds, animals, and even Greek gods. But Union Pacific had begun numbering its en Centennial In Utah the United States than first realized. ' "This event turned out to have far greater significance than the opening of the Midwest and Mountain West to settlers and commerce," he told The'News. "It tied the far west to the far east. Had this not been done, the western part of our United States mieht well have been carved up by the British, Spanish and French." He is also Droud of the fact that the engine that first crossed over the final track at nearby Promontory Summit was built in Paterson . where his family originated. Site Is Marked Brigham City and Corinne are the two towns where most interest in- the centennial is be ing generated. Promontory Summit, where the final track was laid, is now empty, having died when the railroad was rerouted across a causeway on the Great Salt Lake.. But the centennial . will be held there where a concrete marker stands at the historic site: . -' Mr,' Fox was named after his grandfather, Edgar Seymour Robinson, who used to operate a blacksmith shop" on Washing ton street off Broadway in Pat erson. 119 to Utah. Now seven former Paterson residents where old 119 made history. From in Paterson, was covered with spectators as it joined the gines as they were delivered Thus the little freight locomo tive that rolled out of the Rog ers works that day was plain No. 119. It was, aside from custom decoration, the same as hundreds of locomotives being built by a dozen companies at that period. Not a person in the land that day had any idea that No. 119 had a date with destiny. For it turned out to be one of the en gines drawn up guard to guard at iromontory bummit, Utah, at the historic "Wedding of the Rails," May 10, 1869, when the "Golden Spike" was driven marking the completion of the transcontinental railroad. The Centennial Celebration of this almost impossible accomplishment is being observed this year at the very same spot. Fifteen miles of the old grade (no longer used; has become the Golden Spike Historic Site, a part of the National Park Service. A beautiful building has been erected to house his torical exhibits; part of the old grade, ties and tracks have been restored; hope is high that completely accurate working models of the two engiens will eventually be built and installed as they were on that day, 100 years ago. Whiel the Golden Spike Cen- For -many years after the turn of the century he cared for tne horses and fleet of wag ons of the Meyer Brothers stops. The pastor graduated from high school in 1924 and then worked at the old United States Trust Company. Had Radio Programs "During that time," he recalls, "I conducted a weekly re hgious program over WODA, the longest sustaining program ot tne station." He then returned to school in New York City to prepareJor the ministry, and worked on weekends as student assistant to the late Rev. -Howard A Adair at the Eastside Presby terian Church. Before 'coming west to settle in Brigham City, the county seat of Box Elder County, he served in churches in East Or ange, N..J, Baltimore, Md., Mesa, Ariz., and Boulder City, rvev., and is now in bis eighth year here. - . Mr. Fox last August attended ground-breaking ceremonies tor the National Park Site to be built where the Paterson locomotive firs! ran across the last link in the transcontinental railroad. That installation will also of- ficially open on May 10. in left, seated: David J. Oldham; live "Jupiter" engine at Promontory Summit. Utah, on May 10, 1869, to officially open the transcontinental railroad. tennial has aroused nation-wide interest, it holds special signifi cance for Paterson, the "birthplace" of old No. 1197 Ihe dream of a Pacific Rail road (as easterners called it) was more a wild dream. Few easterners had ventured as far west as the Missouri River; hardly any beyond it. The reports of explorers a.nd adventurers vividly pictured the "wild west," and while avidly read, did not raise much hope in the average person for such an impossible dream. iwery merchant who did busi ness on the West Coast wished for a shorter and quicker mode of transportation than the long around the Horn. But how would vou conauer the miles o isolated plains filled with hos tile Indians; the shortage of supplies at close hand; the mountains of the intermountain west; the granite ramparts of tne sierra Nevadas. where forty feet of snow was the average But the idea continued to burn with "fuel" for thp "fire' being provided oy the . rapidly growing network of railroads east of the Mississippi River. If east of it, why not west of it? After years of arguing and decades of indecision, construction finally began in earnest af ter the Civil war ended in 1865 Four years later the impossible task had been completed. Sent News By Wire Arrangements for the driving of the last spike were not elaborate. Two things, however had been decided: It would be broadcast over Western' Union lines by the blows on the rail; and it would take place at noon. When the groups arrived, ar guments developed about the actual procedure. For an hour and a half men from each side argued, even threatening to have separate ceremonies. Fi lially the two presidents, about five minutes before the cere mony, broke the impasse. At 12:20 p.m. the telegraph op erator keyed the message that me spue wouia oe ariven in twenty minutes and ordered all lines cleared. A man from each company carried the laurel tie to its place. Edear Mills of the Central Pacific was master of ceremonies. He introduced the Rev. J. .Todd from Massachusetts who offered the invocation. A Contemporary Account (Reprinted from the May 4, 1869 issue of the Paterson Daily Press) When, 32 years ago, the first locomotive was turned out in Paterson after 16 months of labor, there was not in all the world probably a dreamer so visionary as to forsee the linking of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans with bands of iron, by "means of the locomotive, the spanning of the continent 3,500 miles broad through the tireless strength of the iron horse, fabricated by Paterson skill an ingenuity. But the next week will see that event come to pass, and Paterson, which first became noted in the building of locomotives where almost the first American locomotive was constructed, will have the honor of speeding the first engines across the continent. It is but proper that this should be the case. Without Paterson locomotives the Pacific railroad could not have been built as rapidly as it has been. Our readers will remember that last ' summer we published some correspondence from the Union Pacific railroad in which the rider spoke of the high favor in which the Paterson locomotives were held. The Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works of this city have furnished a great many of the best engines for that road and for many months past have been supplying locomotives for the Central Pacific Railroad, approaching eastward from San Francisco, having furnished about 20thisiyear, A few days ago" they . sent off two more, No.'s 156 and 167 and these two are to make the first through-trip from the Atlantic to Pacific so that Paterson mechanism is to be again honored in a most distinguished manner. It has been incorrectly reported that the above two engines were from Schenectady, (New York) works and we trust that our contemporaries will see to it that our Paterson works receive thexredit in this matter that they deserve as they are justly proud of that honor. In this connection we would make another ; suggestion which if carried out would conform to our notions of fitness. There will of course shortly be a grand excursion train from New Yflrk to San Francisco made up of the most gorgeous -cars the Erie, Atlantic, Great Western, Chicago, and Pacific roads, can produce. With such -palatial cars would it not be appropriate to have the train draws by some of our inr comparably strong and beautiful Rogers, Danforth or Grant locomotives? And would it not be most fitting to have in that splendid train, the superb "America" that grand triumph of Paterson skill which carried off the first prize at the Paris Exposition Unjverselle? ' "The "America" has been sold by the Grant works to the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad and is to start for its Western destination tomorrow. It is now in the street before the works, having been taken out to be photographed before leaving. Tomorrow it is expected" to leave for the West steaming all the way to Chicago instead of being boxed up as, usual. This is done at the request of hundreds of engineers and railroad men along the road, who have expressed their desire to behold this famous machine. It is to be the pioneer locomotive in the opening of .the great Northwest Railroad from Chicago to Omaha. Why not also in accordance with the "eternal fitness of things" use it in the still grander , railway opening from ocean to ocean and so award to Paterson the honor of her mechanical skill deserves. Then the ceremonial "driving" of the several spikes took place into prepared holes. ine special maul that was wired to produce electrical taps on tne rails over tne telegraph lines did not work because both Stanford and Durant missed hitting the spike. At 12:47 the Union Pacific operator, W. N Skilling unable to send the news via the maul taps, tapped out the three "dots" to the waiting nation, together with this dis patch to the Associated Press: "The last rail is laid! The last spike is driven! The Pacific Railroad is completed. Point of junction 1,086 miles west of the Missouri River, and 690 miles east of Sacramento." President Grant Told ' rresioent uiysses urant was notified. Cannons were fired in Chicago and Washington. There were parades in san Francisco Omaha, and Sacramento. ' For the first -time, the east and west were made one by shining rails of iron. Each engine took turns cross ing the finish line. Proud No 119 from Paterson is described at its shining hour by a Lt. J.C Currie who was present with the 21st Infantry. In his old diary found in 1954 in the Wells Fargo history room, he wrote his impressions of May 10, 1869 at Promontory, Included is the line, "The two beautifully dec orated engines, one of each road advanced until the guards toucneo tne. engineers climb ed out and broke a bottle of champagne across the space and snook hands." By late afternoon the visitors had left for east and west. The "Wedding of the Rails" was over. But the really significant events were only beginning. Tlo longer did passengers, mail, and freight nave to travel from coast to coast by horse and wag on, or make the long voyage around South-America. The rail schedule called for departure east from Sacramento at 6:30 Monday mornings. Passengers transferred to Union Pacific's train at Promontory 9:55 p.m on Tuesday; and reached Oma ha 9:30 Thursday mornings, Chicago 1:30 p.m.. Fridays, and (Continued on Page 28) Engine 119 Was First To Coast Engine'-119. which the Union Pacific Railroad used on its first transcontinental run, - was a gaudy, multicolored locomotive built in Paterson. How such a strikingly bright object could have been lost is a matter of speculation. nui ine engine, wun us iigni grayish blue boilerjacket and reddish walnut cab. disaobeared several years after it had chug ged up a mountainside in Utah and crossed over the final link lu tne nation s first cross country railroad. ihe museum in corinne, Utah, near the historic Promon. tory Summit site, has been try ing for the last several years to get congressional funds to build a replica of the colorful Engine 119. The original manufacturers, Paterson s Rogers Locomotive Workj, will not be able to do the job, though. No. 1 Engine City Rogers' Company ended its 70 year manufacturing history in the early 1900s, after contribut ing to Paterson's reputation as the nation's leading locomotive building city. Paterson, for 66 years the leading United States manufacturer of .locomotives, lost its prestige and reputation in this field in the early 1900s. Today, all that is left of the great engine builders is a commemorative plate nailed to a wall on Spruce Street. One of its finest products. En gine 119, was sold to the Union Pacific in November, 1868. Much of the spectator atten tion the day the transcontinent al railroad was officially open ed was given to the Paterson product. Had Gay Look In color, design and unabash ed garrishness it was superior Paterson Engine Had One Big Day Engine 119 spent only one day of glory. The Paterson-built locomotive was being used for construction train service before the ceremony, and then went right back to work as a freight engine for Union Pacific. She was scrapped in 1903. "Jupiter," the engine she met at Promontory Summit, was about the same size but had a little less rococo. The "Jupiter" was built by the Schenectady Locomotive Works in September 1868. She was used by the Gila Valley, Globe and Northern Railroad until scrapping in 1901. Ball Road from the mm&vm. wm m m&m Kwrrw- '-m -j.-jra.fTi . Mn IJJUJH'UIW.'111'.UJI'J W 0-1 JlLUJl1 '1 JJIJ mill nm in ii i mirn ii1"! itmimi mtm i mmm i imiiih imm lAilllliklllliBilb 0UGRT0 SAN FRANCISCO la Uss tfiFu&SaK , A Td ' Travelers for Pieasfim Health or Busings Will IM W PULLMAH'S PALACE SLEEPIHG CABS GOLD, SILVER. ANDOHER MINERS f Mom ) to WWmZ&TlQV CHEYENNE for OIPEB,DFNTHAl CITY & SANTA Ft mmm wm m mi itm mmnv mm mm$ Bt Stare they Bead via tmmt U is HUnw-ritttity tUll Itatrt StM ftijurr., 4 feing. A NEWSPAPER advertisement in 1869 invited "travelers for pleasure, health or business" to ride the new transcontinental railroad to the West in four days "avoiding the dangers of the seat?' The ad was paid for by the Union Pacific, which used a Paterson-built engine to make the first trip. -' Y ter", its conservative counterpart from the West. Engine 119, in addition to its red cab, had a wine red cap on a gray-black smokestack; Sunlight sparkled off its gold leaf and polished brass. The tender carried -a painting showing palmetto and date palms with a background of orange groves. Another painting adorned the sanddome, picturing a man sow ing his field. , Engine 119 was not typical of the many locomotives manufac tured in Paterson, especially those hundreds it. turned out during the Civil War. Produced First In 1837 Each American railroad com pany during the war years used at least one Paterson engine, purchased from either Rogers or one of its Paterson competitors, among them the Grant Locomotive Works, the Danforth and Cooke Locomotive and Ma chine Works, and William Swin burne's Works. The Rogers, Ketchum, and Grosvenor Company turned out the city's first locomotive in October, 1837, after 16 months of work. At the time cotton was fast becoming Paterson's leading manufacture, but engine building would overtake it in the 1860s. The Civil War's Great Locomotive Raid had two Paterson- built engines, the "General" and the "Texas" playing a leading role. Between 1860 and 1865 Pater son companies produced 800 en gines. In the year the transcontinental railroad opened , the West, 279 were built. Employed 1,000 .During that year, the Rogers Company at its Market and Spruce Street shops employed over 1,000 persons and turned out an average of 10 a month. So Successful was its railroad trade that it gave up all other manufacturing to concentrate on building engines. The Grant Works in 1869 cov ered five acres, employed over 600 men, and produced loo locomotives. Danforth and Cooke Company in 1854 built the first coal burning locomotive in paterson and one of the first in the country. In building locomotives the city's several manufacturers helped fight a war and open the country's wilderness. On . May 10 this year, its contribution will be remembered at the centennial celebration of the transcontinental railroad in Utah. .'-li.Ullll Atlantic to the Pacific ll 7tSJag dagos of fte Sff ' - TT tit T. v 4 ltull HOUU0- HUM : ft:EAt!KC HOUSES AT Platte Valley or Omaha nrwuw T"" 'if novum, m May loth. 889. ... 7. 4

Clipped articles people have found on this page

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 22,900+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Publisher Extra® Newspapers

  • Exclusive licensed content from premium publishers like the The News
  • Archives through last month
  • Continually updated

Try it free