Great Northern Railway (U.S.)

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''[[United States|United States]]  [[Image:Gotoarrow-kelly.png]]  [[United States Migration Internal|Migration]]  [[Image:Gotoarrow-kelly.png]]  [[US Migration Railroads|Railroads]]  [[Image:Gotoarrow-kelly.png]]  [[Great Northern Railway (U.S.)|Great Northern Railway (U.S.)]]''  
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''[[United States|United States]]  [[Image:Gotoarrow-kelly.png]]  [[United States Migration Internal|Migration]]  [[Image:Gotoarrow-kelly.png]]  [[US Migration Railroads|Railroads]]  [[Image:Gotoarrow-kelly.png]]  [[Great_Northern_Railway_(U.S.)|Great Northern Railway (U.S.)]]''  
  
[[Image:Pecos Viaduct.jpg|thumb|right|500px]]  
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[[Image:{{MariasPass}}]]  
  
The Great Northern Railway was the only "[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcontinental_railroad transcontinental]" service built without grants from the federal government, and one of the few that did not go into receivership in the Panic of 1893. It's transcontinental route primarily from St. Paul, Minnesota to Seattle, Washington was north of the Northern Pacific route. This was the sixth railroad company in the United States to offer transcontinental service. Their route was built up slowly by making each part commercially successful before building further. It was completed in 1893.  
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The Great Northern Railway was the only "[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcontinental_railroad transcontinental]" service built with almost no land grants from the federal government, and one of the few that did not go into receivership in the Panic of 1893. It's transcontinental route primarily from St. Paul, [[Minnesota|Minnesota]] to Seattle, [[Washington]] was north of the Northern Pacific route. This was the sixth railroad company in the United States to offer transcontinental service. Their route was built up slowly by making each part commercially successful before building further. It was completed in 1893.  
  
Settlers were attracted to nearby communities because the railroads provided access to markets. Railroads encouraged settlement along their routes to help increase the need for their service. For example, the Great Northern supplied seed and animals to start-up farmers, held promotional contents for largest farm animal and largest freight car capacity.<ref>Wikipedia contributors, "Great Northern Railway (U.S.)" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Northern_Railway_%28U.S.%29 (accessed 17 September 2010).</ref> If an ancestor settled near a railroad, you may be able to trace their place of origin back to another place along the tracks.  
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Settlers were attracted to nearby communities because the railroads provided access to markets. Railroads encouraged settlement along their routes to help increase the need for their service. For example, the Great Northern in some cases paid immigrant expenses from Europe, supplied seed and animals to start-up farmers, held promotional contests for largest farm animal and largest freight car capacity.<ref name="GN">Wikipedia contributors, "Great Northern Railway (U.S.)" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Northern_Railway_%28U.S.%29 (accessed 17 September 2010).</ref> If an ancestor settled near a railroad, you may be able to trace their place of origin back to another place along the tracks.  
  
 
=== Historical Background  ===
 
=== Historical Background  ===
  
Early transcontinental railroad visionaries proposed several possible routes including one along the border with Canada. Such a route offered more flat prairie land and known mountain passes, but had the disadvantage of less population and greater snow-weather problems.<ref>David A. Lanegran and Carol Louise Urness, ''Minnesota on the Map : a Historical Atlas'' (St. Paul, Minnesota : Minnesota Historical Society Press, c2008) ({{FHL|977.6 E7L}}) [http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/176640810 WorldCat entry].</ref>  
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Early transcontinental railroad visionaries proposed several possible routes including one along the border with Canada. Such a route offered more flat prairie land and known mountain passes, but had the disadvantage of less population and greater snow-weather problems.<ref>David A. Lanegran and Carol Louise Urness, ''Minnesota on the Map : a Historical Atlas'' (St. Paul, Minnesota : Minnesota Historical Society Press, c2008), 116-17. ({{FHL|977.6 E7L}}) [http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/176640810 WorldCat entry].</ref>  
  
The Great Northern was formed by James J. Hill in 1865 to link San Francisco and San Diego, California by rail. By 1877 they were building track east into Yuma, [[Arizona|Arizona]] and headed for [[New Mexico|New Mexico]] and [[Texas|Texas]].<ref>Wikipedia contributors, "Southern Pacific Transportation Company" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Southern_Pacific_Transportation_Company (accessed 4 July 2009).</ref> In March 1881 the [[Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway|Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway]] connected with Southern Pacific lines at Deming, [[New Mexico|New Mexco]] to form the second [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcontinental_railroad transcontinental] line. A few months later, in December 1881 the Southern Pacific linked with the [[Texas and Pacific Railway|Texas and Pacfic Railway]] at Sierra Blanca, [[Texas]] to form the third "transcontinental" railroad. Fourteen months later in February 1883 the Southern Pacific completed an expensive low bridge over the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pecos_River Pecos River] in Texas linking New Orleans, [[Louisiana]] to Los Angeles, [[California|California]] entirely on its own tracks (fourth transcontinental line).<ref>American Western History Museums, "Southern Pacific Railroad" in "Western Railroads" in ''American Western History Museums'' at http://www.linecamp.com/museums/americanwest/western_clubs/southern_pacific_railroad/southern_pacific_railroad.html (accessed 4 July 2009).</ref> In 1892 Southern Pacific eliminated 11 miles of steep and curvy grades on its Sunset Route in [[Texas]] by building a new [http://www.nps.gov/amis/historyculture/viaduct.htm Pecos Viaduct] (high bridge) 5 mile further north near Langtry, Texas, for many years the highest bridge in America. This viaduct was replaced with a new railroad bridge including all concrete piers in 1944.<ref>U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, "Amistad National Recreation Area: The Pecos Viaduct" in ''National Park Service [Internet site]'' at http://www.nps.gov/amis/historyculture/viaduct.htm (accessed 4 July 2009).</ref>[[Image:Southern Pacific RR map.png|thumb|right]]
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The Great Northern was formed by [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Jerome_Hill James J. Hill] in 1889 by merging three railroads, the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway, and the Montana Central Railroad. His goal was the produce profits on lines before extending them further. He also sought the flattest, straightest possible route with fewest curves. The Great Northern crossed the continental divide at Marias Pass, 5,213 feet, lowest divide crossing south of the Canadian border.<ref name="GN" />
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A few months after the transcontinental line was completed the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panic_of_1893 Panic of 1893] started. Hill aggressively reduced expenses, including repeatedly cutting employee wages. By also cutting fares, freight rates, and extending credit he actually increased the value of the Great Northern Railway during the panic. However, after the panic there were strikes and he had to restore wages to pre-panic levels.<ref>Wikipedia contributors. "James Jerome Hill" in ''Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/eng/James_Jerome_Hill (accessed 17 September 2010).</ref>  
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Routes were also extended into [[Montana|Montana]] mining areas, and south from Seattle into [[California|California]]. The California connections made the Great Northern one of the main competitors to the [[Union Pacific Railroad]]. The Great Northern, the Northern Pacific, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy, and the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railways merged to become the Burlington Northern in 1970. In 1995 a merger with the [[Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway|Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad]] created the BNSF Railway.<ref name="GN" />  
  
 
=== Route  ===
 
=== Route  ===
Line 17: Line 21:
 
From east to west some of the most signficant towns on a typical route were:  
 
From east to west some of the most signficant towns on a typical route were:  
  
*New Orleans, [[Louisiana|Louisiana]]  
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*Chicago, [[Illinois]]  
*Marshall, [[Texas]]  
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*Prairie du Chien, [[Wisconsin]]  
*Houston, Texas
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*La Crosse, Wisconsin[[Image:{{GNroute}}]]
*San Antonio, Texas
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*St. Paul, [[Minnesota]]
*El Paso, Texas
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*Minneapolis, Minnesota
*Deming, [[New Mexico|New Mexico]]
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*Moorhead, Minnesota
*Tucson, [[Arizona|Arizona&nbsp;]]  
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*Fargo, [[North Dakota]]  
*Yuma, Arizona
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*Minot, North Dakota
*Los Angeles, [[California|California]]
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*Culbertson, [[Montana]]  
 
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*Havre, Montana
Routes in [[Oregon|Oregon]] and the old [[Central Pacific Railroad|Central Pacific]] tracks&nbsp;through [[Nevada|Nevada]] to Ogden, [[Utah|Utah]] also were controlled at various times by the Southern Pacific Company.<ref>Wikipedia contributors, "Southern Pacific Transportation Company" in ''Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia'' at http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Southern_Pacific_Transportation_Company (accessed 4 July 2009).</ref>
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*East Glacier National Park, Montana
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*Kalispell, Montana
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*near Coeur d'Alene, [[Idaho]]  
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*Spokane, [[Washington]]  
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*Seattle, Washington
  
 
=== Settlers and Records  ===
 
=== Settlers and Records  ===
  
Settlers who made their way west on the Southern Pacific were likely to be from the southern states, especially [[Louisiana|Louisiana]] and [[Texas|Texas]]. However, via the [[Texas and Pacific Railway|Texas and Pacific Railway]] link to St. Louis, [[Missouri|Missouri]], and the [[Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway|Atcheson, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway]] link to Chicago, [[Illinois|Illinois]] many people using the Southern Pacific Railroad to settle in [[New Mexico|New Mexico]], [[Arizona|Arizona]], and [[California|California]] could also have come from&nbsp;Midwestern states as well.  
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Settlers who made their way west on the Great Northern Railway were likely to be from the Midwestern states, especially [[Illinois]], [[Wisconsin]], or [[Minnesota]]. The railroad also helped some overseas immigrants from Eastern Europe settle along their lines. Most people using the Great Northern to migrate would have settled in [[Minnesota]], [[North Dakota]], [[Montana]], [[Idaho]], or [[Washington]], but especially Minnesota and Washington.  
  
There are no known passenger lists for the Southern Pacific Railroad.  
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There are no known passenger lists for the Great Northern Railway. GN employee records were destroyed as a result the 1970 merger. {{Wikipedia|Great Northern Railway (U.S.)}}{{Wikipedia|James Jerome Hill}}
  
 
=== Internet Links  ===
 
=== Internet Links  ===
  
*[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Pacific_Transportation_Company Wikipedia - Southern Pacific Transportation Company] - timeline, accidents, passenger service, locomotives, officers, affiliated companies<br>
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*[http://www.gnrhs.org/ Great Northern Railway Historical Society] - FAQs, reference sheets, conventions, research and archives, history.
*[http://www.sphts.org/pmcclosky/spwebresources.html Peter J. McClosky's Southern Pacific Railroad Web Resources Page] - Comprehensive list of hundreds of Internet links to historical societies, bibliographies, personal stories, equipment, ferries and boats, freight cars, locomotives, passenger cars, stations, tunnels, and museums<br>
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*[http://www.american-rails.com/great-northern-railway.html American Rails: Great Northern page] - history.
*[http://www.sphts.org/ Southern Pacific Historical &amp; Technical Society] - Society, archives, and how to find resources such as official company records
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=== Sources  ===
 
=== Sources  ===
  
{{reflist}}<br><br>
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{{reflist}}  
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{{Idaho|Idaho}}{{Illinois|Illinois}}{{Iowa|Iowa}}{{Minnesota|Minnesota}}{{Montana|Montana}}{{North Dakota|North Dakota}}{{Oregon|Oregon}}{{South Dakota|South Dakota}}{{Washington|Washington}}{{Wisconsin|Wisconsin}}
  
[[Category:Migration_Routes|Southern_Pacific_Railroad]] [[Category:United_States_Migration_Internal|Southern_Pacific_Railroad]] [[Category:US_Migration_Railroads|Southern_Pacific_Railroad]] [[Category:Louisiana|Southern_Pacific_Railroad]] [[Category:Texas|Southern_Pacific_Railroad]] [[Category:New_Mexico|Southern_Pacific_Railroad]] [[Category:Arizona|Southern_Pacific_Railroad]] [[Category:California|Southern_Pacific_Railroad]] [[Category:Oregon|Southern_Pacific_Railroad]] [[Category:Nevada|Southern_Pacific_Railroad]] [[Category:Utah|Southern_Pacific_Railroad]] [[Category:Mexico|Southern_Pacific_Railroad]]
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[[Category:US_Migration_Railroads]]
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[[Category:Idaho]]  
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[[Category:Illinois]]
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[[Category:Iowa]]  
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[[Category:Minnesota]]  
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[[Category:Montana]]  
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[[Category:North_Dakota]]  
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[[Category:Oregon]]  
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[[Category:South_Dakota]]  
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[[Category:Washington]]  
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[[Category:Wisconsin]]

Revision as of 18:56, 16 December 2010

United States  Gotoarrow-kelly.png  Migration  Gotoarrow-kelly.png  Railroads  Gotoarrow-kelly.png  Great Northern Railway (U.S.)

Marias Pass, Montana is the lowest U.S. railroad crossing of the Continental Divide. Here a BNSF (successor to Great Northern) train emerges from a snow shed.

The Great Northern Railway was the only "transcontinental" service built with almost no land grants from the federal government, and one of the few that did not go into receivership in the Panic of 1893. It's transcontinental route primarily from St. Paul, Minnesota to Seattle, Washington was north of the Northern Pacific route. This was the sixth railroad company in the United States to offer transcontinental service. Their route was built up slowly by making each part commercially successful before building further. It was completed in 1893.

Settlers were attracted to nearby communities because the railroads provided access to markets. Railroads encouraged settlement along their routes to help increase the need for their service. For example, the Great Northern in some cases paid immigrant expenses from Europe, supplied seed and animals to start-up farmers, held promotional contests for largest farm animal and largest freight car capacity.[1] If an ancestor settled near a railroad, you may be able to trace their place of origin back to another place along the tracks.

Contents

Historical Background

Early transcontinental railroad visionaries proposed several possible routes including one along the border with Canada. Such a route offered more flat prairie land and known mountain passes, but had the disadvantage of less population and greater snow-weather problems.[2]

The Great Northern was formed by James J. Hill in 1889 by merging three railroads, the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway, and the Montana Central Railroad. His goal was the produce profits on lines before extending them further. He also sought the flattest, straightest possible route with fewest curves. The Great Northern crossed the continental divide at Marias Pass, 5,213 feet, lowest divide crossing south of the Canadian border.[1]

A few months after the transcontinental line was completed the Panic of 1893 started. Hill aggressively reduced expenses, including repeatedly cutting employee wages. By also cutting fares, freight rates, and extending credit he actually increased the value of the Great Northern Railway during the panic. However, after the panic there were strikes and he had to restore wages to pre-panic levels.[3]

Routes were also extended into Montana mining areas, and south from Seattle into California. The California connections made the Great Northern one of the main competitors to the Union Pacific Railroad. The Great Northern, the Northern Pacific, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy, and the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railways merged to become the Burlington Northern in 1970. In 1995 a merger with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad created the BNSF Railway.[1]

Route

From east to west some of the most signficant towns on a typical route were:

  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin
  • La Crosse, Wisconsin
    Great Northern Railway route map about 1920 in brown.
  • St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Moorhead, Minnesota
  • Fargo, North Dakota
  • Minot, North Dakota
  • Culbertson, Montana
  • Havre, Montana
  • East Glacier National Park, Montana
  • Kalispell, Montana
  • near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
  • Spokane, Washington
  • Seattle, Washington

Settlers and Records

Settlers who made their way west on the Great Northern Railway were likely to be from the Midwestern states, especially Illinois, Wisconsin, or Minnesota. The railroad also helped some overseas immigrants from Eastern Europe settle along their lines. Most people using the Great Northern to migrate would have settled in Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, or Washington, but especially Minnesota and Washington.

There are no known passenger lists for the Great Northern Railway. GN employee records were destroyed as a result the 1970 merger.
Wikipedia
Wikipedia has more about this subject: Great Northern Railway (U.S.)
Wikipedia
Wikipedia has more about this subject: James Jerome Hill

Internet Links

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Wikipedia contributors, "Great Northern Railway (U.S.)" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Northern_Railway_%28U.S.%29 (accessed 17 September 2010).
  2. David A. Lanegran and Carol Louise Urness, Minnesota on the Map : a Historical Atlas (St. Paul, Minnesota : Minnesota Historical Society Press, c2008), 116-17. (FHL 977.6 E7L) WorldCat entry.
  3. Wikipedia contributors. "James Jerome Hill" in Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/eng/James_Jerome_Hill (accessed 17 September 2010).

Cite error: <ref> tags exist, but no <references/> tag was found