Gulf to Rockies The Heritage of the Fort Worth and Denver-Colorado and Southern
Gulf to Rockies The Heritage of the Fort Worth and Denver-Colorado and Southern
Gulf to Rockies The Heritage of the Fort Worth and Denver-Colorado and Southern
Gulf to Rockies The Heritage of the Fort Worth and Denver-Colorado and Southern
Gulf to Rockies The Heritage of the Fort Worth and Denver-Colorado and Southern
Gulf to Rockies The Heritage of the Fort Worth and Denver-Colorado and Southern

Gulf to Rockies The Heritage of the Fort Worth and Denver-Colorado and Southern

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Gulf to Rockies The Heritage of the Fort Worth and Denver-Colorado and Southern
 
Gulf to Rockies The Heritage of the Fort Worth and Denver-Colorado and Southern Railways, 1861-1898 by Richard Overton
Hard cover with dust jacket (has been taped)
Copyright 1953
410 pages
indexed
Gulf to Rockies is a chapter in the busiand economic history of the American West and the story of two of the most colorrailroad builders of the nineteenth cen.
Throughout the 1860's the mineral treasof Colorado were virtually inaccessible for lack of railroads. Even after a hectic decade of building in the 1870's, the state faced a new sort of isolation : every railroad crossing her borders was controlled by the Union Pacific or the Santa Fe. As a result, the Rocky Mountain region could not hope to compete with the Midwest for the busiof the Atlantic seaboard.
To remedy this situation, John Evans, former governor of Colorado, organized in 1881 a railroad to run southward from Denas the first link in a cheap rail-water route via the Gulf of Mexico to the East. Meanwhile ambitious Fort Worth citizens had incorporated the Fort Worth and DenCity in 1873. Not a rail was laid on either road, however, until General GrenM. Dodge, famed builder of the Union Pacific and the Texas Pacific, took up the Texas project and joined forces with Evans to create the Gulf-to-Rockies route.
It took seven years for these men and their associates to mobilize funds and complete the Fort Worth-Denver line, and another decade to establish the system's independand solve its financial problems in the face of drought, depression, and intense competition.
Gulf to Rockies was written under special agreements with Northwestern University and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, whereby the university relieved Mr. Overton of a part of his duties in order that he might have time for research and writing and the railroad undertook to bear the cost of the research. The Burlington also permitted him free access to all company records and granted him unrestricted freeto publish his findings. This volume is No. 1 in the Northwestern University series "Studies in Business History."


. Contents
Thanksvii
'cote on Documentation .2
Introduction3
1. The Colorado Setting, 1861-80 .6
2. The Texas Homeland, 1873-81 .25
3. Evans in the Lion's Den, 188139
4. Dodge and Evans: A Study in Contrasts, 1881-83 .61
5. The Fort Worth and Denver City Steps Out, 1881-83 .89
6. Northward to the Canadian, 1883-86 .109
7. Breaking the Northern Stalemate, 1883-87131
8. The Rails Are Joined, 1887-88 .157
9. Independence for the Panhandle, 1888-89192
10. The Union Pacific Moves In, 1888-90 .217
11. Mounting Incompatibility, 1890-9312. The Union Pacific Moves Out, 1893 .289
13. Rehabilitation in the North, 1893-96 .311
14. Revival by Miracle in Texas, 1893-98 .331
15. Birth of the Colorado and Southern, 1896-98 .354
Conclusion .375
Around the Circle377
Bibliography385
Index .395
Illustrations
General Grenville M. Dodge
Governor John Evans
Main Street, Fort Worth, about 1876 .
Main Street, Fort Worth, 1881 .
Morgan Jones
Charles L. Frost
Frank Trumbull
Major K. M. Van Zandt .
Fort Worth and Denver City equipment and roundhouse
Texas Spring Palace, Fort Worth .
Announcement of first passenger service on Fort Worth
and Denver City
Union Pacific, Denver and Gulf pass .
Circular letter publicizing town lots along Fort Worth
and Denver City .
Introduction
WITHOUT RAILROADS the social and economic development of the great American West would have been impossible. Nature, indeed, had endowed the area with fabulous riches and boundless op, but in doing so, as if to tease puny but acquisitive Man, had scattered her gifts over an enormous landlocked territory. There they might have remained, isolated and unused indefinitely, had it not been for the coming of the rails.
Even after the steam railroad had proved itself technically feasible, Western railroad-building was not simply a matter of laying track and furnishing equipment whenever and wherever traffic might warrant it. When the Civil War-and this story-began, less than 5 per cent of the nation's population lived beyond the westernmost terminus of the railnetwork at St. Joseph, on the Missouri River. Of these, over half were in eastern Texas or eastern Kansas and more than a quarter on the Pacific Coast. Most of the rest were clustered around Santa Fe, Salt Lake City, and the mining camps near Denver. Elsewhere, for all pracpurposes, the West was empty save, of course, for Indians, scattered miners, trappers and traders, and a plethora of wildlife.
So it was that the railways literally spearheaded the occupation of the West, often piercing beyond the frontier areas which boasted two to six persons per square mile. The roads, in fact, had to create communias they moved forward so as to generate traffic for a livelihood. This necessity posed difficult problems in both colonization and financing. Could well-balanced towns be brought to life virtually overnight at bar- ren railheads? Could funds be attracted to wilderness enterprises that had to be in operation before they could begin to pay for their original cost, let alone day-to-day expenses?
There were other stubborn problems. As in every new country, labor was scarce and unskilled. It was difficult to obtain supplies, and even
more so to keep them moving to where they were needed. Communicawas slow and uncertain. Competition among railroads, violent and unrestrained, was a constant threat both during and after construc. And because Western roads were habitually forced to extend to the extreme their slender physical and financial resources, they were pevulnerable to the onslaughts of floods, droughts, pestilence, and depressions.
Yet somehow the Western rail network was built, most of it between the Civil War and the close of the century, the period covered by this story. Some fortunes were made; many more were lost. But the key obwas attained. The treasure chest of the West was opened, and a whole new society, distinctive in outlook and talent, came into being. The speed with which this was accomplished has no parallel in recorded history.
This book tells a part-probably a typical part-of that story. Like the history of all human enterprises, it begins with a vision, no less a one than linking by rail the Gulf of Mexico and the heart of Texas with the center of the Rocky Mountain region. There were other dreams too, noble ones about the future of Denver and Fort Worth as commercial centers, about the development of Colorado coal and the colonization of the Panhandle. But the central aspiration was ever the creation of a mighty intersectional steel highway that would bring civilization and prosperity to the territory it served. How that goal was reached and made secure forms the core of this book.
Logically enough, the Gulf-to-Rockies enterprise was a dual project throughout, sponsored and implemented in both Texas and Colorado. Yet the final product, still in the form of a partnership, was unified in spirit and purpose.
From the vantage point of hindsight, it is a matter of wonderment that, under conditions then prevailing, men had the courage to underwhat they did. It is even more fascinating to watch how, by the slimmest of margins and despite their human fallibility, they finally suc. But the most amazing aspect of all is the fact that those priresponsible for the outcome simply took their achievement in stride. Therein, perhaps, lies the distinctive quality of the American spirit.
By and large, this story is told from the standpoint of the entrepre, the men who had to make the specific decisions that determined both short-run tactics and long-run strategy. In time those successive de, and the actions and reactions springing from them, gave rise to the policies and standards that constitute the basic heritage of the presFort Worth and Denver-Colorado and Southern.
During the half-century and more that has elapsed since this story ends, difficult new problems have, of course, been added to those of an earlier day. Yet the railroad's prime obligation-to move goods and people safely and efficiently and to build up the territory served-has remained unchanged.
So it is that fully to understand the present and to face the future with lasting confidence, it is wise, perhaps even necessary, to comprehend the lessons and significance of the past. The prime purpose of this book is to enhance that comprehension: to examine and appraise the motives, techniques, and attitudes that characterized Western railroading in the latter part of the nineteenth century.
Gulf to Rockies is by design a human story, told more in terms of peothan of things. This is not to minimize the importance of tangible ac, but comes about simply because why and how particular men thought, felt, and acted had far more to do with the heritage they left than what they finally did. Indeed, the Gulf-to-Rockies road of 1898, so far as physical plant and operations went, would seem patheticrude today. But the spirit that created that system as an institution and guided it up to that point is still an integral part of the modern going concern.
Of what stuff was that spirit made? What sort of heritage was it?




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