Overnight settlements, better known as "Hell on Wheels," sprang up as the transcontinental railroad crossed Nebraska and Wyoming. They brought opportunity not only for legitimate business but also for gamblers, land speculators, prostitutes, and thugs. Dick Kreck tells their stories along with the heroic individuals who managed, finally, to create permanent towns in the interior West.
Author: David Haward Bain
Release Date: 2000-09-01
After the Civil War, the building of the transcontinental railroad was the nineteenth century's most transformative event. Beginning in 1842 with a visionary's dream to span the continent with twin bands of iron, Empire Express captures three dramatic decades in which the United States effectively doubled in size, fought three wars, and began to discover a new national identity. From self--made entrepreneurs such as the Union Pacific's Thomas Durant and era--defining figures such as President Lincoln to the thousands of laborers whose backbreaking work made the railroad possible, this extraordinary narrative summons an astonishing array of voices to give new dimension not only to this epic endeavor but also to the culture, political struggles, and social conflicts of an unforgettable period in American history.
Author: James K. Wheaton
Publisher: BookCaps Study Guides
Release Date: 2011
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
The First Transcontinental Railroad, originally called the Pacific Railroad, was a railroad built in the United States between 1863 and 1869 that connected the western part of America with its eastern part. Built by the Central Pacific Railroad of California and the Union Pacific Railroad, it connected the Eastern terminus of Council Bluffs, Iowa/Omaha, Nebraska with the railroad lines of the Pacific Ocean at Oakland, California. In time, it would link in with the existing railway network present on the Eastern Coast of America, thus connecting the Atlantic and Pacific coast of the United States for the first time by rail. Because of this, the line received a second nickname, “the Overland Route.” The railroad was a government operation, authorized by Congress during the height of the Civil War. Congress passed the Pacific Railroad Acts in 1862 and again in 1864. To pay for it, the US government issued 30 year bonds, as well as granting government land to contractors. The construction of the line was a major achievement by both the Union Pacific (constructing westward from Iowa) and the Central Pacific (constructing eastward from California). The line was officially opened on May 10, 1869, with the Last Spike driven through the railway at Promontory Summit, Utah. James K. Wheaton looks at the history in this eBook.
Author: John Hoyt Williams
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
Release Date: 1996
The Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads were officially joined on May 10, 1869 at Promontory Point, Utah, with the driving of a golden spike. This historic ceremony marked the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. Spanning the Sierras and the “Great American Desert,” the tracks connected San Francisco to Council Bluffs, Iowa. A Great and Shining Road is the exciting story of a mammoth feat that called forth entrepreneurial daring, financial wizardry, technological innovation, political courage and chicanery, and the heroism of thousands of laborers.
Author: Walter R. Borneman
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2010-09-28
From acclaimed historian Walter R. Borneman comes a dazzling account of the battle to build America’s transcontinental rail lines. Rival Rails is an action-packed epic of how an empire was born—and the remarkable men who made it happen. After the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869, the rest of the country was up for grabs, and the race was on. The prize: a better, shorter, less snowy route through the corridors of the American Southwest, linking Los Angeles to Chicago. In Rival Rails, Borneman lays out in compelling detail the sectional rivalries, contested routes, political posturing, and ambitious business dealings that unfolded as an increasing number of lines pushed their way across the country. Borneman brings to life the legendary business geniuses and so-called robber barons who made millions and fought the elements—and one another—to move America, including William Jackson Palmer, whose leadership of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad relied on innovative narrow gauge trains that could climb steeper grades and take tighter curves; Collis P. Huntington of the Central Pacific and Southern Pacific lines, a magnate insatiably obsessed with trains—and who was not above bribing congressmen to satisfy his passion; Edward Payson Ripley, visionary president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, whose fiscal conservatism and smarts brought the industry back from the brink; and Jay Gould, ultrasecretive, strong-armer and one-man powerhouse. In addition, Borneman captures the herculean efforts required to construct these roads—the laborers who did the back-breaking work, boring tunnels through mountains and throwing bridges across unruly rivers, the brakemen who ran atop moving cars, the tracklayers crushed and killed by runaway trains. From backroom deals in Washington, D.C., to armed robberies of trains in the wild deserts, from glorified cattle cars to streamliners and Super Chiefs, all the great incidents and innovations of a mighty American era are re-created with unprecedented power in Rival Rails. From the Hardcover edition.
On May 24, 1911, one of the most notorious murders in Denver's history occurred. The riveting tale involves high society, adultery, drugs, multiple murder, and more, all set in Denver's grand old hotel, the Brown Palace.
Author: Dick Kreck
Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing
Release Date: 2016-08-01
Take a trip back in time to revel in the scandal, murders, infidelities, financial misdeeds, and just plain bad behavior from Colorado's past. Public respectability does not always translate into tidy private lives, and our interest in the naughty behavior of the rich and famous will never be satisfied. Former Denver Post reporter Dick Kreck takes us back through Colorado's history to show that the foibles of people—rich or poor—remain the same. Included are socialites such as Louise Sneed Hill, who created and ruled over Denver's "Sacred 36" circle of society; Jane Tomberlin, who met and fell in love with a "prince" in an elevator at the Brown Palace Hotel; Irene Nolan, who cavorted late into the night with her family priest; and prominent Denver clubman Courtland Dines, who was wounded during a frolic with two silent-screen stars in his Hollywood apartment.
Author: Martin W. Sandler
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: 2015-09-08
Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction
In the 1850s, gold fever swept the West, but people had to walk, sail, or ride horses for months on end to seek their fortune. The question of faster, safer transportation was posed by national leaders. But with 1,800 miles of seemingly impenetrable mountains, searing deserts, and endless plains between the Missouri River and San Francisco, could a transcontinental railroad be built? It seemed impossible. Eventually, two railroad companies, the Central Pacific, which laid the tracks eastward, and the Union Pacific, which moved west, began the job. In one great race between iron men with iron wills, tens of thousands of workers blasted the longest tunnels that had ever been constructed, built the highest bridges that had ever been created, and finally linked the nation by two bands of steel, changing America forever.
From one of the most beloved Western authors comes an epic historical tale of adventure and romance in the great wilderness. Against the epic backdrop of the building of the Union Pacific Railroad across plains and deserts and through the mountains to meet up with the Southern Pacific in Utah comes a sprawling, historical tale. Warren Neale is a brilliant civil engineer who is constantly confronted with construction problems. He is sided by Larry Red King, a Texas gunfighter and friend. Allie Lee, who is heading east from California on a wagon train, is the sole survivor of an Indian raid in the Black Hills. Neale and a small company of US cavalry find Allie hidden at the scene and nearly out of her mind in terror. Al Slingerland, a trapper and buffalo hunter, has a cabin in a nearby valley, and Allie is taken there to recover. Benton is the wild town set up overnight to service the vices of the multitude of railroad workers. The only law is that which the soldiers impose, but their concern is not really in enforcing law in Benton, but in protecting the men laying the tracks and the supply trains. In addition to the natural obstacles that impede the building of the Union Pacific, workers must contend with the equally great weight of constant graft and corruption, against which Larry Red King’s guns can afford no protection. In this magnificent panorama of constant danger and adventure, the many lives involved, including ruthless gamblers and women of the evening, and the slow but monumental progress of the laying of the track through the wilderness, Zane Grey vividly brings to life a lost time and society in a grand novel, now published as he had first written it. Skyhorse Publishing is proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in fiction that takes place in the old West. Westerns—books about outlaws, sheriffs, chiefs and warriors, cowboys and Indians—are a genre in which we publish regularly. Our list includes international bestselling authors like Zane Gray and Louis L’Amour, and many more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
Author: Larry K. Brown
Release Date: 2001
Genre: Social Science
Historian Larry Brown once again uses his incredible research skills to bring the Old West to life. In this third volume of Brown's territorial crime series, he introduces us to the twenty-three women who served time in Old Wyoming's penitentiary. What did these women, wearing frills, lace, and their best bonnets for their mug shots, do to deserve time behind bars? Anna Bruce baked poison into her father's plum pie; Anna Trout abandoned her grandson in a train depot; Stella Gatlin found her kleptomania didn't mix with her work as a postmaster; Eliza "Big Jack" Stewart shot a man in the neck at a dance. The photographs in this book alone make it worth the price.
Horn was a death sentence to rustlers and the devil incarnate to homesteaders in late nineteenth-century Wyoming. The most notorious of the range detectives and the pre-eminent name in Wyoming history, he operated unchecked until he was arrested for the 1901 murder of the fourteen-year-old son of a sheep-ranching settler. The murder and questionable nature of Horn's conviction still ignite firestorms of controversy among historians and Wyomingites in general. With findings never before published, author Chip Carlson's monumental research draws the reader into questioning whether Tom Horn was actually railroaded for a murder he did not commit -- but could have. In this, Carlson's third book on events surrounding Tom Horn, he points to the probable killer of Willie Nickell. Many photographs and documents enhance this new book. Cover and interior artwork have been provided by Wyoming artist Larry Edgar. A foreword by Larry D. Ball, Ph.D., places the events in perspective. Before he was hanged Horn said, "I have lived about fifteen ordinary lives. I would like to have had somebody who saw my past and could picture it to the public. It would be the most god damn interesting reading in the country." Now author Chip Carlson provides that reading.
Started by Italian brothers from North Denver, the high-profile Smaldone crime syndicate began in the bootlegging days of the 1920s and flourished into the 1980s. Connected to notorious crime figures, politicians, and presidents, Clyde Smaldone was the crime family's leader. Through candid interviews and firsthand accounts, Dick Kreck reveals the true sense of what it meant to be a Smaldone, not only the corrupt but also the virtuous.Dick Kreck retired from The Denver Post after thirty-eight years as a columnist. He is the author of four other books, including Murder at the Brown Palace. He lives in Denver, Colorado.