« ForrigeFortsett »
NEW YORK TO PITTSBURGH, CHICAGO, OMAHA, FORT KEARNY, AND DENVER-PROGRESS OF THE UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD-VISIT OF GOVERNMENT DIRECTORS, ETC., ETC.
DENVER CITY, COLORADO, Monday, Sept. 17, 1866.
Ir is now about two weeks since I left New York, in company with the Government Directors of the Union Pacific Railroad, for the purpose of inspecting the rapid construction of that greatest of modern enterprises; and also examining the different routes which have been proposed for the road through the passes of the Rocky Mountains; and it seems to me that during that time I have learned more of the vast extent and resources of our continent than I had ever known before.
Leaving New York on the evening of the 4th September, by the New Jersey, and Pennsylvania Central Railroads, we arrived at Pittsburgh on the 5th for dinner, after which we were placed in the Government Presidential car, which conveyed us most comfortably to Chicago in time to witness the interesting ceremonies of laying the corner-stone of the Douglas monument, pay our respects to the Presidential party, and hear the eloquent address of General Dix.
On Friday evening, the 7th, we continued our journey from Chicago westward over the Iowa division of the
Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, in the magnificent Directors' car, which was kindly placed at the disposal of the Government Directors by Mr. Dunlap, the General Superintendent, and which conveyed us to the end of the track, a distance of about four hundred miles west of Chicago. From this point we were compelled to make the balance of the distance to Omaha, about ninety miles, by stage. The rails are to be laid, however, upon this portion of the route by the 1st of April next.
We arrived at Omaha, the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific Railroad, on the morning of the 10th, and spent the day in examining the extensive shops of the Company, which have all been constructed within the past year.
DEPARTURE FROM OMAHA.
On the morning of the 11th, the Directors accompanied by Gen. G. M. Dodge, Chief Engineer, Major Bent, Major Chesbrough and myself, took a special train, in charge of Mr. S. B. Reed, the General Superintendent, for the end of the track, which was then laid two hundred and seventeen miles westward, in the Great Platte Valley. We arrived opposite Fort Kearny at four P. M., having passed over two hundred miles of road in eight hours, or at the rate of twenty-five miles an hour.
It may not be improper to state in this connection, that only forty miles of track were laid on this road during the latter part of 1865. And the balance, or about one hundred and eighty miles, has been laid during the present season; and the track-laying is now progressing so rapidly that it will reach the crossing of the North Platte river, a distance of two hundred and eighty-five miles from Omaha, by the 1st of November.
The law requires the President of the United States to
appoint five Directors to represent the Government in the management of the road. And it also requires these Directors to visit the road as often as they think proper, and make a report upon its condition, management, and progress, to the Secretary of the Interior.
The following are the names of these Directors-Hon. George Ashmun, of Mass.; Hon. Jesse L. Williams, of Ind.; Hon. T. J. Carter, of Ill.; Hon. Springer Harbaugh, of Penn.; and Hon. Charles T. Sherman, of Ohio. Mr. Ashmun did not accompany the party.
Our party separated at Kearny Station, and three of the Government Directors, Messrs. Harbaugh, Carter, and Sherman, remained on the north side of the Platte for the purpose of inspecting the balance of the completed portion of the road, and then returning eastward. While the other Government Director, Hon. Jesse L. Williams, who is also an engineer of great experience, together with Gen. G. M. Dodge, Major Chesbrough and myself, crossed over to the stage station, near Fort Kearny, for the purpose of continuing our journey by stage to the Rocky Mountains.
FROM FORT KEARNY TO DENVER CITY.
We left Fort Kearny at one P. M., on Wednesday, the 12th inst., and arrived at Denver at ten A. M., on the following Saturday, making the entire distance of four hundred miles in less than three days and nights. The speed, comfort, and regularity of these Ben Holladay Overland stages is certainly astonishing, when we consider the fact that they pass through hundreds and thousands of miles of almost uninhabited country; and that it is only five years since the experiment was first attempted. Our party was exceedingly fortunate in falling in company
with Gen. Hughes, the attorney of the Stage Company, who, with his daughter, accompanied us from Omaha to Denver.
FIRST VIEW OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.
Our first view of the Rocky Mountains was from a point on the Plains about one hundred miles distant, and about an hour before sunset on Friday evening, the 14th inst. A heavy cloud had been lying along the western horizon during the whole afternoon, and it was feared that we should not obtain the long coveted view before the following morning; but, fortunately, the sun broke through and dispelled the lower belt of clouds just in time to give us a magnificent view of the entire range, and enable us to see the setting of the sun behind Long's Peak, the highest in the range.
The appearance of Denver, as you approach it from the east, is not very imposing. The town is situated in the valley of the South Platte, at the mouth of Cherry Creek, about twelve miles in a direct line from the base of the mountains. And the swell, or elevation of the plain to the eastward, hides it from view until you approach within about three miles of the town. It then bursts upon the view as if by magic; and presents a most comfortable and inviting appearance to the weary traveller from the Plains, who has seen nothing but log and adobe ranches, at intervals of ten and twenty miles, for many long and weary days and nights.
Denver boasts of four or five thousand inhabitants. The streets are regularly laid out; and there are many fine brick blocks, either constructed or in course of con
struction. You can purchase' almost anything here that can be purchased in New York, but at prices from fifty to one hundred per cent. higher. The hotels are very ordinary. Nothing would improve the town more than the construction of two or three first-class hotels.
We are about to start on our trip through the mountains by way of Golden City, Idaho, and Empire City, to Berthoud's Pass.
General Dodge and Major Chesbrough will go from here directly to Laporte, where Mr. Williams and myself are to join them after our return from the mountains.