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Railroad Transportation – Oregon’s railway system formed the foundation of Oregon’s development and industrialization in the late 19 th and early 20 th.

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Presentation on theme: "Railroad Transportation – Oregon’s railway system formed the foundation of Oregon’s development and industrialization in the late 19 th and early 20 th."— Presentation transcript:

1 Railroad Transportation – Oregon’s railway system formed the foundation of Oregon’s development and industrialization in the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries.

2 The First Railroads Come to Oregon ● Railroads had already changed life in the east by the mid-1800’s, bringing prosperity and industrialization. Oregon still had only river navigation and overland wagons for travel and transport of goods. Oregonians anxiously awaited the arrival of railroads to their territory. ● Congress began granting federal land to develop railroads in 1850, opening up the west for railroads that would bring settlers, and allow goods to flow easily to and from Oregon country. ● The Oregon Steam Navigation Company built the state’s first railroads in 1863, a pair of short portage lines used to move goods around the rapids at Celilo Falls and the Cascades. ● In 1868, Ben Holliday began building the Oregon and California Railroad up the Willamette Valley. It was intended to link Oregon to the transcontinental railway that was about to reach California. He made it to McMinnville, and then ran out of money.

3 Wheat farming in eastern Washington stimulates railroads to Portland ● The Columbia River was the main route for shipping grain to market. ● Dr. Dorsey Baker built a rail line from Walla Walla to the mouth of the Walla Walla River on the Columbia in ● It was called the “Rawhide Railroad” because there was no steel, so he used wooden ties covered with iron, although legend says it was leather. ● He floated logs from the Yakima River Valley down the Columbia to use as ties. ● Railroads reduced the price of shipping grain to the Columbia, but a railroad was still needed to Portland, as navigation of the river was difficult and expensive.

4 Henry Villard brings the First Transcontinental Railroad to the Columbia River ● Villard, a German, came to Oregon in 1873 to oversee the interests of German bondholders in the Oregon and California Railroad. ● He took over control of the Oregon and California, purchased the Oregon Steam Navigation Company, added the “Rawhide Railroad”, and combined all of these into the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company. ● In 1882, Villard built a railway line on the Oregon side of the Columbia River. ● He bought stock in the Northern Pacific and took control over it, and linked the Northern Pacific to his Oregon Railway and Navigation Company line along the Columbia River to make a transcontinental railroad link to Portland. ● His new rail route funneled trade from the east to Portland, not Seattle.

5 The railroad brings large-scale development of the Columbia River country ● The population of Oregon almost doubled every decade from ● Settlers were arriving at the rate of 1,000 per week in 1890 ● 2.5 million acres of new farmland were opened up in Washington, Oregon and Idaho between 1880 and ● Logging grew from modest operations near streams to industrial scale harvests wherever a branch railroad could be put.

6 Railroads Brought Growth and Prosperity to Oregon ● Railroads became the determining factor in the life or death of cities. For example, Jacksonville was a mining boom town in the 1850’s. When the Oregon and California Railroad bypassed it for Ashland, Jacksonville sank into obscurity. ● Trains brought in bulky equipment such as seeders, cultivators and steam-powered threshers that multiplied the number of acres a family could farm. ● In Linn County in the Willamette Valley, wheat production increased 250% in seven years after the trains arrived. ● Rails reached Eugene in 1871, and smaller feeder lines helped Willamette Valley farms prosper by shipping their goods to Portland’s seaport.

7 Trains promoted industrialization and drew workers to towns and cities ● Oregon’s industries included railway repair, wool factories, fish canneries, print shops, flour mills, and lumber. ● Lumber, salmon and wool were Oregon’s only significant processed exports. ● Trains allowed shipments of meat, wool, lumber and minerals to distant markets. ● Many Chinese immigrants came to Oregon in search of work. They were instrumental in building the railroads.

8 Timber Became the Leading Industry in Oregon ● Steam locomotives traveled on narrow-gauge tracks into western and eastern Oregon. They dramatically increased the amount of land that could be profitably logged. ● Railroads allowed logging and milling of timber to become a year-round occupation. ● Railroads supported the timber industry because so much lumber was required to make the ties and trestles. ● By the 1890’s, Portland was sending a large percentage of its timber exports east, along the Northern Pacific route, rather than west by steamships.

9 The Oregon Railway and Navigation Company and other Columbia River Lines ● Oregon Railway and Navigation Co. - Completed line along the Oregon side of the Columbia River in 1882 ● Union Pacific- After building the first transcontinental railroad from Omaha to Sacramento in 1869, the UP main line was connected through the Oregon Short Line to the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company and thus to Portland. ● Oregon Short Line – went from eastern Oregon through Idaho and then connected with the transcontinental Union Pacific line in Granger, Wyoming. ● Spokane, Portland and Seattle- a new main line on the north side of the Columbia River with connections to Pasco, Spokane and Seattle through bridges ● Astoria and Columbia River– first link between Portland and Astoria ● Great Southern Railroad –Went from the Dalles to Dufur

10 Main Trains in Portland Area ● Major railroads connected to branch lines and short lines. Branch lines were short extensions operated by larger companies. Short lines were small railroad companies that operated independently but connected to large lines. ● Portland Area Short Lines – allowed people to commute to Portland, included streetcars. ● Tualitin Valley Short Lines and Branch lines– The Southern Pacific and Oregon Electric operated the major branch lines. ● Willamette Valley Short Lines and Branch Lines

11 Eastern Oregon Rail Lines ● Sumpter Valley – narrow gauge line started in 1891 from Baker City to Sumpter ● Malheur Valley- from Ontario to Vale, became part of the Oregon Short Line and then the Oregon Railway and Navigation Co. in 1910 ● Northwestern Railroad Co. – started in 1906 as a short line along the Snake River, became part of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Co. in 1911

12 Southern Oregon Rail Lines ● Southern Pacific – the main line went from Springfield, Oregon to Black Butte, California. Another Southern Pacific line went from Eugene to Coquille, Oregon. ● Oregon and California – one of the first railroads in Oregon, started from Portland to the Willamette Valley and was later extended. ● Union Pacific – currently the main line from Portland to California, was once merged with the Southern Pacific.

13 Conclusion ● Railroads are part of the colorful history of Oregon. They are largely responsible for the settling of Oregon and the development of the state’s economy. Railroads still thrive in Oregon today.


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