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Topic: Railroads

History of Railroads in Washington

From the day the people of Washington learned that congress had appropriated money for a survey terminating on Puget Sound, their constant expectation was fixed upon a transcontinental railway. The territorial charter of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company was granted by the legislature Jan. 28, 1857, to 58 incorporators, the road to be commenced within three and completed within ten years after the passage of the act; the capital stock to be fifteen millions of dollars, which might be increased to double that amount. It does not appear that the company took any immediate steps to raise the necessary capital. The legislature of 1857-8 passed a joint resolution to be forwarded to congress, giving reasons why the road should be built, and declaring the route surveyed by Gov. Stevens to be the shortest and cheapest. The political questions involved in a Pacific railroad, and the struggle with secession, temporarily retarded the evolution of the grand project, although in the end its construction was hastened by the war. I find the Washington legislature of 1865-6 passing a resolution of congratulation upon the inauguration of the ‘masterly project,’ and declaring its purpose to aid by any and all means in its completion. The next legislature, however, gave expression to its jealous fears lest favoritism should prejudice the interests of the territory, congress having granted a magnificent subsidy in lands and money...

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