Building the transcontinental railroad, 1868.
Source: California State Railroad Museum Library. http://usinfo.state.gov
In 1862, the people here had no railroads. Plundering mail contractors and stage companies held the carrying trade and passenger business of California, and, as between the Pacific Coast and the Middle and Atlantic States, communications were had overland once in about two months, and by the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, via Panama, in about the same time. The cost of transit from New York to San Francisco was about $300, and the same by stage-coach overland. California was, agriculturally, and in all else except the mines, as poor as poverty. To-day, the cost by sea or overland from New York to San Francisco, excluding board, is $140--time, overland, six days; and, as a result, almost all the trade between China, Japan and the islands of the Pacific Ocean, is now gathering at the docks of San Francisco, and will, in a great measure, pass overland to Chicago and New York, and at reduced rates of freight as well as time. I saw, myself, as I came over, train-loads of tea, from China and Japan, on the way to Chicago and New York. For these vast benefits, San Francisco, its merchants and people are indebted to the energetic railroad men of Sacramento. . . . This land, before the road was built, was worth, on the average, $1.25 per acre, but no man will hesitate now to tell you that its average value is $8 per acre.