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Omaha Union Station completed December 1, 1899 - History

Omaha Union Station completed December 1, 1899 - History


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Union Station (Omaha) facts for kids

The Union Station, at 801 South 10th Street in Omaha, Nebraska, known also as Union Passenger Terminal, is "one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the Midwest". Designated an Omaha Landmark in 1978, it was listed as "Union Passenger Terminal" on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2016. The Union Station is also a contributing property to the Omaha Rail and Commerce Historic District. It was the Union Pacific's first Art Deco railroad station, and the completion of the terminal "firmly established Omaha as an important railroad terminus in the Midwest".


Contents

The name harkens back to the Central Overland Route, a stagecoach line operated by the Overland Mail Company between Salt Lake City, Utah and Virginia City, Nevada from 1861 to 1866, when Wells Fargo & Company took over the stagecoach's operation. Wells Fargo ended this stagecoach service three years later.

While the Council Bluffs/Omaha to San Francisco "Pacific Railroad" grade was opened in 1869, the name “Overland” was not formally adopted for any daily extra-fare train over the route until almost two decades later when the Union Pacific inaugurated service of its Overland Flyer on November 13, 1887, between Omaha and Ogden, Utah, where passengers and through cars were transferred to the Southern Pacific which had acquired the CPRR's operations on that line in 1885 under a 99-year lease. The UP changed its designation to the Overland Limited on November 17, 1895, and service continued as a daily train under that name in one form or another for almost seven decades. [3] [4] For the first dozen years that the SP met the UP's Overland trains, however, it dubbed its service the "Ogden Gateway Route" with its connecting westbound trains operating as the Pacific Express and eastbound trains as the Atlantic Express before finally adopting the name the Overland Limited in 1899 for its portion of the run as well.

The original 1,911 miles (3,075 km) of the route from Omaha to San Francisco traversed some of the most desolate (as well some of the most picturesque) lands of the western two-thirds of the North American continent. While the trip originally took early low fare emigrant trains a full week (or more) to complete, by 1906 the electric lighted all-Pullman Overland Limited covered the route in just 56 hours. [5]

E. H. Harriman bought the bankrupt Union Pacific in 1897 in 1901 he assumed control of the Central Pacific and Southern Pacific as well. The rebuilding of the Overland Route followed: hundreds of miles of double track, hundreds of miles of signals, and dozens of realignments to reduce grades, curvature, and perhaps distance. (The rebuilding actually started before the CP/SP acquisition—the map in the May 1969 issue of Trains shows Howell to Bossler realigned in 1899.)

By 1926 the UPRR route from Council Bluffs/Omaha to Ogden was continuous double track, except for the Aspen Tunnel (east of Evanston, Wyoming) which remained a bottleneck until 1949. The CPRR/SPRR portion of the route was also largely double tracked during this period, with the completion of such projects as the 1909 Hood Realignment between Rocklin and Newcastle, double tunneling along the Sierra Grade including at Cisco and the summit (Tunnel #41), and the 1924 agreement to share tracks across Nevada with the Western Pacific Railroad's Feather River Route. [6]

Among the most important improvements to the original grade was the Lucin Cutoff, a completely new 102.9 miles (165.6 km) stretch from just west of Ogden to Lucin, a few miles east of the Nevada border. It included a 12-mile (19 km) trestle on wooden pilings across the Great Salt Lake. Opened in 1904, this line cut 43.8 miles (70.5 km) off the line, eliminated 3,919 degrees of curvature, and removed 1,515 feet (462 m) of climb from the route, thus decreasing the steepest SP grade east of Lucian from 90 feet per mile to 21.

But many other sections of the original 1860s grade were harder to improve on, notably over the Sierra Nevada between Colfax, California, and Reno, Nevada. The newer second track follows a better route here and there, but the original route changed little (except for the removal of the wooden snowsheds, or their replacement by nonflammable concrete ones) until the 1993 abandonment of the 6.7-mile section of the Track No. 1 crossing of the summit between Norden and Eder which includes the original 1,659-foot-long (506 m) Summit Tunnel (No. 6). Traffic was sent instead over the easier-to-maintain Track No. 2 and through the 10,322-foot-long (3,146 m) tunnel called “The Big Hole” (No. 41) which had been driven under Mt. Judah a mile south of the Pass when that portion of the line was double tracked in 1925. Aside from those modifications the Sierra grade looks much the same to train passengers as it did when the line opened in 1868.

Connection to Chicago Edit

From the start-up of the Overland Flyer in 1887 the Chicago and North Western Railway handled Overland Route trains between Chicago and Omaha. [7] On October 30, 1955, passenger operations east of Omaha shifted to the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (the "Milwaukee Road"). [8]

Demise Edit

As intercity passenger rail travel began to decline after World War II and into the 1950s with the growth of the airline industry and development of the Interstate Highway System, the Overland route gradually lost its luster and service declined. After almost seven decades of continuous operation, the Overland Limited came to an end as a daily train on July 16, 1962, when the Interstate Commerce Commission approved termination of the service. While the train continued to run until Labor Day (with some additional holiday runs from Christmas to the New Year), the name “Overland” did not appear in the schedules of the UP or SP again after its last run on January 2, 1963. The only daily passenger train between Omaha and the San Francisco Bay area today is the California Zephyr, operated by Amtrak and mostly along a different, more scenic route. The Zephyr only uses the Overland Route in the states of California and Nevada, passing through Salt Lake City instead of Ogden and traveling via the Central Corridor to Denver instead of Cheyenne. [9] [10] In 1996, the Union Pacific again acquired the Southern Pacific, resulting in the entire Chicago-Oakland line being owned by a single company. [11]

Council Bluffs/Omaha to Ogden (via the Union Pacific) Edit

Heading west from Council Bluffs/Omaha over the same wide open plains of Nebraska's Platte River Valley that had been followed by so many wagon trains in the 1840s, ‘50s, and ‘60s, Overland trains passed first through Fremont, Grand Island, and Kearney (196 miles from Omaha) where all the wagon trails from the Missouri River communities between Omaha and Kansas City had once converged. There the famous Fort Kearney had been built by the U.S. Army in 1858 to protect the Oregon–California Trail heading west, and from which, under the direction of Union Generals U.S. Grant and W.T. Sherman, soldiers had been dispatched to protect UP surveyors and construction crews from Indian attack as the road progressed across Nebraska towards Wyoming.

By the time travelers on the Overland Route crossed into Wyoming at Pine Bluffs, they had traveled some 470 miles (760 km) westward and risen in elevation above sea level from the 1,033 feet (315 m) at Omaha to 5,047 feet (1,538 m). The Rocky Mountains first came into passengers’ view 20 miles (32 km) further on at Hillsdale with the appearance of the dark crests of the Laramie Range. About 36 miles (58 km) further west the route reached Sherman, the highest point on the line at 8,013 feet (2,442 m), on a high and rugged upland with bold rock masses eroded into fantastic, picturesque shapes.

The route crossed the Continental Divide at Creston, some 737 miles (1,186 km) west of Omaha. At Green River passengers were treated to views of two of the most spectacular rock formations in Wyoming—Man's Face directly southwest of the station, and Castle Rock just north of it. Six miles after crossing the Bear River at Evanston the route entered Utah, a land which would provide passengers with close-up views of some of the most unusual rock formations of the entire trip.

After passing Henefer where Brigham Young and his Mormon pioneers had turned southward in 1847 to cross the Wasatch Mountains into Emigration Cañon, perhaps the two most famous features on the Union Pacific's section of the Overland, Thousand Mile Tree and Devil's Slide, came into view on the west, and south sides of the track, respectively. Entering the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, the route soon reached Ogden, some 1,029 miles (1,656 km) from Omaha. Here the Union Pacific lines diverged to Los Angeles and the Pacific Northwest while the Southern Pacific (which acquired operational control of the CPRR's original Pacific route under lease in 1885) took charge of the “Overland Limited” and other trains on to San Francisco.

Ogden to San Francisco (via the Central Pacific/Southern Pacific) Edit

When the route opened in 1869, trains reached the San Francisco Bay.

For the first 35 years after the driving of the “Last Spike” at Promontory Summit in 1869, all trains heading in and out of Ogden on the SP passed over the site of that seminal event as they made their way around the northern end of the Great Salt Lake. In November 1903, however, the SP opened the Lucin Cutoff, a 102.9-mile (165.6 km) stretch of new track featuring a 12-mile (19 km) long trestle built on pilings across the Great Salt Lake. Ten miles past Lucin, the “Overland” crossed into Nevada at Tecoma, the nearest railroad town to the silver, copper, and lead mines discovered in the region in 1874.

Passing through other western Nevada mining centers and through Wells, an important supply point on the old Emigrant Trail, the line then followed the valley of the 300-mile (480 km) long Humboldt River. Devil's Peak, a perpendicular rock rising 500 feet (150 m) from the edge of the Humboldt River, dominated the canyon scenery at Palisade while the last major stop in Nevada was Reno with the Sierra Nevada mountains dominating the view ahead.

The next hundred miles of grade from Reno to Colfax, California were by far the most challenging to build and provided the most impressive views of the whole route, although for much of that stretch passengers could see nothing as trains traveled through miles of tunnels and snowsheds. After passing Verdi, Nevada, the site in November, 1870, of the first train robbery on the Pacific coast, the Overland Route crossed into California and followed the Truckee River up a picturesque canyon to the town of Truckee on Donner Lake where the ill-fated George Donner party had been snowbound in the winter of 1846–7.

A serpentine climb around the east end of the lake and up Mt. Judah brought the Overland to the 1,659-foot-long (506 m) Summit Tunnel at 7,018 feet at Donner Pass and the start of a 105-mile (169 km) descent to Sacramento located just 35 feet (11 m) above sea level. Travel over this section could be quite treacherous in the winter as the Southern Pacific had to deal with clearing as much as 50 to 60 feet (15 to 18 m) of snowfall as well as ice from water dripping in the tunnels. The miles of showsheds needed to keep the line passable left the impression among passengers that they were “railroading in a tunnel” for much of the route. The wooden snowsheds also presented another challenge of railroading “over the hill,” however, as fires were often started by lightning strikes or embers from steam locomotives.

Still there were some extensive views available to passengers in the Sierras, the most famous of which [ citation needed ] was that from “Cape Horn” [12] just above the town of Colfax where the grade was carved out of the side of a mountain, providing a panoramic view across Green Valley of the American River flowing in a canyon some 1,322 feet (403 m) below. This spot was so popular that for many years the Southern Pacific stopped the Overland and most other trains for a few minutes so that passengers could get off the train and take it all in from a special observation area. [ citation needed ]

When the route opened in 1869, trains reached the San Francisco Bay area from Sacramento via a 140-mile (230 km) line (built by the original Western Pacific Railroad) by way of Stockton over Altamont Pass, and on through Niles Cañon first to a pier at Alameda, and shortly thereafter to the nearby two-mile long Oakland Long Wharf (later called the "SP Mole") from which San Francisco was then accessed by ferry. In 1876, however, the CPRR acquired a line built by the California Pacific Railroad from Sacramento to Vallejo and in 1879 completed an extension of that road 17 miles (27 km) across the Suisun Marsh to Benicia. There the CPRR established a ferry service to carry its trains a little more than a mile across the Carquinez Strait to Port Costa from which they ran down the southern shoreline of the Strait and San Pablo Bay, and then along eastern side of the San Francisco Bay to the Oakland Long Wharf, thereby cutting approximately 50 miles (80 km) off the journey from Sacramento. After half a century of operation, however, the train ferry between was replaced by a massive drawbridge built by the SP between Benicia and Martinez which opened in October, 1930, and is still in use today. [13]


Omaha, NE: 1899 and 1931 Union Stations and Power Plant

I included the label rrCBaQ to explicitly note that they did not use Union Station. CB&Q had their own station on the other side of the tracks.

Jim Arvites posted
View looking east of the Burlington Depot on right and the old Omaha Union Station on left with an Omaha streetcar crossing over the CB&Q and Union Pacific tracks at Omaha, Nebraska in August 1911.
(Durham Museum)

Street View

The station originally boasted thirteen sets of tracks located to the south of the building and served the Union Pacific, Rock Island, Missouri Pacific, Milwaukee, Wabash, Great Western, Illinois Central and North Western Railroads. Combining its efforts with the Burlington Depot made Omaha the fourth largest railroad center in the United States.

The last passenger train departed Union Station in 1971 and the station closed its doors.

There was, for a time, talk of demolishing the building. Wiser counsel prevailed, however, and in 1973, Union Pacific Corporation donated Union Station to the City of Omaha. In 1975, a group of dedicated volunteers fought to save Union Station and made it the home of The Western Heritage Museum. In 1995, Chuck and Margre Durham led the charge for a major renovation of the structure that restored the current Suzanne and Walter Scott Great Hall to its original grandeur. In addition, mechanical systems, to include installation of air conditioning, were completely replaced, a new parking deck erected, and the station’s original Track #1 was covered over to allow for static display of Union Pacific rail cars.

Fortunately, they realized that the waiting room for the station would make a wonderful Great Hall for a museum. And, like the Field Museum in Chicago, renting the Great Hall has become a revenue stream for the museum.


Chicago Great Western Railway: "The Corn Belt Route"

It largely kept to itself with a focus towards customer service and modernity to maintain an efficient, profitable business.  The 1,500-mile carrier was a David among Goliath's surrounding by roads nearly or over 10,000 route miles in length.

While its system was not large it did reach many notable markets such as Chicago, St. Paul/Minneapolis, Omaha, and Kansas City.  What the railroad lacked in size it more than made up for in customer service. 

Always the innovator the CGW was constantly looking to reach new customers, streamline operations, cut costs, and generally carry out any measure possible to grow business.  

Alas, its small size coupled with stifling federal regulations, rising costs, and competition from other transportation modes eventually brought about its end.  

The much larger C&NW, in an effort to reach the Kansas City gateway, purchased the਌orn Belt Route in the late 1960's and set about abandoning much of its network.

A manufacturer's photo of new Chicago Great Western covered wagons featuring F7A #156 and an F7B at Electro-Motive's plant in Illinois, circa 1949.

Predecessors Of The Chicago Great Western

What became one of the great Midwestern railroads would not have happened without the vision and hard work ofਊlpheus Beede (A.B.) Stickney.  

While the Chicago Great Western's immediate heritage begins during the 1880's the company's earliest roots date back to the Chicago, St. Charles & Mississippi Air Line Railroad (CStC&MAL) organized in 1850 to link Chicago with the Mississippi River.  

There was some grading carried out by this predecessor but ultimately it never secured the financial backing needed to actually begin construction.  There were many such projects launched around this time in an effort to reach Chicago, such as early components of the C&NW, Milwaukee Road, and Burlington.  

Hopeful visionaries not only realized the growing importance of this city but also the Midwest's traffic potential in agriculture and natural resources (timber and iron ore to the north, and coal to the south).  

According to historian H. Roger Grant's authoritative book, "The Corn Belt Route: A History Of The Chicago Great Western Railroad Company," the M&NW was to build:

". from a point on the North West shore of Lake Superior. by St. Anthony and St. Paul. to such a point on the northern boundary of the State of Iowa - as the board of Directors may designate which shall be selected with reference to the best route to the City of Dubuque."

Other Classic "Granger" Railroads: Maps, Photos, Rosters

Chicago Great Western's Notable Passenger Trains

Blue Bird: (Twin Cities - Rochester)

Bob-O-Link: (Chicago - Rochester)

Mills Cities Limited: (Kansas City - Twin Cities)

Nebraska Limited: (Twin Cities - Omaha)

Omaha Express: (Twin Cities - Omaha)

Omaha Limited: (Twin Cities - Omaha)

Rochester Special: (Twin Cities - Rochester)

Red Bird: (Twin Cities - Rochester)

Twin Cities Express: (Twin Cities - Omaha)

Twin Cities Limited: (Omaha - Twin Cities)

This project also ran into trouble although it may have experienced greater success had it not been for the financial Panic of 1857. ਊs with the਌StC&MAL nothing more happened with the M&NW project until A.B. Stickney got involved.  

Along with business partner and investor William Marshall the two purchased the company's 10,000 shares outstanding believing it could be turned into a successful operation.  

The Chicago Great Western Railway logo. Author's work.

By then, Stickney was no stranger to the railroad industry.  He was born in Maine on June 17, 1840 and became interested in the railroad industry after the Civil War. 

He later found top positions at Canadian Pacific and another Midwestern granger, the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway ("The Peoria Gateway"), before going off on his own with the Minnesota & Northwestern.

With the operator providing a roll-by inspection, Chicago Great Western F3A #111-C leads a long freight train westbound past the quaint little depot at Elmhurst, Illinois station on August 14, 1962. Roger Puta photo.

Now heading his own company, Stickney's project quickly took off as he began track surveys for a 110-mile line from St. Paul to Mona, Iowa where a connection would be established with the Cedar Falls & Minnesota (leased by the Illinois Central).  

Actual construction of the route began in 1884 and was officially ready for service on September 27, 1885.  Having a great deal of experience in both managing and building railroads, particularly within the hotly contested Midwestern market, Stickney realized for his venture to sustain long term success it must link the largest cities.  

There was none larger, of course, than Chicago and he quickly made reaching America's railroad capital a top priority.  

Before any construction could take place the road encountered financial troubles which allowed Stickney to become involved. 

Chicago Great Western F3A #115-A, and a long string of other covered wagons, lead westbound freight #143 across the Fox River at St. Charles, Illinois on Independence Day, 1962. Roger Puta photo.

It would build a 50-mile line west from Dubuque to reach Compton (near Lamont). ਏrom there, another new segment would branch from the existing M&NW at Hayfield and run in a southeasterly direction.  The D&NW began construction on July 29, 1885 with the first eight miles opening to Durango by year's end.  

Into 1886 work quickened while at the same time the M&NW began construction of its section.  On October 20, 1886 a through route from Dubuque, along the Mississippi River, to St. Paul was completed and ready for service.

The 253-mile pike was still a relatively small operation in comparison to the surrounding Chicago & North Western, Rock Island, Burlington, and Milwaukee Road.  

However, considering the relatively late time period in which he began it is rather incredible Stickney accomplished what he did.  

This is because that while the 1880's witnessed more trackage laid across the country than during any other decade, the big grangers mentioned above used a great deal of resources to keep out potential new threats.

Another version of the Chicago Great Western Railway logo. Author's work.

While the D&NW/M&NW projects were under way Stickney established a new system, the Minnesota & Northwestern Railroad of Company of Illinois.

It was officially incorporated on February 25, 1886 and would build a direct link into Chicago via Dubuque.  Once again he wasted little time as construction commenced that same July.  

The line would not actually reach downtown Chicago but the nearby suburb of Forest Home (Forest Park) and then utilize trackage rights over what later became the Baltimore & Ohio Chicago Terminal (B&OCT).  

By February of 1887 the 97-mile line from Forest Home to South Freeport was finished although regular service did not commence until later that summer.  

Part of the route, which included 27 miles from Forest Home to St. Charles, utilized the grading work of the moribund Chicago, St. Charles & Mississippi Air Line previously mentioned.  

To reach home rails into Dubuque, trackage rights were initially secured over the Illinois Central before construction of this final extension began in March of 1887. ꂯter only a year the 50-mile line was completed in early 1888 and opened for service on February 9th.

Chicago Great Western F units are near downtown Chicago as their train rolls along near 2nd Avenue in Maywood, Illinois during April, 1965. Roger Puta photo.

The Chicago main line contained one notable infrastructure project, theਂ,493-foot Winston Tunnel.  It proved an expensive and contentious operational problem throughout its history.  

The bore was completed in early 1888 but the unstable blue clay through which it was built required extensive maintenance over the years and major rebuilds at various times.  

He connected it to Oelwein and then pushed southward into Kansas City reaching as far as St. Joseph in May of 1888. ਏrom there, a new company was chartered, the Leavenworth & St. Joseph which was completed to Beverly along the east bank of the Missouri River in December of 1890.  

An A-B-B-A set of Chicago Great Western covered wagons, led by F3A #101-C, have a westbound manifest approaching Carol Stream, Illinois on December 28, 1962. Roger Puta photo.

The Chicago Great Western Railway Is Born

As Stickney eyed a westward extension towards the important western gateway of Omaha, where interchange could be established with the transcontinental Union Pacific, his railroad ran into financial issues and entered receivership on January 16, 1892.  

Interestingly, while the company weathered the crippling financial Panic of 1893 the troubled economic conditions warranted no further expansion at that time.

One notable event which took place was moving the primary shops from South St. Paul to Oelwein, Iowa.  This town was situated exactly in the center of the Great Western system, making it an ideal location for such facilities.  

The Oelwein Shops opened in April of 1899 containing locomotive and car repair shops, back shops, store house, and other buildings related to maintaining the company's equipment and infrastructure.  They were expanded a few years later when a large 40-stall roundhouse opened in 1904.

A parade of covered wagons led by F3A #107-A pull their freight train through Elmhurst, Illinois on June 26, 1966. Roger Puta photo.

By the early 20th century the railroad's financial situation had greatly improved as Stickney sought another round of expansion.  The railroad had already opened its only branch in Illinois to DeKalb, a 6-mile spur running via Sycamore completed in October of 1895 via subsidiary DeKalb & Great Western Railway.  

It also began branching out to the east and west of its Twin Cities main line during the 1890's, a process which continued into the early 1900's.  Most of this trackage came through acquisition of the Wisconsin, Minnesota & Pacific in 1899 which by 1903 connected Mankato to the west, crossed the Great Western at Randolph, then proceed south to link Red Wing, Bellechester (via a short branch), and Rochester.  

The latter town also contained a westward spur running back to the CGW main line at Dodge Center. ਏinally, an extension from Rochester headed east to Winona and south to another CGW connection at McIntire, Iowa before terminating at Osage.  The last significant Great Western component was the extension into Omaha.

It began with the takeover of the Mason City & Fort Dodge in March of 1901, sold by close friend James J. Hill.  The small line was originally completed between its namesake cities on October 24, 1886 and once under Chicago Great Western control, Stickney pushed for Omaha.  

First, the 9 miles from Manly to Mason City had to be closed and this segment was ready for service by November 1, 1901.  Then, new construction was carried out west of Dodge City in August of 1901.  Passing through small agricultural communities like Carroll and Minden it opened to Council Bluffs in the late summer of 1903.  

Finally, a trackage rights agreement was secured with Union Pacific later that November to cross its Missouri River bridge and reach Omaha Union Station.  With this the Chicago Great Western Railway was complete, operating a network of 1,458 route miles.  The system was the classic granger, relying heavily on agricultural traffic.  

However, the road did handle other freight including cement, aggregates, manufacturing, various less-than-carload movements, and interchange business (of note was the CGW's openness to work with local interurban carriers, an industry most other large railroads shunned).

The Modern "Corn Belt Route"

The 20th century got off to a rocky start as the CGW entered receivership once more during 1908 an aging Stickney, despite being named a co-receiver of the bankrupt property, quietly resigned on December 21st, electing instead to allow others to run the railroad which he had built.  

The reorganization was again brief as the Chicago Great Western Railroad took over the Chicago Great Western Railway's assets on August 19, 1909.  

The new CGW saw heavy traffic during World War I when it was operated by the government through the United States Railroad Administration (USRA).  The 1920's were a generally good decade until the market crash.  

The company's innovation also shown through at this time when it placed gas-electric "Doodlebugs" and streamlined McKeen Cars in service between Chicago and Omaha in 1924, the purpose of which was to cut costs on lightly-patronized trains.

The good times of the "Roarin '20's" would not last, however, as the Great Depression of October, 1929 hit the country, and railroad industry, quite hard.  The Great Western at first weathered the troubles but eventually slipped into bankruptcy once more on February 28, 1935.

Chicago Great Western F3A #115-A passes the small depot at Gretna, Illinois, west of downtown Chicago, with train #143 on July 4, 1962. Today, the right-of-way is home to the Great Western Trail. Roger Puta photo.

This time the reorganization required much longer due to the economic troubles of the 1930's.  However, in comparison to some roads, which spent more than a decade dealing with such proceedings, the CGW was back on its feet before World War II.  Its final bankruptcy ended on February 19, 1941 when it became the Chicago Great Western Railway once more.  

Given its size and the intensely competitive markets in which it operated the modern CGW was a respectable system boasting a stretch of double-tracked territory extending out of Chicago, hosting one of the earliest trailer-on-flatcar (TOFC) services in 1936, and completely dieselizing its motive power fleet by 1949.  

While these first-generation models wore an attractive two-tone burgundy/red livery the railroad never bothered with the streamliner craze and instead focused all of its efforts on business development and customer service.  

It is interesting that despite Stickney early in the company's history the innovated and resourceful management practices he implemented forever endured.

Chicago Great Western S-1 #13 is tied down along the rural branch serving Goodhue, Minnesota as the crew dines on oyster stew in the caboose on January 30, 1964. Roger Puta photo.

Into the 1950's, under President William N. Deramus III, the CGW launched efforts to significantly cut back its modest passenger services, ending locals and reducing as many through trains as possible.  It realized competition from the highways and other railroads proved the concept fruitless.  

According to Mike Schafer's book, "More Classic American Railroads," by 1956 there were only two through trains remaining, the Twin Cities - Kansas City, Mills Cities Limited, and Twin Cities - Omaha, Nebraska Limited/Twin City Limited.  The company also took steps to reduce operating costs associated with depots by demolishing these structures for ugly but utilitarian cinder-block buildings.  

Finally, passenger services ended altogether on April 27, 1962 when trains #6 (northbound) and #5 (southbound) made their final runs between the Twin Cities and Kansas City.  The focus then rested squarely on freight where the railroad became famous for its propensity to operate extremely long, 200-car consists.  

According to Mr. Grant this was actually a long-held practice on CGW to increase efficiency and reduce operating costs, dating back to October, 1894 when it had tested an 84-car consist between St. Paul and Oelwein.

Diesel Locomotive Roster

American Locomotive Company

Model Type Road Number Date Built Quantity
S28-1019473
S111-1519485
RS250-5719498

Baldwin Locomotive Works

Model Type Road Number Date Built Quantity
DS-4-4-100032-41194910

Electro-Motive Corporation/Electro-Motive Division

Model Type Road Number Date Built Quantity
SC5-719363
SW900519571
NW216-31, 421948-194917
TR258A-66A, 58B-66B1948-194918
F3A101A-115A, 101C-115C, 150-1521946-194933
F3B101B-112B, 101D-104D1947-194916
F7B113B-116B, 108D-116D, 116E, 116F, 116G1949-195116
GP7120-12119512
GP912019561
F7A153-15619494
GP30201-20819638
SD40401-40919669

Steam Locomotive Roster

Class Type Wheel Arrangement
B-3 Through B-8Switcher0-6-0
C-8 Through C-14American4-4-0
D-1 Through D-4Mogul2-6-0
E-1 Through E-7Ten-Wheeler4-6-0
F-2 Through F-7bPrairie2-6-2
G-1 Through G-4Consolidation2-8-0
H-1, J-2 Through J-2sSwitcher0-8-0
K-1 Through K-6Pacific4-6-2
L-1 Through L-3Mikado2-8-2
M-1Santa Fe2-10-2
T-1 Through T-3Texas2-10-4
Chicago Great Western GP7 #121 leads an eastbound local freight past the depot at Gretna, Illinois on August 14, 1962. Roger Puta photo.

During January of 1957 the Great Western's final president took the helm, Edward Reidy.  He did his best to maintain a quality railroad by acquiring new second-generation diesels, maintaining a conservative stance towards spending, offering high top notch customer service, and operating freights as long and as fast as possible.  

Alas, government regulations, rising costs, the surrounding competition, and other issues made a regional carrier like the Great Western quite vulnerable.  

During the postwar years it had considered several different mergers with the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway (Frisco), Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy), Chicago & Eastern Illinois, Kansas City Southern, Rock Island, and Soo Line.  

In hindsight, any of those choices would likely have been better than its ultimate choice, the Chicago & North Western.  The merger was finalized on July 1, 1968 and the C&NW, already in a weak financial condition, wanted only the Great Western's Kansas City gateway.

Much of the rest was promptly abandoned, a fact greatly resented by CGW employees.  The Chicago Great Western was certainly one of the more interesting granger roads and will forever be remembered for its innovation and commitment to not only itself but also the customers it served.


Union Pacific Railroad (Omaha, Neb.) [RG3761.AM]

Incorporated on July 1, 1862 under the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862, the Union Pacific Railroad established its headquarters for railroad operations at Omaha, Nebraska. The Union Pacific constructed westward from Omaha to meet the Central Pacific line coming from California. The two lines joined at Promontory Summit, Utah, on May 10, 1869, becoming the first transcontinental railroad in North America.

The following years showed marked expansion of the Union Pacific, and in 1880 the Union Pacific Railroad merged with the Kansas Pacific and Denver Pacific railways to form the Union Pacific Railway. Overexpansion and financial difficulties caused the Union Pacific Railway to fall into bankruptcy in 1893. The Union Pacific Railway was held in receivership until 1897 when it was sold to a group of investors and reorganized and reestablished as the Union Pacific Railroad. During this time the Union Pacific had to sell off some of its holdings to the Missouri Pacific and Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroads, but it would soon recover and in 1901 the Union Pacific took control of the Southern Pacific Railroad. However, in 1913, the U.S. Supreme Court would force the Union Pacific to relinquish control of the Southern Pacific.

The Union Pacific Railroad continued to expand its operations over the next hundred years and purchased numerous other railroads. Some of the more prominent acquisitions included the Missouri Pacific, Southern Pacific, Western Pacific, Missouri-Kansas-Texas, and the Chicago and North Western. The Union Pacific Railroad currently operates in 23 states and maintains nearly 32,000 miles of track.

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE

The Union Pacific Railroad collection consists of nearly 750 linear feet of records dating from 1862-1980s organized into subgroups and series. Records fall into one of three categories: l) Corporate Offices, 2) Branch Roads and Subsidiary Companies and 3) Miscellany. Detailed inventories are available for each subgroup and series within the collection. Many of the records relating to the early building of the railroad (1862-ca. 1900) have been microfilmed and can be requested through interlibrary loan.

It should be noted that the collection contains very little in the way of employee records. A list of employees of the Engineering Department has been compiled and can be found in the inventory for that subgroup (SG14). Researchers should keep in mind that this list is not complete it is only a compilation of names found in the records of the collection. Additionally, employee records of the construction era can be found in subgroup 20, the Casement Brothers. Again, an incomplete list of employees has been compiled from Casement Brothers records and can be found in the inventory for this subgroup. No comprehensive record of land sales for the Union Pacific exists. Researchers may find scattered records in various branch line and subsidiary company ledgers.

Note: Published materials by and about the Union Pacific Railroad are held in the Library collections. Photographs relating to the Union Pacific are housed with the photo collections [see RG3761.PH].

Funding to better organize and describe this collection was graciously provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources.

SUBGROUP OVERVIEW

Subgroup 1, Board of Directors and Executive Committee, is made up of five series. Series 1 consists of four volumes of Board of Directors minutes from 1862-1898 and ten volumes concerning stocks and bonds transactions. All material in series 1 has been microfilmed is available through interlibrary loan.

Series 2 is composed of eight volumes six contain minutes of the Executive Committee from 1865-1898 and two relate to Executive Committee resolutions from 1863-1867 and 1898-1906. This material has been microfilmed and a volume inventory is available. Of particular interest is volume 6, relating to the bridging of the Missouri River. For Executive Committee minutes prior to 1865 see series 1, volume 1. Director Cornelius Scranton Bushnell's correspondence from 1862-1875 can be found in series 3. This material has been microfilmed and is available through interlibrary loan.

The correspondence of William T. Glidden (Director, 1867-1868, 1869-1871) and the Committee of Five to dispose of bonds makes up series 4. The majority of the correspondence concerns the subscription of bonds of the UPRR. This material has been microfilmed and a folder inventory is available. For additional bonds transactions, see SG5, Office of the Treasurer. Series 5 consists of seven reels of microfilmed Annual Reports of the Government Directors, 1864-1889 and Annual Reports of Directors, 1873-1892. Government Directors' Reports for 1870-1871 are missing.

Subgroup 2, Office of the President, consists of over 150 boxes and 50 volumes of correspondence. The subgroup is arranged in three series: l) Incoming Correspondence, 2) Outgoing Correspondence and 3) Incoming Correspondence Registers.

Series 1, Incoming Correspondence, includes the letters of Oliver Ames, 1869-1870, which have been microfilmed. Correspondence addressed to Ames as Chairman of the Board of the Ames-Davis Trustees can be found in the records of the Ames-Davis Contract Trustees (SG23). There is a gap in the incoming presidential correspondence from 1871-1883. Correspondence resumes in 1884 with 95 boxes of letters of C.F. Adams. Adams' 1885 correspondence fills sixteen boxes. Adams' remaining incoming correspondence for the years 1886-1892 is housed in 71 boxes. One volume of telegrams received during 1886 is included here. Finally, series 1 includes 47 correspondence boxes of President H.G. Burt, covering the years 1896-1904. In the last box of this series is six months of correspondence of President E.H. Harriman from 1904.

Series 2 of the Office of the President subgroup consists of 54 letterpress volumes of outgoing correspondence for the years 1869-1892. Letterpress volumes are often indexed in front or back. This material has been microfilmed. Series 3 consists of eight boxes and seven volumes of Incoming Correspondence Registers covering the years 1882-1890.

Subgroup 3, Office of the Assistant to the President, includes only one series, Outgoing Correspondence for the years 1885-1891. The thirty-one volumes have been microfilmed and the microfilm is available through interlibrary loan.

Subgroup 4, Office of the Vice President, is arranged in four series: 1) Correspondence, 2) Outgoing Correspondence, 3) the Durant Papers and 4) Correspondence Registers.

Series 1 includes one box of incoming correspondence for Elisha Atkins, 1874. This material has been microfilmed and both a folder and microfilm inventory are available. Also included are nineteen boxes (unfilmed) of both incoming and outgoing correspondence from 1891-1920.

Series 2 consists of three volumes of Thomas Clark Durant's outgoing correspondence for the years 1864-1869. These volumes have been microfilmed and are available through interlibrary loan.

Series 3 represents material loaned to the Nebraska State Historical Society (NSHS) by the University of Iowa from their Levi Leonard Collection. The Durant Papers were organized and microfilmed by the NSHS and returned to the University of Iowa. The microfilm is available through interlibrary loan from the NSHS. The bulk of the material includes correspondence, accounting records, construction profiles, newspaper clippings regarding UP history and miscellaneous papers. Additional material not relating to the Union Pacific was also filmed. This includes material relating to the Chicago & Rock Island Railroad, the Mississippi & Missouri Railroad, the Peoria & Bureau Valley Railroad and the Adirondack Railroad Company. Personal papers of Durant's were also filmed.

Finally, series 4 includes five volumes of correspondence registers for 1886-1888.

Subgroup 5, Office of the Treasurer, is arranged in three series: l) Incoming correspondence, 2) Outgoing Correspondence and 3) Registers, Journals and Ledgers. From March 1871 to April 1888, the Office of the Treasurer was combined with that of the Secretary. For records of this period see SG8.

Series 1 includes six boxes of John M.S. Williams' incoming correspondence for the years 1869-1870. This material has been microfilmed and is available through interlibrary loan. Series 1 also includes thirteen boxes of Treasurer Harris' incoming correspondence for the years 1888-1895. Series 2 consists of twenty letterpress volumes of outgoing correspondence for Treasurers Williams, 1869-1871, and Harris, 1888-1893. Series 3, Registers, Journals and Ledgers, includes six volumes of correspondence registers for the years 1888-1895. Also included are 114 financial journals and ledgers. These represent the fiscal volumes for all corporate offices of the Union Pacific and cover the years 1863-1901.

Subgroup 6, Office of the Assistant Treasurer, contains two series, Incoming Correspondence and Outgoing Correspondence. Series 1 is made up of six boxes of incoming correspondence for the years 1885-1895. Twenty letterpress volumes covering the years 1867-1892 make up series 2, Outgoing Correspondence.

Subgroup 7, Office of the Comptroller, is organized in three series: l) Incoming Correspondence, 2) Outgoing Correspondence and 3) Correspondence Registers. Series 1 contains eighty boxes of Oliver W. Mink's incoming correspondence for the years 1885-1893. Series 2 includes thirty-eight letterpress volumes of Mink's outgoing correspondence for the years 1885-1893. The twenty volumes of correspondence registers that make up series 3 have been microfilmed and are available through interlibrary loan. They cover the years 1886-1900.

Subgroup 8, Office of the Secretary, is arranged in three series: 1) Incoming Correspondence, 2) Outgoing Correspondence and 3) Correspondence Registers. Series 1 includes forty boxes of correspondence for the years 1869-1879. This material has been microfilmed and is available through interlibrary loan. The remainder of series 1, fifty-seven boxes of incoming correspondence for the years 1880-1898, has not been microfilmed. Series 2 consists of seventy-four outgoing letterpress volumes from 1868-1898, and Series 3, Correspondence Registers, consists of four volumes covering the years 1888-1898.

Subgroup 9, Office of the Auditor, is arranged in three series: l) Incoming Correspondence, 2) Outgoing Correspondence and 3) Vouchers. Box 392 of series 1 contains incoming correspondence for Joshua Warren Gannett, 1870-1883. Box 393 contains other incoming correspondence for the years 1880-1898. Series 2 consists of four volumes of outgoing correspondence for the years 1867-1880. The remaining series consists of four boxes of vouchers of branch roads and subsidiary companies.

The Mechanical Department, Subgroup 10, consists of drawings of steam locomotives, passenger cars and miscellaneous drawings. These drawings include component parts as well as rolling stock sections and elevations. Series 1 is made up of four boxes of material relating to steam locomotives, thirteen reels of microfilmed steam locomotive drawings and seven reels of index. Series 2 consists of thirteen reels of microfilmed passenger car and component parts tracings and Series 3 contains three reels of miscellaneous drawings. The original drawings were returned to the Union Pacific researchers wishing to buy entire reels of microfilm should contact the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Materials relating to the Central Branch of the Union Pacific Railroad make up Subgroup 11. This subgroup consists of three boxes containing correspondence, legal materials, stockholder and trustee information, etc. The bulk of this material dates from ca. 1863-1890.

The Law Department files of Subgroup 12 are divided into four series. Series 1, incoming correspondence, consists of three boxes dating from 1875-1884. The files are organized alphabetically and contain information regarding various lawsuits and other legal matters. The outgoing correspondence of Series 2 consists of one folder and five letterpress books. The materials in Series 2 date from 1876-1890. Series 3, Miscellany, is composed of one volume of drafts of legal briefs by John F. Dillon dating from 1886. The last series, Series 4, consists of forty-three boxes of legal case files handled by the department. The bulk of the files date from the 1880s to the 1920s and mostly relate to lawsuits regarding property damage, personal injury/death, death of livestock, right-of-way disputes, breach of contract, etc. This subgroup is mostly unprocessed but an inventory is available.

Subgroup 13, Land Department records, is divided into three series. Series 1, incoming correspondence, consists of four boxes dating from 1874-1893. Series 2, outgoing correspondence, consists of one box of correspondence from General Town Lot Agent, John M. Eddy, dating from 1871-1872. The financial materials in Series 3 consist of journals and ledgers containing information regarding town lots and other land sales and a box of cash abstracts and balance sheets. The bulk of the materials in Series 3 dates from 1869-1899.

The Engineering Department files of Subgroup 14 consist of eleven boxes and various oversized drawings divided into four series. Series 1, General Correspondence and Records, makes up the bulk of the subgroup. It consists of seven boxes containing general correspondence and records (1862-1869 Arthur Northcote Ferguson diaries (1865-1869) and misc. incoming correspondence including estimates, invoices and maintenance of way reports (1881-1896 1923-1925). Series 2, Plans and Diagrams, consists of several folders of misc. oversized drawings relating to bridges, tunnels, tank houses and other structures. Most of the drawings are undated. Series 3, Profiles of Construction, consists of three boxes of various profile drawings of trackage dating from 1865-1869. Series 4 contains one box of incoming correspondence of Fred S. Hodges. The correspondence dates from 1864-1869 and 1922.

Subgroup 15, Office of the Superintendent, consists of six boxes of correspondence and contracts divided into seven series. The subgroup is divided into the following series: Idaho Division (Blickensderfer, Resseguie and Ryder) Idaho Division of the Oregon Shortline and Utah Northern (Calvin) Receivers of the Oregon Shortline and Utah Northern (Calvin and Van Housen) Idaho Division of the Oregon Shortline and Utah Northern (Van Housen and Manson) Kansas Division General Superintendent - Omaha and Wyoming Division. The materials in this subgroup date from 1882-1906.

Subgroup 16, Office of the Superintendent of Transportation, Omaha, consists of two boxes of correspondence dating from 1903-1904. Subgroup 17, Office of the General Purchasing Agent, is comprised of five boxes and several volumes divided into three series: Series 1, Correspondence (1902-1909, 1913-1914) Series 2, Purchase Orders and Supplements (1916-1931) and Series 3, Bids and Contracts (1881-1898, 1921-1930). The files in Subgroup 18, Tax Department, consist of two boxes of general correspondence and tax payments organized by state and county. These materials date from 1920-1921.

Records of the Valuation Department, Subgroup 19, were transferred back to the Union Pacific Railroad Museum (Council Bluffs, Iowa) in 1993.

Records of the track laying contractor, Casement Brothers (John S. & Daniel T.) make up Subgroup 20. This subgroup is comprised of fourteen boxes divided into seven series containing correspondence, general accounts, supply orders, financial records, employee and personnel records. The materials date from 1866-1871. An employee list (incomplete) for Casement Brothers has been compiled from various records held in this subgroup. Subgroup 21, Miscellany, contains nineteen boxes of miscellaneous records including general correspondence, materials on the UPRR and Industrial Armies, miscellany relating to various branch roads, etc.

Subgroup 22, records of the Passenger Department, was transferred back to the Union Pacific Railroad Museum (Council Bluffs, Iowa) in 1993.

The materials in Subgroup 23 relate to Credit Mobilier of America and the Ames-Davis Contract Trustees. The subgroup contains correspondence and records concerning organization of the Pennsylvania Fiscal Agency which became Credit Mobilier of America, 1864 records and correspondence of the Ames-Davis Contract Trustees, 1867-1874 and correspondence and accounting records of the contractors for building the UPRR. The Telegraph Department files of Subgroup 24 are comprised of general correspondence, ledgers and journals and miscellaneous printed materials. The bulk of the materials dates from the 1870s-1890s.

Subgroups 25 and above generally relate to branch lines, subsidiary companies, etc. Many of these consist mainly of ledgers, journals and ICC annual reports. An inventory of these branch line and subsidiary company materials is available. A few noted exceptions are as follows:

Subgroup 145 consists of two boxes of materials relating to Thomas Mayne Daley Orr, Assistant Secretary of the Union Pacific Railroad. The materials include record books and correspondence dating from 1881-1900. Subgroup 147 is comprised of two boxes of personal correspondence and various other documents relating to Joseph Warren Gannett (Auditor for the Union Pacific) and his son, Earl W. Gannett, dating from ca. 1857-1891. Subgroup 188 consists of twenty boxes of "circulars" distributed to the various departments and divisions of the railroad. The circulars date from ca. 1871-1905. Subgroup 190, records of the Department of Tours, UPRR and Chicago & North Western Railway, is made up of twenty-four boxes divided into twelve series. Materials include correspondence, annual reports, tour literature, manuals, payroll records, etc., and date from 1917-1971.


Omaha Union Station completed December 1, 1899 - History



Okay, first, a definition. A “Union Station” is any train depot which serves more than one railroad line. At one time, there were seven lines stopping at Omaha’s Union Station. These were: the Union Pacific (subject of "Hell on Wheels" the TV series), Chicago & Northwestern, Chiacgo, Milwaukee, St Paul & Pacific, Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific (this is the famous Rock Island Line of the song), Illinois Central, Missouri Pacific, and the Wabash Railway. (pause for breath here)

The Station opened on January 15, 1931 and was Omaha’s second Union Station as well as Union Pacific’s seventh train depot in the since since 1866, so at this time, Omaha wasn’t called the “Gateway to the West” for nothing.

The Terminal of the station is called the Great Hall and looks much like it always has, with the exception of the ticker teller’s booths being turned into a gift shop and the barber shop now housing the Station Library. The Hall is 72 feet wide and 159.5 feet long. The ceiling is 60 feet high.

The Station featured a “soda fountain”, a restaurant with a lunch counter and a formal “sit-down” area, and chefs from its trains. Later, it was taken over by a local restauranteur and renaned the Hayden House. Hayden House later moved to Eppley Airfield airport in 1960. There was also a barbershop and a Western Union telegraph office, a small hospital, and a traveler’s aid office. The Superintendent’s office and the Union Pacific agent’s office was also at the Station. During WW2, there was a USO canteen in the Station which took over the entire floor, causing the superintend and agent’s office to be moved downstairs.

In 1996, sculptor John Labja was commissioned to create six scupture groups for the Station’s Great Hall. There include a man studying the train schedule (around his feet can be seen the actual depressions made in the floor by all the passengers walking about over the decades), a sailor and a soldier waiting for a train, a girl and her uniformed sweetheart, an old man, a soldier saying farewell to his family, a new arrival to town, and a woman buying a ticket. The statues are lifesize and cast in bronze.

The Station closed on May 2, 1971, due to the rise of superhighways connecting the nation and the abundance of airplane enabling passengers to reach cities more quickly.


Big Boy story began in 1940

While the majority of UP’s Overland Route from Omaha to the Southern Pacific interchange in Ogden was relatively grade free, the Wahsatch Mountains were a significant barrier, with eastbound 1.14 percent grades from Ogden to Wahsatch, Utah. Since the opening of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, UP designed larger and larger steam power to conquer the Wahsatch range. The Big Boy would be the culmination of those designs.

According to the seminal book “Big Boy” by the late William W. Kratville, the Research and Mechanical Standards Department was established in 1936 under Vice President Jabelmann. Jeffers order to Jabelmann was to develop a locomotive capable of pulling 3,600 tons over the Wahsatch unassisted. To do so, Kratville recounts, the locomotive would have to have 135,000 pounds of tractive effort and an adhesion factor of four. Engineers concluded to meet Jeffers demands would require an eight-wheeled articulated with four wheel lead and trailing trucks – thus the 4-8-8-4-wheel arrangement was born.

Within three months a design team was assembled with the builder, the American Locomotive Company, with UP furnishing members of the Research and Mechanical Standards Department to assist. Because UP had accumulated a great deal of research data, the entire project only took about one year to complete: six months to design, fabricate and acquire parts, and another six months to build the first locomotive.

Union Pacific initially ordered 20 Big Boys from Alco at a cost of $265,174 each. The engines were deliberately overdesigned. For example, they were built to run at speeds up to 80 mph, although they would never be moving freight at that speed. This was done to ensure that rotating parts, such as the rods, would not break in daily service.

While the new engines were being built, UP prepared for them. Bridges had to be rebuilt to handle their weight, curves realigned, and new 135-foot turntables installed at servicing points. Heavier 130-pound rail was laid between Ogden and the Wahsatch summit. While the normal Big Boy haunt would be between Ogden and Evanston, Wyo., as World War II progressed, the Big Boys’ operational territory was extended east from Evanston to Green River, Rawlins, Laramie, and Cheyenne. They were also cleared to operate between Salt Lake City and Pocatello, Idaho, and Salt Lake City and Los Angeles, although they likely never did.

Naming the new locomotive came by accident. While under construction, an Alco machinist chalked the name “Big Boy” on the smokebox of the first engine, No. 4000. The name stuck, although it was rumored that UP had considered naming the class “Wahsatch.” The Big Boys were 132 feet long, roller bearing equipped, and weighed 1.2 million pounds.

No. 4000 was shipped dead via the Delaware & Hudson, New York Central, and Chicago & North Western to Council Bluffs, Iowa. A UP switch engine towed the engine across the Missouri River to Omaha Shops where it was officially accepted on Sept. 5, 1941. Later that month, No. 4000 was steamed up for the first time, and then put on display at Omaha Union Station. It traveled light to Council Bluffs for servicing, then back to Omaha to pick up a train of 100 empty Pacific Fruit Express reefers. The locomotive made several stops as it traveled west across Nebraska for water, fuel and crews, arriving in Cheyenne early the following day.

No. 4014, along with Big Boys’ 4004 and 4016, was involved in a test against a three-unit diesel in April 1943 between Ogden and Evanston, Wyo. According to Kratville, on April 2, 1943, No. 4014 took 65 cars and 3,479 tons out of Ogden. All the way upgrade the throttle was open less than full, and yet No. 4014 accelerated at points on the grade from 1.8 to 4.5 mph per minute. A top speed of 42 mph was recorded on level track, while the minimum speed was 13 mph on a three-degree curve on a 1.14 percent grade. Following tests with the other two Big Boys and the diesels, the internal combustion power proved to do no better than the steam engines had, and the railroad concluded that steam would remain on the route.

As World War II raged in 1944, UP received authority from the War Production Board to build five more Big Boys, Nos. 4020-4024. They were identical to the other locomotives except for the use of heavier metals in the boilers and rods. One member of this class, No. 4023, survives on display in Omaha.

The last Big Boys operated on July 21, 1959. Most were stored operational until 1961. Unfortunately the first Big Boy, No. 4000, was scrapped in Cheyenne in August 1961, but eight other Big Boys escaped No. 4000’s fate – almost one third of the fleet. No. 4014 was retired in December 1961 after 1,031,205 miles, and was presented to the Southern California Chapter of The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society. Since 1962 it has been displayed by the society in Pomona, Calif., but now will see new life, extending the Big Boy story begun by Jeffers and Jabelmann well into the 21st century.


A few photos from the last past two years of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park, Omaha. I’ve been going to CWS games since I was a kid. The series has been in Omaha continuously since 1950 — first at Rosenblatt Stadium for 60 years, and, starting in 2011, at the new T.D. Ameritrade Park downtown.


Rescued Artifacts

In June of 1964, Jack and Louis Drew of Drew’s Antiques gushed of having newly acquired other savory Cudahy clues. “The impressive relics of the Cudahy-Nash house recently razed include the immense French bronze chandelier in the style of Louis XV a copper lantern a section of the iron fence that now serves as a rail along the sweep of stairway in the main hall.”

Heavens. The Cudahy bronze chandelier hanging in the Drew Antiques showroom in 1964. Photo from the OWH.

At the same time the John Offutt family, of 3419 South 102 nd Street apparently “saved a lion statue from the porch of the Cudahy home,” mixing it into their Mid-Century Modern patios. “The Cudahy lion mingled with the Brandeis Theater ram’s head and another statue rescued from the Paramount Theatre.” Dying to see. By summer of 1967 Dr. Henry Schulz lived at 10229 Wright Street and had sold a good swath of farmland out in Millard to the city of Millard for construction of a sewer line. I discovered a 1979 Auction for Dr. Schulz saying he was packing it in and moving to Hamburg, Iowa to live with his daughter. Among his many antiques, too numerous to list, he was selling a “large ornate mirror out of the Cudahy home, approx 65 in high and 70 long. Very ornate frame.”

Beautiful detail of the original Cudahy porch. Might this be the lion the Offutts salvaged? I hope so. I adore the mini “504” address plaque.

“Just to look at you. Just to remember …”

I would stumble across my own relic, what I believe was the once proud gate around the Cudahy Mansion on the northwestern perimeter of the 500 Building. I delighted in its existence. I just know there are other clues within the property boundaries, hidden in the shadows. I held a fondness for her imagined dark secrets.

This is only a part of the Cudahy Mansion story. Those who lived within her walls, in the Blackstone Neighborhood or curious lookeylou-ers from the time period would know infinitely more about her contributions to Omaha than I could every scrape together. We would all love to hear your stories about the neighborhood or from those personally involved. Please feel free to leave a memory or thoughts. I believe we know more together. Thank you, Omaha Friends.

You can keep up with my latest investigations by joining my email group. Click on “Contact” then look for “Sign me up for the Newsletter!” Enter your email address. It will then display “Thank you, your sign-up request was successful!” Make sure to check your email address to confirm. You will get sent email updates every time I have written a new article. Also feel free to join My Omaha Obsession on Facebook. Thank you, Omaha friends. Miss Cassette

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Watch the video: Union Pacific train rolls into Union Station 1901 (May 2022).