Oregon rails to California — a timeline


May-November — Lts. Henry Abbot and Robert Williamson conduct the Pacific Railroad Survey, seeking a route between Portland and the Sacramento Valley


June 28 — Central Pacific Railroad Co. of California is organized by Leland Stanford, Collis P. Huntington, Mark Hopkins and Charles Crocker


May-October — Simon Elliot and George Belden begin railroad survey from Marysville, Calif., to Portland

Nov. 7 — California and Columbia River Railroad Co. incorporates at Jacksonville as a means to raise funds to continue the survey

Dec. 1 — Dissension splits the partnership into the CCRR (Oregon) and California and Oregon Railroad Co. (California)


May-October — Charles Barry completes rail survey from Jacksonville to Portland, but there's still insufficient funding for a railroad in Oregon


June 30 — California and Oregon Railroad Co. formally incorporates in Sacramento, Calif.

Dec. 2 — Southern Pacific Railroad is incorporated


July 25 — U.S. Congress authorizes grants of public land as incentive to the railroad company that builds between Oregon and California. Oregon Legislature to designate the Oregon railroad

Oct. 6 — Oregon Central Railroad Co. of Portland organizes, with former Oregon Sentinel Editor Joseph Gaston as secretary. It's later known as the West Side Co. with a route planned down the west side of the Willamette River


April 23 — West Side's rival, Oregon Central Railroad Co. of Salem, incorporates, with Gov. George Woods elected as chairman. The company is later known as the East Side Co. with a route planned down the east side of the Willamette River


April 15 — West Side Co. breaks ground in Portland. The next day the East Side Co. also breaks ground

Early September — Ben Holladay arrives in Salem. His company will construct the East Side railroad. Gaston believes Holladay is bribing legislators to favor the East Side

Oct. 20 — Oregon Legislature's Joint Resolution selects East Side Co. as the state's official Oregon Central Railroad. First spike is driven Oct. 29


May 10 — Central Pacific Railroad completes western portion of the Transcontinental Railroad, meeting the Union Pacific Railroad at Promontory Summit, Utah

Sept. 7 — Ben Holladay, citing incompetent management, successfully demands that all stock and bonds of the Oregon Central Railroad be turned over to him

Mid-October — California and Oregon Railroad begins construction north from Marysville, Calif.


March 17 — The East Side Oregon Central Railroad is dissolved and renamed Oregon and California Railroad Co.

July 2 — Holladay and the O&C Railroad Co. take over Gaston's West Side Co. for $70,000. Holladay begins issuing $10.5 million in bonds, the majority purchased by German investors

Aug. 22 — Central Pacific Railroad acquires California and Oregon Railroad

Sept. 29 — O&C Railroad reaches from Portland to Salem. Albany reached Christmas Day

Oct. 12 — Central Pacific Railroad acquires Southern Pacific Railroad


Oct. 9 — O&C Railroad reaches Eugene


Sept. 1 — California and Oregon Railroad reaches Redding, Calif., and stops

Dec. 3 — O&C reaches Roseburg, runs out of money, and stops — 145 miles from Ashland


Sept. 18 — Stock market crashes. Holladay is nearly wiped out and no longer able to meet interest payments on bonds


End of July — Henry Villard, representing German investors, makes first visit to Oregon to discuss the railroad's financial problems with Holladay in Roseburg


April 18 — Holladay is permanently removed from the O&C. Henry Villard takes control


May 5 — Reorganization announced. Old bonds are converted to stock. A new mortgage is created to provide funds for extension of the O&C line with management by Villard's Oregon Railway and Navigation Co. and operation by the Oregon and California Railroad Co.

Dec. 6 — Railroad manager announces that construction to extend O&C line from Roseburg to California is beginning


April 9 — California and Oregon Railroad resumes construction north from Redding, Calif.

May 25 — O&C leased to the Oregon and Transcontinental Co. for a term of 99 years with operations still managed by the Oregon Railway and Navigation Co. Both companies are organized by Henry Villard


January-May 4 — O&C reaches Jackson County and construction stops at Ashland (310.8 miles from Portland)

June 20 — Villard's Oregon Railway and Navigation Co. is insolvent. With his failure, all construction is canceled. Oregon and California Railroad Co. now sole operator of the O&C railroad


Jan. 19 — U.S. courts place O&C in receivership after the company defaults on first bond payments

Feb. 5 — Villard resigns

April 30 — Central Pacific Railroad begins consolidation of its various railroad holdings as the Southern Pacific Co.

Aug. 14 — Southern Pacific Co. formally organizes


March 18 — Transfer agreement announced between Southern Pacific and O&C railroads. Construction to connect Oregon and California over the Siskiyou Summit begins (45 miles separate the two railroads)

May 1 — Southern Pacific reaches Hornbrook, Calif.

July 1 — Stock and control of O&C transferred to Southern Pacific

Dec. 17 — Charles Crocker, vice president of Southern Pacific, drives the golden spike in Ashland, connecting the O&C and Southern Pacific railroads

Reader Reaction
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form. New comments are only accepted for two weeks from the date of publication.