Oregon rails to California — a timeline

1855

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


1861

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


1863

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)


1864

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


1865

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

Dec. 2 — Southern Pacific Railroad is incorporated


1866

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


1867

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


1868

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


1869

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.


1870

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


1871

Oct. 9 — O&C Railroad reaches Eugene


1872

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


1873

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


1874

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


1876

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


1881

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


1883

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


1884

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


1885

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


1887

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


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