By Peter J Lewty
In precisely many years of prosperity, among 1886 and 1891, a wave of railroad development broke around the moderately populated inland undeniable of the Pacific Northwest. Racing to safe strategic routes and assets of site visitors, the railway promoters equipped an in depth and bewildering community of competing strains. carrying on with the saga he began in To the Columbia Gateway: The Oregon Railway and the Northern Pacific, 1879-1884 (WSU Press, 1987), Peter Lewty describes the region's dramatic railroad growth within the years 1885 to 1893. Recreating the present surroundings of optimism and pleasure, he strains the growth of the Northern Pacific and Union Pacific structures within the inside Northwest, chronicles the development of the Pacific extension of the good Northern Railway, and offers a multi-faceted portrait of railway operations at the final frontier of yankee payment.
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Additional resources for Across the Columbia Plain: Railroad Expansion in the Interior Northwest, 1885-1893
De Lashmutt, a capitalist interested in both the OR&N and the Coeur d'Alene mines, resorted to litigation on the basis of the existing Oregon State Railway Lease Law. Northern Pacific, he complained, could not, as a parallel and competing railroad, become joint lessee of the OR&N property. On March 2, 1888 Judge Loyal B. 42 At the time of the injunction against the joint lease, Henry Villard was about to leave for Germany to consult with his principals. Anxious to bear tidings of harmonious relationships and favorable investment climates, he could ill afford the embarrassment caused by the Oregon litigation.
Imminent failure of the Oregon & Transcontinental Co. in turn threatened to bring down the New York financial house of Chase Higginson & Co. and precipitate a more widespread financial collapse. 24 Henry Villard had returned to the United States from Germany in October 1886 bearing a commission to act as New York financial agent for the Deutsche Bank of Berlin. On August 27, 1887 Elijah Smith approached him seeking a $5 million loan for the Oregon & Transcontinental. In return he offered Villard the presidencies of Page 6 the two Oregon companies and total control of the voting rights pertaining to the Oregon & Transcontinental holdings of Northern Pacific stock.
During the next five years the railway companies discussed a lease by Northern Pacific alone, a lease by Union Pacific alone, and a lease by both companies acting jointly. A first round of negotiations with Northern Pacific continued throughout the spring and summer of 1884. 1 No agreement could be reached, however, for although the Northern Pacific directors proved reluctant to let the OR&N lines fall into other hands, they were neither willing nor able to pay the extortionate rental, which would have amounted to interest on OR&N bonds plus 6 percent dividends on the stock in the first year, 7 percent in the second year, and 8 percent thereafter.