Story of Undertaking by Senator Clark to Build Railroad to These Mining CampsSource: The Salt Lake Herald - Salt Lake City, UT
Date Published: 1906-10-29
STORY OF UNDERTAKING BY SENATOR CLARK TO BUILD RAILROAD TO THESE MINING CAMPS
When Senator W A Clark announced that he would build a railroad from Salt Lake to Los Angeles, he promised that in due time branches would be built to develop mineral districts on both sides of the road. The Las Vegas & Tonopah is the first of these branches. It is not, strictly speaking, a branch of the Salt Lake route, for every share of stock is owned personally by Senator Clark, J Ross Clark and R C Kerens of St. Louis, and the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake corporation has no direct ownership or control.
Always with a keen eye for the possibilities of regions which might be made tributary to his road, Senator Clark investigated the Bullfrog district soon after the great discoveries of gold began to be made there. The first reports were favorable, but it was good business policy to wait and see how the mines developed before going to the great expense to build a railroad 125 miles across a desert. The mines began to justify expectations, however, and in October, 1905, fourteen months after "Ed" Cross and "Shorty" Harris first struck a pick into ore that panned on the Original Bullfrog, the Las Vegas & Tonopah railroad company was organized under the laws of Utah.
It was announced at that time that the road would start at Las Vegas, on the main line of the Salt Lake route would strike north-westward, tapping the Bullfrog district, and then would go on to Goldfield and Tonopah, giving these two rich camps the benefit of a competitive railroad. Construction began last January. The road has been completed to Beatty, a distance of 125 miles. Before the end of November, it will reach Rhyolite, five miles farther. The line has been located to Goldfield, 71 miles beyond Rhyolite. The contract for the material for this last part of the line has been let, and the first ties will be delivered this month. Deal Bros. & Mendenhall of Provo, has the contract for the grading, and they will push the work on as fast as it is possible.
Thus are Senator Clark's original promises being carried out.
In all this, the citizens of the affected district have co-operated heartily. For example, a committee of Beatty citizens secured the right of way through Beatty and two and a half miles beyond. There a Rhyolite committee took it up and secured the right of way through Rhyolite. All this has been done without expense to the railroad company. Where land was to be purchased or houses town down, the committee attended to this, leaving the way clear for the railroad, and showing tangibly the citizen's appreciation of what was being done for them.
The capital stock of the Las Vegas & Tonopah railroad company is $4,000,000. The president is J Ross Clark of Los Angeles, and the vice-president Charles O Whittemore of Salt Lake. These, with Senator W A Clark, R C Kerens of St. Louis, W A Clark, Jr., and W H Comstock and R J Waters of Los Angeles, constitute the directorate.
J Ross Clark made a personal visit to the district last March, and senator Clark in July. These trips have served to increase their faith in the district and its future.
HOW SALT LAKE WAS ADVERTISED BY KERR
The story of the Salt Lake excursion to the Bullfrog district would be incomplete without reference to the part played by Kenneth C Kerr, traveling passenger agent of the Salt Lake Route. When it became evident that the commercial club would not get up a crowd to make the trip and advertise Salt Lake, Mr. Kerr leaped into the breach. The crowd that went was gathered together mainly through his efforts.
No band had been provided, as expected, no badges, and no literature to advertise Salt Lake. Mr. Kerr hurriedly had printed cards of two styles bearing the trademark of the Salt Lake Route and advertising Utah's metropolis. One of these read:
"The Mining Center; the Smelter Center; the Jobbing Center; the Banking Center; Salt Lake City."
The other read:
"Summer or Winter; Spring or Autumn; Always THE Resort, Salt Lake City; the Miners' Favorite Playground."
The Salt Lakers wore these in their hats in lieu of badges, and they were widely distributed. In addition to this, he took along 1,000 copies of the Real Estate association's booklet, "Salt Lake City, From Our Point of View." The booklets were distributed on the train, in Beatty and in Rhyolite, so it turned out that Salt Lake was better advertised than was Los Angeles. This made it easier for the Salt Lake business men to secure orders.
Mr. Kerr looked after the details of caring for the Salt Lake party in such a manner that the excursionists gave him an informal vote of thanks. Although so many remained over that there were few to return Wednesday morning, the Salt Lake Route ran three sleepers, a chair car and a diner as a special train clear through to Salt Lake City, so as to cut out any delay in Las Vegas waiting for the regular train. The officials of the road received much praise for the way they handled the excursion all the way through.
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Submitted: 01/01/10 (Edited 01/08/10)