22-110 THE STORY BEHIND THE COMPLETION OF AMERICA’S FIRST NATIONAL PROJECT – THE TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD (REPEAT)
Gerry Miller, Mondays, 10 am to 12 noon
Sonoran Room: February 21, 28, March 7, 14, 21
The building of the world's first transcontinental railroad (i.e., America's Transcontinental Railroad (TCRR)) was a vast, unprecedented feat of engineering. It was also a profoundly historic event in American history. When you consider that the first 13 miles of track in the U.S. were completed in August of 1830, the concept of building a railroad all the way across the United States just 39 years later seemed impossible to most Americans. But the Railroad Act of 1862 set the wheels in motion to do just that. This class will describe the political, economic, engineering, and special personnel (i.e., Chinese) involved in completing this approximately 2,000-mile railroad. When completed the TCRR introduced some major changes to the way of life in the U.S. including reducing travel time between the west coast and east coast from 3 months to 6 days, introducing time zones, creating a new class of American worker called the white-collar class, and spurring new inventions such as stronger bridges.