J. Craig Thorpe (American, B. 1948) "California Locomotive" Signed lower left. Original Oil painting on Paper.
Provenance: Collection of James A. Helzer (1946-2008), Founder of Unicover Corporation.
This painting originally appeared on the Fleetwood Legendary Locomotives of the 50 States California Commemorative Cover postmarked November 11, 1994.
In 1861, most people were skeptical about engineer Theodore D. Judah's idea of building America's first transcontinental rail line. After all, Judah's plan called for laying track from California eastward through the rugged Sierra Nevada mountain range, an engineering feat few thought possible. Yet, four California merchants -- Mark Hopkins, Charles Crocker, Leland Stanford and Collis P. Huntington -- shared Judah's vision and promptly formed the Central Pacific Railroad. Known later as the "Big Four," these entrepreneurs named Judah their chief engineer and sent him to Washington, D.C., to lobby for aid. Federal support came on July 1, 1862, when President Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act. The Act provided for land grants and subsidies to the Central Pacific, which was to build the line from Sacramento eastward, and to the Union Pacific, which would start at Omaha and head west. The Central Pacific laid its first tracks on October 26, 1863. The Union Pacific started westward some two years later. On May 10, 1869, the two rail lines joined at Promontory, Utah. On November 11, 1863, the 4-4-0 engine featured on this Cover, the Governor Stanford, became the first locomotive to operate on the Central Pacific Railroad. Built by Richard Norris & Son of Philadelphia, this magnificent machine had made a 127-day ocean voyage from Boston to San Francisco. It was named for the president of the Central Pacific and then-governor of California, Leland Stanford.
Image Size: 14 x 12 in.
Overall Size: 18 x 15 in.
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