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San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley Railway Company


SKU: 644
Product Details

Beautifully engraved antique stock certificate from the San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley Railway Company dating back to the 1890's. This document, which has been signed by the company Vice President and Secretary, was printed by Payot-Upham & Co. of San Francisco and measures approximately 11 3/4" (w) by 7 1/4" (h). 


 The vignette on this piece features a train steaming down the tracks.

You will receive the exact certificate pictured.

    Historical Context

    The San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley Railway was incorporated in California on February 26, 1895.

    The San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley Railroad was known by informal names including the "People's Railroad," and more commonly, the "Valley Road." The kine was built to help break the monopoly the Southern Pacific Railroad held over valley industry and agriculture.

    The Southern Pacific Railroad, the first railroad into Kern County, arrived in 1874. Bakersfield city residents endured a strained relationship with the Southern Pacific Railroad when the location of the depot was not placed at the intersection of Chester Avenue and the tracks. Instead, the company placed the railroad depot nearly three miles east of Bakersfield and founded the town of Sumner, now in East Bakersfield.

    After years of speculation and discussion, sugar magnate Claus Spreckels offered $500,000 on Jan. 17, 1895, provided an additional $3,000,000 could be raised to build a second railroad into the San Joaquin Valley. By Jan. 29, 1895 the San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley Railroad was born. The additional money raised to build the railroad came from small investors all over the state, thus the name the People's Railroad.

    On April 22, the day that the purchase of the electric streetlights for downtown was announced, the Daily Californian newspaper editorial highlighted a new concern: "It has been suggested that the valley railroad celebration be foregone in view of the fact that when May 27th arrives, the day of the proposed jollification, the country may be involved in a war."

    The city feared that America would be taking heavy causalities by the date of the celebration. But the Bakersfield men of Company G would end up serving their time in the Spanish-American War guarding the borders of California from attack. They even left traveling on the recently constructed Valley Road.

    By May 27, 1898, the city of Bakersfield was ready to celebrate. The Daily Californian ran the headline, "Kern County Welcomes the Valley Road," and a report that read, "When Bakersfield awoke this morning it was to find every street in the town gaily decorated with streamers, flags and buntings and every business house tastily arrayed in gala attire."

    Delegations from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Fresno and Merced watched a parade with thousands of spectators as local sports team members, Civil War veterans, business people and the Bakersfield fire department workers marched in columns. The Chinese community brought floats and parade dragons down from San Francisco at great expense and effort to the delight of the parade audience. The celebration included free passage on the new Valley Road.

    A planning committee asked that the railroad "fare be set at a figure low enough to be attractive and high enough to keep the hoboes from crowding the coaches."

    Before the Valley Road was completed, the Southern Pacific Railroad passenger fare from Bakersfield to San Francisco was set at $9.10. With the resulting competition, the Southern Pacific lowered its fare to $6.90 to match the fare offered by the San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley Railroad.

    The San Francisco Call headlined their newspaper, "Bakersfield freed from tyranny" on May 28, 1898 in reference to the breaking of the monopoly held by the Southern Pacific Railroad.

    In 1901, the company was merged into the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. At the time, the company operated over 370 miles of track.