Union Pacific Railroad Company


SKU: 4338

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Product Details

Beautifully engraved antique stock certificate from the Union Pacific Railroad Company dating back to the 1940's. This document, which carries the printed signatures of the company Chairman of the Executive Committee and Secretary, was printed by the American Bank Note Company, and measures approximately 12" (w) by 8" (h).

The vignette on this piece shows an eagle with a flag and a shield.


You will receive the exact certificate pictured. 

Historical Context

True to the Republican platform of 1860, that a Pacific railroad had to be built, Congress passed and Abraham Lincoln signed on July 1, 1862, the first Pacific Railway Bill. The railroad legislation stated that the line to the Pacific would be built by 2 companies: The Union Pacific to build westward from the Missouri River and the Central Pacific to build eastward from Sacramento, California. By the fall of 1863, the required initial stock subscriptions in the Union Pacific had been made and the company was formally organized.

General John A. Dix, a prominent citizen of New York and subscriber to 50 shares, was named president. Dix never took an interest in the management of the company, and the road soon fell into the hands of Dr. Thomas C. Durant, a railroad promoter who earlier had built the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific RR with Henry Farnum. Durant was known more for his stock manipulations than his practice of medicine. Ground for the new line was broken in Omaha on December 2, 1863. But labor was scarce and progress and new stock subscriptions both began to slow. Little progress was made, however in the summer of 1864, Durant did get Congress to sweeten the original Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. In the fall of 1864, Peter Dey was named chief engineer of the railroad. Dey, an honest engineer and a man of integrity, soon resigned when Durant instructed him to change contract specifications and cost estimates. General Greenville Dodge was named the new engineer, and was immediately more amenable to Durant’s ways. Dodge spearheaded the building of the Union Pacific.

By 1866, the base construction camp was at North Platte, Nebraska, some 293 miles west of Omaha. To Dodge, it was a race against the Central Pacific, and he employed over 10,000 men and as many draft animals to help with the grading, bridge building and track laying. Reluctant to see their buffalo country disturbed by iron rails, the Indians resisted the invasion. Most workers had to be skilled with a revolver or carbine to fend off attacks. Army protection was sporadic at best, for as General George Crook remarked, it was not easy for one soldier to surround three Indians. Finally, in 1869, with both the Union Pacific and Central Pacific crews trying to build as much subsidized road as possible, the crews from each of the rails passed each other with parallel lines! The construction was often hurried with flimsy bridges, narrow embankments and improperly ballasted track.