The Pacific Railroad Controversy

The Pacific Railroad Controversy (HM2G7M)

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N 38° 34.329', W 90° 27.636'

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"As one intrusted with your interests, I felt that your rights had been disregarded, and I did not fail to express my convictions in pretty strong language, to which Mr. Garrison and his associates took great exceptions and have never forgiven me for the position I then assumed in regard to it, which has ever since been to them a cause of hostility toward me."
~Hudson E. Bridge, in an open letter to Pacific Railroad stockholders in 1869.

The road did finally make it from St. Louis to Kansas City. It was repaired, finished and running along its approximately 300-mile route to the western Missouri border as of September 1865, but the Civil War was not the end of the railroad's troubles.

In early 1868, three of the Pacific's trustees were appointed to lobby for legislation that would allow the Board to purchase the state's holdings in the railroad. Henry L. Patterson, George R. Taylor and Daniel R. Garrison made the journey to Jefferson City. In order to garner support for the Board's cause, the men bribed legislators and perhaps even the governor with money from the company's coffers.

The appointed committee and the majority of the board members had one quite scandalous motive in making this purchase — to cover up a scam from which most of them were benefiting. The outspoken minority dissenter, Hudson E. Bridge, brought it to light in a series of articles in The Missouri Democrat and in an open letter to the Pacific Railroad's stockholders. The scam was a "fast freight line" called the St. Louis & Pacific Express Company (or White Line), which Garrison and Patterson helped established in 1866. Unlike other fast freight lines it did not connect the Pacific to any other railroads, so did not profit the Pacific in any way. Rather, this "company" was designed solely to line the pockets of its stockholders, who included nearly everyone on the Pacific Railroad's Board of Directors.

In the end, Hudson E. Bridge purchased St. Louis County's stake in the Pacific in 1869. With a majority of holdings, he took control of the company. The White Line's contract was dissolved immediately. In what appears to be an admission of guilt, the ringleaders of the scam resigned from the Board. Nevertheless, the Pacific Railroad was plagued with economic hardships throughout the next decade.
HM NumberHM2G7M
Placed ByMuseum of Transportation
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, April 28th, 2019 at 8:05pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15S E 721225 N 4272357
Decimal Degrees38.57215000, -90.46060000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 34.329', W 90° 27.636'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 34' 19.74" N, 90° 27' 38.16" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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