Collis P. Huntington - Chesapeake, Ohio and Southwestern Railroad - Stock CertificateInv# AG1081 Stock
Collis Potter Huntington (October 22, 1821 August 13, 1900) was an American industrialist and railway magnate. He was one of the Big Four of western railroading (along with Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker) who invested in Theodore Judah's idea to build the Central Pacific Railroad as part of the first U.S. transcontinental railroad. Huntington helped lead and develop other major interstate lines, such as the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway (C&O), which he was recruited to help complete. The C&O, completed in 1873, fulfilled a long-held dream of Virginians of a rail link from the James River at Richmond to the Ohio River Valley. The new railroad facilities adjacent to the river there resulted in expansion of the former small town of Guyandotte, West Virginia into part of a new city which was named Huntington in his honor.
Turning attention to the eastern end of the line at Richmond, Huntington directed the C&O's Peninsula Extension in 188182, which opened a pathway for West Virginia bituminous coal to reach new coal piers on the harbor of Hampton Roads for export shipping. He also is credited with the development of Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, as well as the incorporation of Newport News, Virginia as a new independent city. After his death, both his nephew Henry E. Huntington and his stepson Archer M. Huntington continued his work at Newport News. All three are considered founding fathers in the community, with local features named in honor of each.
Much of the railroad and industrial development which Collis P. Huntington envisioned and led are still important activities in the early 21st century. The Southern Pacific is now part of the Union Pacific Railroad, and the C&O became part of CSX Transportation, each major U.S. railroad systems. West Virginia coal is still transported by rail to be loaded onto colliers at Hampton Roads. Nearby, Huntington Ingalls Industries operates the massive shipyard at Newport News.
From his base in Washington, Huntington was a lobbyist for the Central Pacific and the Southern Pacific in the 1870s and 1880s. The Big Four had built a powerful political machine, which he had a large role in running. He was generous in providing bribes to politicians and congressmen. Revelation of his misdeeds in 1883 made him one of the most hated railroad men in the country.In 1968, Huntington was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
Collis Potter Huntington was born in Harwinton, Connecticut, on October 22, 1821. His family farmed and he grew up helping. In his early teens, he did farm chores and odd jobs for neighbors, saving his earnings. At age 16, he began traveling as a peddler. About this time, he visited rural Newport News Point in Warwick County, Virginia in his travels as a salesman. He never forgot what he thought was the untapped potential of the area, where the James River emptied into the large harbor of Hampton Roads. In 1842 he and his brother Solon Huntington, of Oneonta, New York, established a successful business in Oneonta, selling general merchandise there until about 1848.
When Huntington saw opportunity in America's West, he set out for California. He set up as a merchant in Sacramento at the start of the California Gold Rush. Huntington succeeded in his California business. He teamed up with Mark Hopkins selling miners' supplies and other hardware.
In the late 1850s, Huntington and Hopkins joined forces with two other successful businessmen, Leland Stanford and Charles Crocker, to pursue the idea of creating a rail line that would connect America's east and west. In 1861, these four businessmen (sometimes referred to as The Big Four) pooled their resources and business acumen, and formed the Central Pacific Railroad company to create the western link of America's First Transcontinental Railroad. Of the four, Huntington had a reputation for being the most ruthless in pursuing the railroad's business; he ousted his partner, Stanford.
Huntington negotiated in Washington, DC, with Grenville Dodge, who was supervising railroad construction from the East, over where the railroads should meet. They completed their agreement in April 1869, deciding to meet at Promontory Summit, Utah. On May 10, 1869, at Promontory, the tracks of the Central Pacific Railroad joined with the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad, and America had a transcontinental railroad. The joining was celebrated by the driving of the golden spike, provided for the occasion as a gift to the CPRR by San Francisco banker and merchant David Hewes.
Beginning in 1865, Huntington was also involved in the establishment of the Southern Pacific Railroad with the Big Four principals of the Central Pacific Railroad. The railroad's first locomotive C. P. Huntington, (transferred from the CPR), was named in his honor. With rail lines from New Orleans to the Southwest and into California, Southern Pacific expanded to more than 9,000 miles of track. It also controlled 5,000 miles of connecting steamship lines. Using the Southern Pacific Railroad, Huntington endeavored to prevent the port at San Pedro from becoming the main Port of Los Angeles in the Free Harbor Fight.
Following the American Civil War, efforts were renewed in Virginia to complete a canal or railroad link between Richmond and the Ohio River Valley. Before the war, the Virginia Board of Public Works and the Virginia Central Railroad had provided financial assistance to construct a state-owned link through the Blue Ridge Mountains. It had been completed along this route as far as the upper reaches of the Shenandoah Valley when the War broke out.
Officials of the Virginia Central, led by company president Williams Carter Wickham, realized that they would have to get capital from outside the economically devastated South in order to rebuild. They tried to attract British interests, without success. Finally, Major Wickham succeeded in getting Collis Huntington interested helping to complete the line.
Beginning in 1871, Huntington oversaw completion of the newly formed Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O) from Richmond across Virginia and West Virginia to reach the Ohio River. There, with his brother-in-law D.W. Emmons, he established the planned city of Huntington, West Virginia. He became active in developing the emerging southern West Virginia bituminous coal business for the C&O.
Beginning in 1865, Huntington had been acquiring land in Virginia's eastern Tidewater region, an area not served by extant railroads. In 1880, he formed the Old Dominion Land Company and turned these holdings over to it.
Beginning in December 1880, he led the building of the C&O's Peninsula Subdivision, which extended from the Church Hill Tunnel in Richmond east down the Virginia Peninsula through Williamsburg to the southeastern end of the Peninsula on the harbor of Hampton Roads in Warwick County, Virginia. Through the new railroad and his land company, coal piers were established at Newport News Point.
It may have taken more than 50 years after Virginia's first railroad operated for the lower Peninsula to get a railroad, but once work started, it progressed quickly. In a manner he had previously deployed, notably with the transcontinental railroad, and the line to the Ohio River, work began at both Newport News and Richmond. The crews at each end worked toward each other. The crews met and completed the line 1.25 miles west of Williamsburg on October 16, 1881, although temporary tracks had been installed in some areas to speed completion.
Huntington and his associates had promised they would provide rail service to Yorktown where the United States was celebrating the centennial of the surrender of the British troops under Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781, an event considered most symbolic of the end of American Revolutionary War. Three days after the last spike ceremony, on October 19, the first passenger train from Newport News took local residents and national officials to the Cornwallis Surrender Centennial Celebration at Yorktown on temporary tracks that were laid from the main line at the new Lee Hall Depot to Yorktown.
No sooner had the tracks to the new coal pier at Newport News been completed in late 1881 than the same construction crews were put to work on what would later be called the Peninsula Subdivision's Hampton Branch. It ran easterly about 10 miles into Elizabeth City County toward Hampton and Old Point Comfort, where the U.S. Army base at Fort Monroe guarded the entrance to the harbor of Hampton Roads from the Chesapeake Bay (and the Atlantic Ocean). The tracks were completed about 9 miles to the town which became Phoebus in December 1882, named in honor of its leading citizen, Harrison Phoebus. The new branch line served both the older Hygeia Hotel and the new Hotel Chamberlain, popular destinations for civilians. During the first half of the 20th century, excursion trains were operated to reach nearby Buckroe Beach, where an amusement park was among the attractions for both church groups and vacationers.
At the formerly sleepy little farming community of Newport News Point, Huntington began other , building the landmark Hotel Warwick and founding the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. This became the largest privately owned shipyard in the United States.
Huntington is largely credited with vision and the combination of developments which created and built a vibrant and progressive community. The 15 years of rapid growth and development led to the incorporation of Newport News, Virginia as a new independent city in 1896. It is one of only two independent cities in Virginia that were so formed without developing first as an incorporated town.
Near the tracks of the C&O's Hampton Branch was a normal school, dedicated in its earliest years to training teachers to educate the South's many African-American freedmen after the Civil War and abolition of slavery. Both adults and children were eager to learn. Most southern blacks had been denied opportunities for education literacy before the Civil War. The school which developed to become modern-day Hampton University was first led by former Union General Samuel Chapman Armstrong. Perhaps the best known of General Armstrong's students was a youth named Booker T. Washington. He later was hired as principal of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, another historically black college, and developed it into Tuskegee University. When Sam Armstrong suffered a debilitating paralysis in 1892 while in New York, he returned to Hampton in a private railroad car provided by Huntington, with whom he had collaborated on black education projects.
In the lower Peninsula, Collis and other Huntington family members and their Old Dominion Land Company were involved in many aspects of life and business. They founded schools, museums, libraries and parks among their many contributions. In Williamsburg, Collis' Old Dominion Land Company owned the historic site of the 18th-century capital buildings. This was transferred to the women who were the earliest promoters of what became Preservation Virginia (formerly known as the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities). This site was later a key piece of the Abby and John D. Rockefeller Jr.'s massive restoration of the former colonial capital city. They developed Colonial Williamsburg, one of the world's major tourist attractions.
Huntington did not neglect his namesake city at the other end of the C&O. In order to supply freight cars to the C&O, and by extension to the Southern Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads as well, Huntington was a major financier behind Ensign Manufacturing Company. He based the company in Huntington, West Virginia, directly connecting to the C&O; Ensign was incorporated on November 1, 1872.
After Huntington's death in 1900, his nephew, Henry E. Huntington (1850-1927), assumed leadership of many of his industrial endeavors. The younger man quickly sold off all of the Southern Pacific holdings. He and other family members also continued and expanded many of the senior Huntington's cultural and philanthropic projects, in addition to developing their own.
In addition to his railroad building, Huntington is best known for his political activity in Washington, D.C. and California. At this stage he was based mostly in New York, and visited California about once a year. Stanford remained president, first of the Central Pacific and then of the Southern Pacific Company, until 1890. Huntington was agent and attorney for the Southern Pacific Railroad, vice-president and general agent for the Central Pacific Railroad, first vice-president of the Southern Pacific Company, and a director of the two lines. His main duties were selling company stocks and bonds and acting as the chief lobbyist in Washington, where his two main challenges were to block federal support for a proposed rival transcontinental route, the Texas and Pacific Railway (in which he succeeded) and to postpone payment of the $28 million in cash loans the government had made to the Central Pacific (in which he did not). He first asked to delay payments for fifty years, then for a hundred years. His proposal to cancel the loans created a firestorm of opposition in California, covered colorfully in the newspapers by Ambrose Bierce; when it was defeated in Congress in 1897, the governor of California celebrated by declaring a public holiday. Huntington lost the battle in Congress in 1899 and the Southern Pacific finally paid off the loans in 1909.
Huntington described his activities in a series of private letters to David D. Colton, a senior financial official of his railroads. After Colton's death, litigation opened his files in 1883 and Huntington's letters proved a huge embarrassment, with their detailed descriptions of lobbying, payoffs, and bribes to government officials. They showed Huntington to be an active, profane, and cynical promoter of his companies and display his eagerness to use money to bribe congressmen. The letters did not demonstrate that any cash actually changed hands with any official, but they revealed the tenor of Huntington's morals.
Collis Huntington was the son of William and Elizabeth (Vincent) Huntington; born October 22, 1821, in Harwinton, Connecticut. His siblings were:
- Mary Huntington, born 17 February 1810; married 2 June 1840, Daniel Sammis of Warsaw, New York.
- Solon Huntington, born 13 January 1812.
- Rhoda Huntington, born 13 October 1814; married 10 May 1834, Riley Dunbar of Wolcottville.
- Phebe/Phoebe Huntington, born 17 September 1817; married 4 October 1840, Henry Pardee of Oneonta, New York.
- Elizabeth Huntington, born 19 December 1819; married 5 April 1842, Hiram Yaker of Kortright, New York.
- Collis Potter Huntington, born October 22, 1821.
- Joseph Huntington, born 23 March 1823; d. 23 February 1849; never married
- Susan L. Huntington, born August 1826; married 16 November 1849, William Porter, M.D., of New Haven, Connecticut
- Ellen Maria Huntington, born 12 August 1835; married Isaac E. Gates of Orange, New Jersey. She was known as a poet and hymn writer.
Collis Huntington married Elizabeth Stillman Stoddard, of Cornwall, Connecticut, on September 16, 1844. She lived until 1883. They adopted her niece, Clara Elizabeth Prentice, born in Sacramento in 1860. Clara Elizabeth Prentice-Huntington (18601928), as she was called, married Prince Franz Edmund Joseph Gabriel Vitus von Hatzfeldt-Wildenburg, a.k.a., Francis Hatzfeldt of the House of Hatzfeld, Germany, on October 28, 1889. They made their home at Draycot House, Draycot Cerne, Wiltshire, England.
Huntington remarried on July 12, 1884, to Arabella D. Worsham. She brought to the marriage her son, Archer Milton Worsham, from her first marriage, whom Huntington adopted that year. At fourteen, he became known as Archer Milton Huntington. There were rumors that Huntington had a longer relationship with Arabella and that he was the biological father of her son. Huntington died at his Camp Pine Knot, in the Adirondacks, August 13, 1900.
Archer M. Huntington became a well-known Hispanist and founded The Hispanic Society of America, a museum and rare-books library dedicated to Spanish and Portuguese history, art, and culture, based in upper Manhattan, in New York City. Archer and his second wife, sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington, founded Brookgreen Gardens sculpture and botanical gardens near Murrells Inlet, South Carolina]]. He also founded the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Huntington's nephew, Henry E. Huntington (1850-1927), was also a railway magnate and founder of the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. He was active in Los Angeles, California, where he was the main force behind development of the Pacific Electric system.
He acquired a substantial collection of art, and was generally recognized as one of the country's foremost art collectors. He left most of his collection, valued at $3 million, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, to pass into the museum's hands after the death of his stepson, Archer. His last will directed that if his stepson should die childless (which he did), Huntington's Fifth Avenue mansion or the proceeds from the sale of the property would go to Yale University. He also made specific bequests totaling $125,000 to Hampton University (then Hampton Institute) and to the Chapin Home for the Aged.
- Collis P. Huntington High School, Newport News, Virginia
- Huntington Hotel San Francisco, California
- Huntington Free Library and Reading Room Bronx, New York
- Collis P. Huntington Academic Building; Tuskegee University, Alabama (Destroyed in a fire)
- Huntington Dorm; Tuskegee University, Alabama
- Collis P. Huntington House, New York City
- C. P. Huntington Primary School in Sacramento, California
- Collis Potter and Howard Edwards Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California
- Huntington Hall U.S. Navy enlisted housing and USO 3100 Huntington Avenue, Newport News, Virginia
- Collis P. Huntington Memorial Library Hampton University Now, the Hampton University Museum, Hampton, Virginia
- Huntington, West Virginia
- Collis and Huntington Avenues in Huntington, West Virginia
- Huntington, Texas in Angelina County, Texas
- Huntingdon, Abbotsford, neighborhood in Abbotsford, British Columbia
- North End Huntington Heights Historic District, residential district in Newport News, Virginia
- Camp Pine Knot, also known as Camp Huntington, on Raquette Lake, New York, which is now owned by the State University of New York at Cortland
- Collis P. Huntington State Park, Redding and Bethel, Connecticut
- Huntington Park, and Huntington Avenue, Newport News, Virginia
- Huntington Park, the site of his San Francisco home that was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire
- Mount Huntington, a peak in Fresno County, California
- Collis Place in Bronx County, New York, which is located several blocks from Huntington's riverside mansion.
- Tugboat Huntington retired 1994, now a floating exhibit and classroom at the Palm Beach Maritime Museum, Palm Beach, Florida
- Collis Avenue, a residential street that starts at Huntington Drive in the El Sereno district of the City of Los Angeles and ends in the City of South Pasadena, California
- Huntington Boulevard in Fresno, California
- C.P. Huntington, a 4-2-4T currently owned by the California State Railroad Museum
He was referred to in Black Beetles in Amber by Ambrose Bierce as "Happy Hunty". Huntington was also referenced in Carl Sandburg's poem, Southern Pacific. In the AMC series Hell on Wheels he is played by actor Tim Guinee.
The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (reporting marks C&O, CO) was a Class I railroad formed in 1869 in Virginia from several smaller Virginia railroads began in the 19th century. Led by industrialist Collis P. Huntington, it reached from Virginia's capital city of Richmond to the Ohio River by 1873, where the railroad town (and later city) of Huntington, West Virginia, was named for him.
Tapping the coal reserves of West Virginia, the C&O's Peninsula Extension to new coal piers on the harbor of Hampton Roads resulted in the creation of the new City of Newport News. Coal revenues also led the forging of a rail link to the Midwest, eventually reaching Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo in Ohio and Chicago, Illinois.
By the early 1960s the C&O was headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. In 1972, under the leadership of Cyrus Eaton, it became part of the Chessie System, along with the Baltimore and Ohio and Western Maryland Railway. The Chessie System was later combined with the Seaboard Coast Line and Louisville and Nashville, both the primary components of the Family Lines System, to become a key portion of CSX Transportation (CSXT) in the 1980s.
C&O's passenger services ended in 1971 with the formation of Amtrak. Today Amtrak's tri-weekly Cardinal passenger train follows the historic and scenic route of the C&O through the New River Gorge in one of the more rugged sections of the Mountain State. The rails of the former C&O also continue to transport intermodal and freight traffic, as well as West Virginia bituminous coal east to Hampton Roads and west to the Great Lakes as part of CSXT, a Fortune 500 company which was one of seven Class I railroads operating in North America at the beginning of the 21st century.
At the end of 1970 C&O operated 5067 miles (8 155 km) of road on 10219 miles (16 446 km) of track, not including WM or B&O and its subsidiaries.
The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway traced its origin to the Louisa Railroad of Louisa County, Virginia, begun in 1836, and the James River & Kanawha Canal Company, also in Virginia, begun in 1785. The first train ran on December 20, 1837.
Originally a feeder line to connect with the predecessor of the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad (RF&P) at what is now Doswell, by 1850 the Louisa Railroad had won the right in Virginia courts to build southeast (timetable east) to Richmond in competition with the RF&P. It also expanded west, reaching Charlottesville. In keeping with its new and larger vision, it was renamed the Virginia Central Railroad. However, plans to cross the Blue Ridge Mountains, the first mountain barrier to the west, at Swift Run Gap proved both financially and technically unfeasible.
The Commonwealth of Virginia, always keen to help with internal improvements not only owned a portion of Virginia Central stock through the state Board of Public Works, but incorporated and financed the Blue Ridge Railroad to accomplish the hard and expensive task of crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains. Under the leadership of the great early civil engineer Claudius Crozet, the Blue Ridge RR built over the mountains using four tunnels: Greenwood Tunnel, Brookville Tunnel, Little Rock Tunnel, and the 4,263-foot (1,299 m) Blue Ridge Tunnel at the top of the pass, then one of the longest tunnels in the world.
At the same time, Virginia Central was building westward from the west foot of the Blue Ridge, crossing the Shenandoah Valley (a part of the Great Appalachian Valley) and Great North Mountain, finally reaching the foot of the Alleghany Mountains (note that in Virginia Alleghany is spelled with an "a") in 1856 at a point known as Jackson's River Station, later to be called Clifton Forge.
To finish its line across the mountainous territory of the Alleghany Plateau (known in old Virginia as the "Transmountaine"), the Commonwealth again chartered a state-subsidized railroad called the Covington and Ohio Railroad, authorized by the General Assembly in 1853. This company completed important grading work on the Alleghany grade and did considerable work on numerous tunnels over the mountains and in the west. It also did a good deal of roadway work around Charleston on the Kanawha River. Then the American Civil War intervened, and work was stopped on the westward expansion.
During the Civil War the Virginia Central Railroad was one of the Confederacy's most important lines, carrying food from the Shenandoah region to Richmond, and ferrying troops and supplies back and forth as the campaigns surrounded its tracks frequently. It had an important connection with the Orange and Alexandria Railroad at Gordonsville, Virginia. On more than one occasion, the Virginia Central was used in actual tactical operations, transporting troops directly to the battlefield. But, it was a prime target for Federal armies, and by the end of the war had only about five miles (8 km) of track still in operation, and $40 in gold in its treasury.
Following the war, Virginia Central officials, led by company president Williams Carter Wickham, realized that they would have to get capital to rebuild from outside the economically devastated South, and attempted to attract British interests, without success. Finally they succeeded in interesting Collis P. Huntington of New York. Huntington was one of the "Big Four" involved in building the Central Pacific portion of the Transcontinental Railroad, which was not yet reaching completion (May 1869). Huntington had a vision of a true transcontinental railroad that would go from sea to sea under one operating management, and decided that the Virginia Central might be the eastern link to this system.
Huntington supplied the Virginians with the money needed to complete the line to the Ohio River, through what was now the new state of West Virginia. The old Covington & Ohio's properties were conveyed to them [Note: the name was Railroad at this time ... it will be changed later to Railway] in keeping with its new mission of linking the Tidewater coast of Virginia with the "Western Waters." This was the old dream of the "Great Connection" which had been current in Virginia since Colonial times.
On July 1, 1867, the C&O was completed nine miles (14 km) from Jackson's River Station to the town of Covington, county seat of Alleghany County. By 1869, it had crossed Alleghany Mountain, using much of the tunneling and roadway work done by the Covington & Ohio before the war, and was running to the great mineral springs resort at White Sulphur Springs, now in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. Here, stagecoach connections were made for Charleston and the navigation on the Kanawha River (and thus water transportation on the whole Ohio/Mississippi system).
During 18691873 the hard work of building through West Virginia was done with large crews working from both ends: the new city of Huntington on the Ohio River and White Sulphur (much as the UP and CP had done in the transcontinental work). The line was completed at Hawks Nest, West Virginia, in the New River Valley on January 28, 1873.
The West Virginia stretch of the C&O was the site of the legendary competition between John Henry and a steam-powered machine; the competition is said to have taken place in a tunnel south of Talcott, West Virginia, near the Greenbrier River. The C&O's westward expansion was completed at a cost of $23,394,263.69 (over $414 million in 2010 dollars).
Typical of the men who built the C&O during this period was William Nelson Page, a civil engineer who had attended special courses in engineering at the University of Virginia before he went to work on the railroad. Page directed the location and construction of the New River Canyon Bridge in 1871 and 1872, and of the Mill Creek Canyon bridge in 1874. In 1875 and 1876, he led the surveying party charged with mapping out the route of the double-track railway to extend between Hampton Roads and the Ohio River via the New River and Kanawha Valleys of West Virginia. Like many men who came to West Virginia with the railroad, Page was struck with both the beauty and potential of the natural resources and is considered one of the more energetic and successful men who helped develop West Virginia's rich bituminous coal fields in the late 19th and early 20th century. Page and his wife Emma Hayden Gilham, settled in the tiny mountain hamlet of Ansted, West Virginia, a town located in Fayette County which was named for British geologist David T. Ansted, who had mapped much of the region's coal resources in 1853. The palatial Page Mansion was built on a high bluff overlooking the New River far below, where the C&O occupied both sides of the narrow valley. Between the bridge just below Sewell and the one at Hawks Nest, one track is on the west bank of the New River, and the other on the east bank.
Collis Huntington intended to connect the C&O with his western and mid-western holdings, but had much other railroad construction to finance and he stopped the line at the Ohio and over the next few years did little to improve its rough construction or develop traffic. The only connection to the West was by packet boats operating on the Ohio River. Because the great mineral resources of the region hadn't been fully realized yet, the C&O suffered through the bad times brought on by the Financial Panic of 1873, and went into receivership in 1878. Williams C. Wickham was named as its Receiver. When reorganized, it was renamed The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company.
Shortly after the end of the Civil War, Collis P. Huntington and his associates began buying up land in Warwick County, Virginia. During the ten years from 1878 to 1888, C&O's coal resources began to be developed and shipped eastward. Transportation began of southern West Virginia coal to Newport News where it was loaded on coast-wise shipping and transported to the Northeast became a staple of the C&O's business at this time.
In 1881, C&O's new Peninsula Extension was completed from Richmond through the new Church Hill Tunnel and down the Virginia Peninsula through Williamsburg to reach coal piers located on the harbor Hampton Roads, the East Coast of the United States' largest ice-free port. The Peninsula Subdivision featured gentle grades through coastal plains of the Tidewater region of Virginia, dropping only about 30 feet in elevation, from Richmond (54 feet above sea-level) to Newport News (at 15 feet above sea-level).
Collis P. Huntington helped develop the tiny unincorporated community at Newport New Point into a new independent city with the coal and other railroad business and the development of Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company.
In 188384 the failure of the railroad to repay a loan led to the failure of the finance company Fisk & Hatch and the Newark Savings Institution (which held much of its money with Fisk & Hatch).
In 1888 Huntington lost control of the C&O in a reorganization without foreclosure that saw his majority interest lost to the interests of J.P. Morgan and William K. Vanderbilt. In those days before US antitrust laws were created, many smaller railroads which appeared to be in competition with each other were essentially under common control. Even the leaders of large Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) and New York Central Railroad (NYC), ostensibly bitter rivals, had secretly entered into a "community of interests" pact.
Morgan and Vanderbilt had Melville E. Ingalls installed as president. Ingalls was, at the time, also President of the Vanderbilt's Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad (The "Big Four System"), and held both presidencies concurrently for the next decade. Ingalls installed George W. Stevens as general manager and effective head of the C&O.
In 1889 the Richmond and Allegheny Railroad company, which had been built along the tow-path of the defunct James River and Kanawha Canal, was merged into the C&O, giving it a down grade "water level" line from Clifton Forge to Richmond, avoiding the heavy grades of North Mountain and the Blue Ridge on the original Virginia Central route. On this line, trains descend nearly 1,000 feet in elevation to Richmond (54 feet elevation) following the path of the river. This "James River Line" became the principal artery of eastbound coal transportation down to the present day.
Ingalls and Stevens completely rebuilt the C&O to "modern" standards with ballasted roadbed, enlarged and lined tunnels, steel bridges, and heavier steel rails, as well as new, larger, cars and locomotives.
In 1888, the C&O built the Cincinnati Division, from Huntington, West Virginia, down the south bank of the Ohio River in Kentucky and across the river at Cincinnati, connecting with the "Big Four" and other Midwestern Railroads.
From 1900 to 1920 most of the C&O's lines tapping the rich bituminous coal fields of southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky were built, and the C&O as it was known throughout the rest of the 20th Century was essentially in place.
In 1910 C&O merged the Chicago, Cincinnati & Louisville Railroad into its system. This line had been built diagonally across the state of Indiana from Cincinnati to Hammond in the preceding decade. This gave the C&O a direct line from Cincinnati to the great railroad hub of Chicago.
Also in 1910, C&O interests bought control of the Kanawha and Michigan (K&M) and Hocking Valley Railway (HV) lines in Ohio, with a view to connecting with the Great Lakes through Columbus. Eventually antitrust laws forced C&O to abandon its K&M interests, but it was allowed to retain the Hocking Valley, which operated about 350 miles (560 km) in Ohio, including a direct line from Columbus to the port of Toledo, and numerous branches southeast of Columbus in the Hocking Coal Fields. But there was no direct connection with the C&O's mainline, now hauling previously undreamed-of quantities of coal. To get its coal up to Toledo and into Great Lakes shipping, C&O contracted with its rival Norfolk & Western to carry trains from Kenova,. W. Va. to Columbus. N&W, however, limited this business and the arrangement was never satisfactory.
C&O gained access to the Hocking Valley by building a new line directly from a point a few miles from its huge and growing terminal at Russell, Ky., to Columbus between 1917 and 1926. It crossed the Ohio River at Limeville, Ky. (Sciotoville, Ohio), on the Sciotoville Bridge. With the connection at Columbus complete, C&O soon was sending more of its high quality metallurgical and steam coal west than east, and in 1930 it merged the Hocking Valley into its system.
Miles (kilometres) of road operated at year end: C&O 2635 (4241), HV 349 (562), PM 2305 (3710) in 1925; C&O 3076 (4950), PM 1949 (3137) in 1944; C&O 5067 (8155) in 1970.
The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway never spent lavishly on streamlined passenger trains, or passenger service in general, opting to put most of its resources into moving coal and freight in general. However, it did have a number of well known passenger trains including the George Washington, Fast Flying Virginian, Sportsman, Pere Marquette, and Resort Special. While the George Washington was the railroad's flagship, the Sportsman (which connected Washington, D.C., and Newport News) and the Resort Special were also well-traveled trains on the system. Much of the reason for the popularity of C&O's passenger trains was because of Chessie, the sleeping kitten, one of the most successful and fondly remembered marketing campaigns ever developed. Chessie was so popular when she debuted in 1933 that the C&O could not keep enough merchandise in stock.
Chessie sported two kittens, Nip and Tuck. During World War II, Chessie's "husband" Peake (creating the name "Chessie Peak", as in Chesapeake) was shown with a bandage on his paw as a war veteran returning from military service.
While the kitten was created by artist Guido Grenewald, the success of Chessie as a marketing tool is often credited to Lionel Probert, at the time an assistant to the C&O president.
The next significant change for C&O came in 1923 when the great Cleveland financiers, the Van Sweringen brothers (O. P. and M. J. Van Sweringen), bought a controlling interest in the line as part of their expansion of the Nickel Plate Road (NKP) system. Eventually they controlled the NKP, C&O, Pere Marquette Railroad (in Michigan and Ontario), and Erie railroads. They managed to control this huge (for the time) system by a maze of holding companies and interlocking directorships. This house of cards tumbled when the Great Depression began and the Van Sweringen companies collapsed.
However, the C&O was a strong line. Despite the fact that in the early 1930s over 50% of American railroads went into receivership, it not only avoided bankruptcy, but took the occasion of cheap labor and materials to again completely rebuild itself. During the hard economic, C&O was boring new tunnels, adding double track, rebuilding bridges, upgrading the weight of its rail, and rebuilding its roadbed, all with money from its principal commodity of haulage: coal. Even during the Great Depression, coal was something that had to be used everywhere, and C&O was sitting astride some of the best bituminous seams in the country.
Because of this great upgrading and building program, C&O was in prime condition to carry the monumental loads needed during World War II. During the War it transported men and material in unimagined quantities as the U. S. used the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation as a principal departure point for the European Theater. The invasion of North Africa was loaded there. Of course, in addition to fueling the ships of the U.S. Navy and the merchant marine, coal was also needed in ever increasing quantities by war industries. C&O was ready with a powerful, well organized, well maintained railway powered by the largest and most modern locomotives.
By the end of the World War II, C&O was poised to help America during its great growth during the decades following, and at mid-century was truly a line of national importance. It became more so, at least in the public eye through Robert Ralph Young, its mercurial Chairman, and his Alleghany Corporation.
Young got control of the C&O through the remnants of the Van Sweringen companies, in 1942, and for the next decade he became "the gadfly of the rails," as he challenged old methods of financing and operating railroads. He regarded himself as a crusader against the mismanagement of railroads by banking interests. Young's most famous advertisement slogan was "A hog can cross the country without changing trains but you can't."
Nicknamed "Rail Road Young", R.R. Young inaugurated many forward looking advances in technology that have ramifications to the present. He changed the C&O's herald (logo) to "C&O for Progress" to embody his ideas that C&O would lead the industry to a new day. He installed a well-staffed research and development department that came up with ideas for passenger service that are thought to be futuristic even now, and for freight service that would challenge the growth of trucking. Young eventually gave up his C&O position to become Chairman of the New York Central (NYC). However, Young was unable to accomplish results he had promised stockholders at the NYC. A lifelong victim of depression, he committed suicide in 1958.
During the Young era and following, C&O was headed by Walter J. Tuohy, under whose control the "For Progress" theme continued, though in a more muted way after the departure of Young. During this time, C&O installed the first large computer system in railroading, developed larger and better freight cars of all types, switched (reluctantly) from steam to diesel motive power, and diversified its traffic, which had already occurred in 1947 when it merged into the system the old Pere Marquette Railway (PM) of Michigan and Ontario, Canada, which had been controlled by the C&O since Van Sweringen days. The PM's huge automotive industry traffic, taking raw materials in and finished vehicle out, gave C&O some protection from the swings in the coal trade, putting merchandise traffic at 50% of the company's haulage.
C&O continued to be one of the more profitable and financially sound railways in the United States, and in 1963, under the guidance of Cyrus S. Eaton, helped start the modern merger era by "affiliating" with the Baltimore & Ohio. The two lines' services, personnel, motive power and rolling stock, and facilities were gradually integrated. Under the leadership of Hays T. Watkins Jr., in 1973 Chessie System was created as a holding company for the C&O, B&O and Western Maryland Railway. In effect, C&O formally adopted a nickname that had been used colloquially for the railroad for several years, after the mascot kitten used in ads since 1933.
Under Watkins' leadership, Chessie System then merged with Seaboard Coast Line Industries, holding company for Seaboard Coast Line Railroad and several other great railroads of the Southeast (including Louisville and Nashville Railroad, Clinchfield Railroad and others) to form CSX Corporation, with Chessie and SCL as its leading subsidiaries. Watkins became CEO of the merged company.
Over the next five years, the CSX railroads began consolidating into one mega-railroad. The process began when SCL merged its railroads into the Seaboard System Railroad in 1982.
Western Maryland was merged into B&O on May 1, 1983. B&O was merged into C&O on April 30, 1987. Seaboard changed its name to CSX Transportation on July 1, 1986. Finally, C&O merged into CSX Transportation on Aug. 31, 1987. After acquiring 42% of Conrail in 1999, CSX became one of four major railroad systems left in the country.
Tex Beneke and his Orchestra performed a big band number 'Chesapeake And Ohio', written by Sigman & Magidson, in which Tex sang of his regret about not requesting the address of a lady he met on the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway.
The C&O is mentioned in the train wreck ballad Engine 143.
A stock certificate is issued by businesses, usually companies. A stock is part of the permanent finance of a business. Normally, they are never repaid, and the investor can recover his/her money only by selling to another investor. Most stocks, or also called shares, earn dividends, at the business's discretion, depending on how well it has traded. A stockholder or shareholder is a part-owner of the business that issued the stock certificates.