Northern Pacific Railroad - Fantastic Set of 5 Stock Certificates - 5 Different ColorsInv# NP1000 Stock
Stocks bearing the engraved portrait of Frederick Billings, the certificates of the Northern Pacific Railroad provide a wonderful example of the art of intaglio printing in the 19th century done by the National Bank Note Company. Set of 5 different colors!
The Northern Pacific Railway (reporting mark NP) was a transcontinental railroad that operated across the northern tier of the western United States, from Minnesota to the Pacific Northwest. It was approved by Congress in 1864 and given nearly forty million acres (62,000 sq mi; 160,000 km2) of land grants, which it used to raise money in Europe for construction.
Construction began in 1870 and the main line opened all the way from the Great Lakes to the Pacific when former President Ulysses S. Grant drove in the final "golden spike" in western Montana on September 8, 1883. The railroad had about 6,800 miles (10,900 km) of track and served a large area, including extensive trackage in the states of Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin. In addition, the NP had an international branch to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The main activities were shipping wheat and other farm products, cattle, timber, and minerals; bringing in consumer goods, transporting passengers; and selling land.
The Northern Pacific was headquartered in Minnesota, first in Brainerd, then in Saint Paul. It had a tumultuous financial history; the NP merged with other lines in 1970 to form the Burlington Northern Railroad, which in turn merged with the Santa Fe Railway to become the BNSF Railway in 1996.
Congress chartered the Northern Pacific Railway Company on July 2, 1864, with the goals of connecting the Great Lakes with Puget Sound on the Pacific, opening vast new lands for farming, ranching, lumbering and mining, and linking Washington and Oregon to the rest of the country.
Congress granted the railroad a potential 60 million acres (243,000 km2) of land in exchange for building rail transportation to an undeveloped territory. Josiah Perham was elected its first president on December 7, 1864. It could not use all the land and in the end took just under 40 million acres.
For the next six years, backers of the road struggled to find financing. Though John Gregory Smith succeeded Perham as president on January 5, 1865, groundbreaking did not take place until February 15, 1870, at Carlton, Minnesota, 25 miles (40 km) west of Duluth, Minnesota. The backing and promotions of famed financier Jay Cooke in the summer of 1870 brought the first real momentum to the company.
Over the course of 1871, the Northern Pacific pushed westward from Minnesota into present-day North Dakota. Surveyors and construction crews had to maneuver through swamps, bogs, and tamarack forests. The difficult terrain and insufficient funding delayed by six months the construction phase in Minnesota. The NP also began building its line north from Kalama, Washington Territory, on the Columbia River outside of Portland, Oregon, towards Puget Sound. Four small construction engines were purchased, the Minnetonka, Itaska, Ottertail and St. Cloud, the first of which was shipped to Kalama by ship around Cape Horn. In Minnesota, the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad completed construction of its 155-mile (249 km) line stretching from Saint Paul to Lake Superior at Duluth in 1870. It was leased to the Northern Pacific in 1876, and was eventually absorbed by the Northern Pacific. The North Coast Limited was the Northern Pacific's flagship train and the Northern Pacific itself was built along the trail first blazed by Lewis and Clark.
The Northern Pacific reached Fargo, Dakota Territory (now North Dakota), early in June 1872. The following year, in June 1873, the N.P. reached the shores of the Missouri River, at Edwinton (now Bismarck) D.T. In the west, the track extended 25 miles (40 km) north from Kalama. Surveys were carried out in North Dakota protected by 600 troops under General Winfield Scott Hancock. Headquarters and shops were established in Brainerd, Minnesota, a town named for the President John Gregory Smith's wife Anna Elizabeth Brainerd. A severe stock market crash and financial collapse after 1873, led by the Credit Mobilier Scandal and the Union Pacific Railroad fraud, stopped further railroad building for twelve years.
In 1886, the company put down 164 miles (264 km) of main line across North Dakota, with an additional 45 miles (72 km) in Washington. On November 1, General George Washington Cass became the third president of the company. Cass had been a vice-president and director of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and would lead the Northern Pacific through some of its most difficult times.
Attacks on survey parties and construction crews by Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Kiowa warriors in North Dakota and Minnesota became so prevalent that the company received protection from units of the U.S. Army.
In 1886, the Northern Pacific also opened colonization offices in Germany and Scandinavia, attracting farmers with cheap package transportation and purchase deals. The success of the NP was based on the abundant crops of wheat and other grains and the attraction to settlers of the Red River Valley along the Minnesota-North Dakota border between 1881 and 1890.
The Northern Pacific reached Dakota Territory at Fargo in 1872, and began its career as one of the central factors in the economic growth of North Dakota. The climate, although very cold, was suitable for wheat, which was in high demand in the cities of the United States and Europe. Most of the settlers were German and Scandinavian immigrants who bought the land cheaply, and raised large families. They shipped huge quantities of wheat to Minneapolis, while buying all sorts of equipment and home supplies to be shipped in by rail.
The NP used its federal land grants as security to borrow money to build its system. The federal government kept every other section of land, and gave it away free to homesteaders. At first the railroad sold much of its holdings at low prices to land speculators in order to realize quick cash profits, and also to eliminate sizable annual tax bills. By 1905 the railroad company's land policies changed, after it was judged a costly mistake to have sold much of the land at wholesale prices. With better railroad service and improved methods of farming the Northern Pacific easily sold what had been heretofore "worthless" land directly to farmers at good prices. By 1910 the railroad's holdings in North Dakota had been greatly reduced.
In 1873, Northern Pacific made impressive strides before a terrible stumble. Rails from the east reached the Missouri River on June 4. After several years of study, Tacoma, Washington, was selected as the road's western terminus on July 14, 1873.
For the previous three years the financial house of Jay Cooke and Company had been throwing money into the construction of the Northern Pacific. As with many western transcontinentals, the staggering costs of building a railroad into a vast wilderness had been drastically underestimated. Cooke had little success in marketing the bonds in Europe and overextended his house in meeting overdrafts of the mounting construction costs. Cooke overestimated his managerial skills and failed to appreciate the limits of a banker's ability to be also a promoter, and the danger of freezing his assets in the bonds of the Northern Pacific. Cooke and Company went bankrupt on September 18, 1873. Soon the Panic of 1873 engulfed the United States, beginning an economic depression that ruined or nearly paralyzed newer railroads.
The Northern Pacific survived bankruptcy that year, due to austerity measures put in place by President Cass. In fact, working with last-minute loans from Director John C. Ainsworth of Portland, the Northern Pacific completed the line from Kalama to Tacoma, a distance of 110 miles (180 km), before the end of 1873. On December 16, the first steam train arrived in Tacoma. But in 1874 the company was moribund.
Northern Pacific slipped into its first bankruptcy on June 30, 1875. Cass resigned to become receiver of the company, and Charles Barstow Wright became its fourth president. Frederick Billings, namesake of Billings, Montana, formulated a reorganization plan which was put into effect.
Throughout 1874 to 1876, elements of the 7th Cavalry Regiment under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer operating out of Forts Abraham Lincoln and Rice in Dakota Territory conducted expeditions to protect the railroad survey and construction crews in Dakota and Montana Territories.
In 1877, construction resumed in a small way. Northern Pacific pushed a branch line southeast from Tacoma to Puyallup, Washington and on to the coal fields around Wilkeson, Washington. Much of the coal was destined for export through Tacoma to San Francisco, California, where it would be thrown into the fireboxes of Central Pacific Railroad steam engines.
This small amount of construction was one of the largest projects the company would undertake in the years between 1874 and 1880. That same year the company built a large shop complex at Edison, Washington (now part of south Tacoma). For many years the shops at Brainerd and Edison would carry out heavy repairs and build equipment for the railroad.
On May 24, 1879, Frederick H. Billings became the president of the company. Billings' tenure would be short but ferocious. Reorganization, bond sales, and improvement in the U.S. economy allowed Northern Pacific to strike out across the Missouri River by letting a contract to build 100 miles (160 km) of railroad west of the river. The railroad's new-found strength, however, would be seen as a threat in certain quarters.
German-born journalist Henry Villard had raised capital for western railroads in Europe from 1871 to 1873. After returning to New York in 1874 he invested on behalf of his clients in railroads in Oregon. Through Villard's work, most of these lines became properties of the European creditors' holding company, the Oregon and Transcontinental Company.
Of the lines held by the Oregon and Transcontinental, the most important was the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company, which ran east from Portland along the left bank of the Columbia River to a connection with the Union Pacific Railroad's Oregon Short Line at the confluence of the Columbia River and the Snake River near Wallula, Washington.
Within a decade of his return, Villard was head of a transportation empire in the Pacific Northwest that had but one real competitor, the Northern Pacific. The Northern Pacific's completion threatened the holdings of Villard in the Northwest, and especially in Portland. Portland would become a second-class city if the Puget Sound ports at Tacoma and Seattle, Washington, were connected to the East by rail.
Villard, who had been building a monopoly of river and rail transportation in Oregon for several years, now launched a daring raid. Using his European connections and a reputation for having "bested" Jay Gould in a battle for control of the Kansas Pacific years before, Villard solicited – and raised – $8,000,000 from his associates. This was his famous "Blind Pool," Villard's associates were not told what the money would be used for. In this case, the funds were used to purchase control of the Northern Pacific.
Despite a tough fight, Billings and his backers were forced to capitulate; he resigned the presidency June 9, 1881. Ashbel H. Barney, former President of Wells Fargo & Company, served briefly as interim caretaker of the railroad from June 19 to September 15, when Villard was elected president by the stockholders. For the next two years, Villard and the Northern Pacific rode the whirlwind.
In 1882, 360 miles (580 km) of main line and 368 miles (592 km) of branch line were completed, bringing totals to 1,347 miles (2,168 km) and 731 miles (1,176 km), respectively. On October 10, 1882, the line from Wadena, Minnesota, to Fergus Falls, Minnesota, opened for service. The Missouri River was bridged with a million-dollar span on October 21, 1883. Until then, crossing of the Missouri had had to be managed with a ferry service for most of the year; in winter, when ice was thick enough, rails were laid across the river itself.
General Herman Haupt, another veteran of the Civil War and the Pennsylvania Railroad, organized the Northern Pacific Beneficial Association in 1881. A forerunner of the modern health maintenance organization, the NPBA ultimately established a series of four hospitals across the system in Saint Paul, Minnesota; Glendive, Montana; Missoula, Montana; and Tacoma, Washington, to care for employees, retirees, and their families.
On January 15, 1883, the first train reached Livingston, Montana, at the eastern foot of Bozeman Pass. Livingston, like Brainerd and South Tacoma before it, would grow to encompass a large backshop handling heavy repairs for the railroad. It would also mark the east–west dividing line on the Northern Pacific system.
Villard pushed hard for the completion of the Northern Pacific in 1883. His crews laid an average of a mile and half (2.4 km) of track each day. In early September, the line neared completion. To celebrate, and to gain national publicity for investment opportunities in his region, Villard chartered four trains to carry guests from the East to Gold Creek in western Montana. No expense was spared and the list of dignitaries included Frederick Billings, Ulysses S. Grant, and Villard's in-laws, the family of abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. On September 8, the Gold Spike was driven near Gold Creek.
Villard's fall was swifter than his ascendancy. Like Jay Cooke, he was now consumed by the enormous costs of constructing the railroad. Wall Street bears attacked the stock shortly after the Golden Spike, after the realization that the Northern Pacific was a very long road with very little business. Villard himself suffered a nervous breakdown in the days after the driving of the Golden Spike, and he left the presidency of the Northern Pacific in January 1884.
Again, the presidency of the Northern Pacific was handed to a professional railroader, Robert Harris, former head of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. For the next four years, until the return of the Villard group, Harris worked at improving the property and ending its tangled relationship with the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company.
Throughout the mid-1880s, the Northern Pacific pushed to reach Puget Sound directly, rather than by means of a roundabout route that followed the Columbia River. Surveys of the Cascade Mountains, carried out intermittently since the 1870s, began anew. Virgil Bogue, a veteran civil engineer, was sent to explore the Cascades again. On March 19, 1881, he discovered Stampede Pass. In 1883, John W. Sprague, the head of the new Pacific Division, drove the Golden Spike to mark the beginning of the railroad from what would become Kalama, Washington. He resigned a months later due to impaired health.
In 1884, after the departure of Villard, the Northern Pacific began building toward Stampede Pass from Wallula in the east and the area of Wilkeson in the west. By the end of the year, rails had reached Yakima, Washington in the east. A 77-mile (124 km) gap remained in 1886.
In January of that year, Nelson Bennett was given a contract to construct a 9,850-foot (1.866 mi; 3.00 km) tunnel under Stampede Pass. The contract specified a short amount of time for completion, and a large penalty if the deadline were missed. While crews worked on the tunnel, the railroad built a temporary switchback route across the pass. With numerous timber trestles and grades which approached six percent, the temporary line required two M class 2-10-0s — the two largest locomotives in the world (at that time) — to handle a tiny five-car train. On May 3, 1888, crews holed through the tunnel, and on May 27 the first train passed through directly to Puget Sound.
Despite this success, the Northern Pacific, like many U.S. roads, was living on borrowed time. From 1887 until 1893, Henry Villard returned to the board of directors. Though offered the presidency, he refused. An associate of Villard dating back to his time on the Kansas Pacific, Thomas Fletcher Oakes, assumed the presidency on September 20, 1888.
In an effort to garner business, Oakes pursued an aggressive policy of branch line expansion. In addition, the Northern Pacific experienced the first competition in the form of James Jerome Hill and his Great Northern Railway. The Great Northern, like the Northern Pacific before it, was pushing west from the Twin Cities towards Puget Sound, and would be completed in 1893.
Mismanagement, sparse traffic, and the Panic of 1893 sounded the death knell for the Northern Pacific and Villard's interest in railroading. The company slipped into its second bankruptcy on October 20, 1893. Oakes was named receiver and Brayton Ives, a former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, became president.
In 1894, the 10th Cavalry Regiment of the U.S. Army was involved in protecting property of the Northern Pacific Railroad from striking workers.
For the next three years, the Villard-Oakes interests and the Ives interest feuded for control of the Northern Pacific. Oakes was eventually forced out as receiver, but not before three separate courts were claiming jurisdiction over the Northern Pacific's bankruptcy. Things came to a head in 1896, when first Edward Dean Adams was appointed president, then less than two months later, Edwin Winter.
Ultimately, the task of straightening out the muddle of the Northern Pacific was turned over to J. P. Morgan. Morganization of the Northern Pacific, a process which befell many U.S. roads in the wake of the Panic of 1893, was handed to Morgan lieutenant Charles Henry Coster. The new president, beginning September 1, 1897, was Charles Sanger Mellen.
Though James J. Hill had purchased an interest in the Northern Pacific during the troubled days of 1896, Coster and Mellen would advocate, and follow, a staunchly independent line for the Northern Pacific for the next four years. Only the early death of Coster from overwork, and the promotion of Mellen to head the Morgan-controlled New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad in 1903, would bring the Northern Pacific closer to the orbit of James J. Hill.
In the late 1880s, the Villard regime, in another one of its costly missteps, attempted to stretch the Northern Pacific from the Twin Cities to the all-important rail hub of Chicago, Illinois. A costly project was begun in creating a union station and terminal facilities for a Northern Pacific which had yet to arrive.
Rather than build directly down to Chicago, perhaps following the Mississippi River as the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy had done, Villard chose to lease the Wisconsin Central. Some backers of the Wisconsin Central had long associations with Villard, and an expensive lease was worked out between the two companies which was only undone by the Northern Pacific's second bankruptcy.
The ultimate result was that the Northern Pacific was left without a direct connection to Chicago, the primary interchange point for most of the large U.S. railroads. Fortunately, the Northern Pacific was not alone. James J. Hill, controller of the Great Northern Railway, which was completed between the Twin Cities and Puget Sound in 1893, also lacked a direct connection to Chicago. Hill went looking for a road with an existing route between the Twin Cities and Chicago which could be rolled into his holdings and give him a stable path to that important interchange. At the same time, E. H. Harriman, head of the Union Pacific Railroad, was also looking for a road which could connect his company to Chicago.
The road both Harriman and Hill looked at was the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy. To Harriman, the Burlington was a road which paralleled much of his own, and offered tantalizing direct access to Chicago. For Hill as well, there was the possibility of a high-speed link directly with Chicago. Though the Burlington did not parallel the Great Northern or the Northern Pacific, it would give them a powerful railroad in the central West. Harriman was the first to approach the Burlington's aging leader, the irascible Charles Elliott Perkins. The price for control of the Burlington, as set by Perkins, was $200 a share, more than Harriman was willing to pay. Hill met the price, and control of the Burlington was divided equally at about 48.5 percent each between the Great Northern and the Northern Pacific.
Not to be outdone, Harriman now came up with a crafty plan: Buy a controlling interest in the Northern Pacific and use its power on the Burlington to place friendly directors upon its board. On May 3, 1901, Harriman began his stock raid which would become known as the Northern Pacific Corner. By the end of the day he was short just 40,000 shares of common stock. Harriman placed an order to cover this, but was overridden by his broker, Jacob Schiff, of Kuhn, Loeb & Co. Hill, on the other hand, reached the vacationing Morgan in Italy and managed to place an order for 150,000 shares of common stock. Though Harriman might be able to control the preferred stock, Hill knew the company bylaws allowed for the holders of the common stock to vote to retire the preferred.
In three days the Harriman-Hill imbroglio managed to wreak havoc on the stock market. Northern Pacific stock was quoted at $150 a share on May 6, and is reported to have traded as much as $1,000 a share behind the scenes. Harriman and Hill now worked to settle the issue for brokers to avoid panic. Hill, for his part, attempted to avoid future stock raids by placing his holdings in the Northern Securities Company, a move which would be undone by the Supreme Court in 1904 under the auspices of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Harriman was not immune either; he was forced to break up his holdings in the Union Pacific Railroad and the Southern Pacific Railroad a few years later.
In 1903, Hill finally got his way with the House of Morgan. Howard Elliott, another veteran of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy, became president of the Northern Pacific on October 23. Elliott was a relative of the Burlington's crusty chieftain Charles Elliott Perkins, and more distantly the Burlington's great backer, John Murray Forbes. He had spent 20 years in the trenches of Midwest railroading, where rebates, pooling, expansion and rate wars had brought ruinous competition. Having seen the effects of having multiple railroads attempt to serve the same destination, he was very much in tune with James J. Hill's philosophy of "community of interest," a loose affiliation or collusion among roads in an attempt to avoid duplicating routes, rate wars, weak finances and ultimately bankruptcies and reorganizations. Elliott would be left to make peace with the Hill-controlled Great Northern; the Harriman-controlled Union Pacific; and, between 1907 and 1909, the last of the northern transcontinentals, the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, more commonly known as the Milwaukee Road.
After the turn of the century the Northern Pacific had a record of steady improvement. Together with the Great Northern, the Northern Pacific also gained control of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, gaining important access to Chicago, the central Middle West and Texas, as well as the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway, an important route through eastern and southern Washington. Its physical plant was upgraded continuously, with double-tracking in key areas, and automatic block signaling along its entire main line. This in turn gave way to centralized traffic control, microwave and radio communications as time progressed.
The Northern Pacific maintained and continuously upgraded its equipment and service. The road helped pioneer the 4-8-4 Northern type steam engine and the 2-8-8-4 Yellowstone. It was among the first railroads in the country to adopt diesel power beginning with General Motors’ FTs in 1944. Despite this, with cheap (albeit low-quality) coal reserves in Wyoming it was among the last US railroads to complete dieselization, in 1960.
The Northern Pacific's premier passenger train, the North Coast Limited was among the safest and finest in the nation, suffering only one passenger fatality in nearly seventy years of operation.
By 1900, most of the remaining land-grant holdings were located west of Montana, in the "western district." The railroad still hoped to sell this land, both to provide operating funds and to populate the region to provide new markets to sustain the railroad. Nearly all the good farm land had been sold, leaving large tracts of grazing land or timber. The grazing acreage was poor quality, and difficult to sell. However, the timber lands were of high quality; much of these were sold to Frederick Weyerhaeuser.
In later years, Louis W. Menk became president of the Northern Pacific, and then he brought it together with the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, the Great Northern Railway, and the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway on March 2, 1970, to form the Burlington Northern Railroad. The merger was allowed despite a challenge in the Supreme Court, essentially reversing the outcome of the 1904 Northern Securities ruling. A 900 mi (1,400 km) portion of the former Northern Pacific mainline in Montana was spun off and is now operated by Montana Rail Link.
In 1949, the Northern Pacific's headquarters in Saint Paul presided over a system of 6,889 miles (11,087 km), which 2,831 miles (4,556 km) of main line, 4,057 miles (6,529 km) of branch line under seven operating divisions.
Headquartered in Duluth, Minnesota, the Lake Superior Division's main routes were from Duluth to Ashland, Wisconsin, Duluth to Staples, Minnesota, and Duluth to White Bear Lake, Minnesota. The division encompassed 631 route miles; 356 in main line and 274 in branches.
Headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota in the company's Railroad and Bank Building, the St. Paul Division's main routes were from Saint Paul to Staples, Saint Paul to White Bear Lake, and Staples to Dilworth, Minnesota. The division encompassed 909 route miles; 310 in main line and 599 in branches.
Headquartered in Glendive, Montana, the Yellowstone Division's main routes were from Mandan, North Dakota, to Billings, Montana, and from Billings to Livingston, Montana. The division encompassed 875 route miles; 546 in main line and 328 in branches.
Headquartered in Missoula, Montana, the Rocky Mountain Division's main routes were from Livingston to Paradise, Montana via Helena, Montana and Mullan Pass, and from Logan, Montana, to Garrison, Montana, via Butte, Montana, and Homestake Pass. The division encompassed 892 route miles; 563 in main line and 330 in branches. It was home to the principal central district repair facility at Livingston, Montana.
Headquartered in Spokane, Washington, the Idaho Division's main routes were from Paradise, Mont., to Yakima, Washington, via Pasco, Washington. The division encompassed 1,123 route miles; 466 in main line and 657 in branches.
Headquartered in Tacoma, Washington, the Tacoma Division's main routes were from Yakima to Stuck Junction, near future Auburn, Washington, Seattle, Washington to Sumas, Washington, on the border with British Columbia, Canada, and from Seattle to Portland, Oregon. The division encompassed 1,034 route miles; 373 in main line and 661 in branches. It was home to the principal west end repair facility at South Tacoma, Washington.
As the railroad expanded, immigrants, families, and single men moved to the Pacific Northwest. Tacoma's population grew rapidly: in 1880 there were 1,098 residents, and in 1889 there were 36,000.
The North Coast Limited was the premier passenger train operated by the Northern Pacific Railway between Chicago and Seattle via Butte, Montana and Homestake Pass. It commenced service on April 29, 1900, served briefly as a Burlington Northern train after the merger on March 2, 1970, and ceased operation on April 30, 1971, the day before Amtrak began service. The Chicago Union Station to Saint Paul leg of the train's route was operated by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad along its Mississippi River mainline through Wisconsin.
The Northern Pacific's secondary transcontinental passenger train was the Alaskan, until it was replaced by the Mainstreeter on November 16, 1952. The Mainstreeter, which operated via Helena, Montana and Mullan Pass, continued in service through the Burlington Northern merger until Amtrak Day (May 1, 1971). It had been reduced to a Saint Paul to Seattle train after the last run of the former Burlington Route Black Hawk on April 12–13, 1970.
The Northern Pacific also participated in the Coast Pool Train service between Portland and Seattle with the Great Northern Railway and the Union Pacific Railroad. NP and GN Coast Pool Trains lasted until Amtrak.
There were several other passenger trains which were discontinued before the Burlington Northern merger. These included:
- Saint Paul to International Falls, Minnesota;
- Saint Paul to Duluth, Minnesota (which at one time was also a pool operation, with Great Northern Railway and the Soo Line);
- Duluth to Staples, Minnesota;
- Saint Paul to Jamestown, North Dakota (the last remnant of the Alaskan);
- Fargo, North Dakota to Winnipeg, Manitoba;
Hazen Titus was appointed as the line's dining car superintendent in 1908. He learned that Yakima Valley farmers were unable to sell their potato crops because the potatoes they were growing were simply too large; they fed them to the hogs. Titus learned that a single potato could weigh from two to five pounds, but that smaller potatoes were preferred by the end buyers of the vegetable because many people considered large potatoes inedible due to their thick, rough skin.
Titus and his staff discovered the "inedible" potatoes were delicious after baking in a slow oven. He contracted to purchase as many potatoes as the farmers could produce that were more than two pounds in weight. Soon after the first delivery of "Netted Gem Bakers", they were offered to diners on the North Coast Limited beginning in early 1909. Word of the line's specialty offering traveled quickly, and before long it was using "the Great Big Baked Potato" as a slogan to promote the railroad's passenger service. Hollywood stars were hired to promote it. When an addition was built for the Northern Pacific's Seattle commissary in 1914, a Railway Age reporter wrote, "A large trade mark, in the shape of a baked potato, 40 ft. long and 18 ft. in diameter, surmounts the roof. The potato is electric lighted and its eyes, through the electric mechanism, are made to wink constantly. A cube of butter thrust into its split top glows intermittently." Premiums such as postcards, letter openers, and spoons were also produced to promote "The Route of the Great Big Baked Potato"; the slogan served the Northern Pacific for about 50 years.
Presidents of Northern Pacific Railway were:
- Josiah Perham, 1864–1866.
- John Gregory Smith, 1866–1872.
- George Washington Cass, 1872–1875.
- Charles Barstow Wright, 1875–1879.
- Frederick Billings, 1879–1881.
- Henry Villard, 1881–1884.
- Robert Harris, 1884–1888.
- Thomas Fletcher Oakes, 1888–1893.
- Brayton Ives, 1893–1896.
- Edward Dean Adams, 1896.
- Edwin Winter, 1896.
- Charles Sanger Mellen, 1897–1903.
- Howard Elliott, 1903–1913.
- Jule Murat Hannaford, 1913–1920.
- Charles Donnelly, 1920–1939.
- Charles Eugene Denney, 1939–1950.
- Robert Stetson Macfarlane, 1951–1966.
- Louis W. Menk, 1966–1970.
- Edwin Ferry Johnson (1803–1872), engineer-in-chief, 1867. Wrote The Railroad To the Pacific, Northern Route, Its General Characteristics, Relative Merits, Etc. in 1854.
- William Milnor Roberts (1810–1881), engineer-in-chief, 1869 to 1879. Proposed the general route of the Northern Pacific from Bismarck to Portland. Also, Vice President, American Society of Civil Engineers, 1873 to 1878, and then President, 1878.
- Adna Anderson (1827–1889), engineer-in-chief, February 18, 1880, to January 1888. In October 1886, he was also named second vice-president of the Northern Pacific. He completed the line between Saint Paul, Minnesota, and Wallula (where it connected with the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company's line to Portland), witnessing the driving of the last spike on September 8, 1883. Thereafter, he evaluated possible routes for the Cascade Division, intended to connect the NP at some point near the mouth of the Snake River with Tacoma, Washington on Puget Sound. Preliminary reconnaissance and surveys began in March 1880, and in autumn, 1883, Anderson concluded that the line should be built through Stampede Pass.
- John William Kendrick (1853–1924), chief engineer, January 1888, to July 1893. From July 1893, to February 1, 1899, he was general manager of the reorganized Northern Pacific Railway.
- Edwin Harrison McHenry (1859 – August 21, 1931), chief engineer, July 1893, to September 1, 1901. Subsequently, he was chief engineer for the Canadian Pacific Railway and then fourth vice-president of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad.
- William Lafayette Darling (1856–1938), chief engineer, September 1, 1901, to September 1903, and January 1906, to 1916. Between 1905 and 1906, he was chief engineer for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, returning to the NP in 1906 as chief engineer and also vice-president and engineer in charge of construction of the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway.
- Edward J. Pearson (1863–1928), chief engineer, September 1903, to December 1905.
- Howard Eveleth Stevens, chief engineer, 1916 to 1928.
- Bernard Blum, chief engineer, 1928 to March 1953.
- Harold Robert Peterson (1896–1963), chief engineer, March 1953, to May 1962.
- Douglas Harlow Shoemaker, chief engineer, May 1962, to March 2, 1970.
The Northern Pacific was known for many firsts in locomotive history and was a leader in the development of modern steam locomotives. The NP was one of the first railroads to use Mikado 2-8-2 locomotives in the United States and the first to use the 4-8-4 Northern type.
The NP's desire to burn low grade semi-bituminous coal from company-owned mines at Rosebud, Montana, played a part in the development of the 4-8-4 wheel arrangement for steam locomotives. With an energy content fifty percent lower than anthracite coal, the NP's locomotive design called for a much larger firebox, and thus an additional axle on the trailing truck. This led locomotive designers from the 4-8-2 Mountain to the 4-8-4 Northern, first produced by Alco for the NP in 1926 and designated the Class A by the railway.
The 2-8-8-4, called the Yellowstone, was first built for the NP by Alco in 1928 and numbered 5000, Class Z-5, with more built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1930. The large locomotives were designed to handle higher tonnage on freight trains while simultaneously eliminating the need to use more 2-8-2 Mikados and crews. They originally served in the western North Dakota/eastern Montana territory.
The Northern Pacific purchased the 4-8-4 Timken 1111, a "Northern" type called the Four Aces, the first locomotive built with roller bearings, in 1933. The Northern Pacific renumbered it 2626 and classified it as the sole member of locomotive Class A-1. It was used in passenger service in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana until 1957 when it was retired from active service and scrapped at South Tacoma, despite attempts to preserve the locomotive. After Timken 1111, the NP bought only roller bearing equipped steam locomotives, with the exception of four 4-6-6-4 Class Z-6 locomotives that were later changed to roller bearings.
A handful of NP steam locomotives were used to pull the farewell to steam excursions for the Railroad, including L-4 class 0-6-0 1070, S-4 class 4-6-0 No. 1372, W-3 class 2-8-2 No. 1776, and A-1 class 4-8-4 No. 2626. Of all the locomotives that pulled the excursions, only No. 1070 is preserved.
Twenty-one Northern Pacific steam locomotives have been preserved:
- Two 0-4-0 engines (the Minnetonka and 8). The Minnetonka was built by Porter and Smith in 1870, and is now owned by the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and is on display in Duluth, Minnesota. It has the distinction of being shipped in parts around Cape Horn and reassembled at Kalama, Washington circa 1871.
- Five 0-6-0 engines, representing classes L-4 (927), L-5 (924), L-7 (1031) and L-9 (1068). Locomotive 1070 is located in Acme, Washington at the Lake Whatcom Railroad historically preserved by Owner/Engineer Frank Culp. L-4 927 is displayed at the Ironhorse Central Railroad Museum Chisago City, Minnesota. L-5 924 is operational at the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie, WA. L-7 1031 is displayed at the Yellowstone Valley Museum in Billings, MT.
- One 2-6-2 engine, Class T (2435). The locomotive was built by the Brooks Locomotive Works in 1907 and is now owned by the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth, Minnesota.
- One 2-8-0 engine, Class Y-1 (25).
- One 2-8-2 engine, Class W-3 (1762).
- Two 4-4-0 engines, classes C-1 (684), and 25½-C (21). NP 684 was built by the New York Locomotive Works in 1883. Sold off and later abandoned in a field in Idaho, it was rescued and rebuilt by the Northern Pacific at the instigation of company photographer Ronald V. Nixon. It is on display at Bonanzaville, USA in Fargo, North Dakota. NP 21 was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1872 and was later sold to the Canadian Pacific Railway and became the CP 1, the Countess of Dufferin. The engine is now owned by the City of Winnipeg and on permanent display in the Winnipeg Railway Museum.
- Five 4-6-0 Baldwin engines, representing classes S-4 (1354, 1356, 1364 and 1382) and Class S-10 (328). The 1364 is being restored by the Northern Pacific Railway Museum in Toppenish, Washington. The 1356 was built in 1902 placed on display in 1957 in downtown Missoula, Montana next to the historic Northern Pacific railway depot built 1901. The 1356 is very famous in western Montana and north Idaho for its use to save many people's lives in the 3-million-acre Bitterroot forest fires of 1910 escaping through fires on both sides of the track even traveling over a railroad trestle that was ablaze outside of Avery, Idaho. In 1943 tragedy struck while the 1356 was pulling 28 log filled cars. The 1356 derailed on a collapsing bridge into the Bitterroot river killing all three crew. The 1356 was buried by the log train and even the recovery crane toppled on top of 1356 during the recovery. 1356 was rebuilt in Livingston, Montana and returned to service. Missoula, Montana has a celebration every year for the 1356. The 328 was built by Rogers Locomotive Works in 1907 and is owned by the Minnesota Transportation Museum and is being restored in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
- Four 4-6-2 engines, representing Class Q-3 (2152, 2153, 2156 and 2164). The 2152 is owned and displayed by the Northern Pacific Railway Museum in Toppenish, WA. The 2153 and 2156 were built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1909 are owned by the Minnesota Transportation Museum. The 2156 is being restored in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The 2164 is on display at Camp Hancock State Historic Site in Bismarck, North Dakota.
- Burlington Northern Railroad 1 and 2, formerly Northern Pacific 6700A and 7002C, EMD F9s, were built in 1954 and later rebuilt by BN for special train service. They are now owned by the Illinois Railway Museum and are operational at the museum.
- Northern Pacific 3617, an EMD SD45 built 1967 restored and operated by the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth, Minnesota.
- Northern Pacific 7012A an EMD F9 built 1956 was donated to the Western Forest Industries Museum ca. 1983 by BN. Now under the care of Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad.
- Northern Pacific 7003D an EMD F9 built 1954 was donated to the Oklahoma Railway Museum in 1982 by BN. It currently is in running condition and is used occasionally. It currently is in Frisco livery as number 814, the BN unit number.
- Northern Pacific 230, a 73-foot (22 m) lightweight baggage car built by Pullman Company in 1963, is now owned by the Illinois Railway Museum and is on display in Union, Illinois. The streamlined car was formerly in service on the Northern Pacific's Mainstreeter.
- Northern Pacific 255 is a lightweight baggage car built by the St. Louis Car Company in 1965. It was donated to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in 1981.
- Northern Pacific 325, a Slumbercoach named Loch Sloy built by the Budd Company in 1959, is now owned by the Illinois Railway Museum and is on display in Union, Illinois. The car was formerly in service on the Northern Pacific's North Coast Limited.
- Northern Pacific 390, a lightweight 4-double bedroom, 1-compartment sleeper-buffet-lounge-observation car named Rainier Club and built by Pullman Company in 1947, is now owned by the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and is on display in Duluth, Minnesota. The car was in service on the Northern Pacific’s North Coast Limited.
- Chicago, Burlington and Quincy 481, a lightweight 8-duplex roomette, 6-roomette, 3-double bedroom, 1-compartment sleeper car named Savannah built by the Pullman Company in 1948 to Northern Pacific specifications is now owned by the Illinois Railway Museum and is on display in Union, Illinois. The car was in service on the Northern Pacific’s North Coast Limited.
- Northern Pacific 517, a lightweight, 56 seat coach built by Pullman Standard in 1946, was used on the North Coast Limited and the Mainstreeter. It was sold to the Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range Railway in 1974 and was acquired by the Lake Superior Railroad Museum in 2000 and repainted in Northern Pacific colors.
- Northern Pacific 627, a heavyweight coach built in 1910 by the Pullman Company as an all steel, electric lit and steam heated parlor car named Dunlap and assigned to the Pennsylvania Railroad for the opening of the Pennsylvania Station in New York City. It was sold in 1941 to the Northern Pacific and rebuilt into NP 627, an 86-seat heavyweight coach in 1942. It was used on the Northern Pacific's Casey Jones Excursions including the final runs of steam locomotives NP 1372, NP 1776 and NP 2626. Its last run for the Northern Pacific was Christmas Eve of 1964 on the transcontinental Mainstreeter. It was sold in 1968 to the Lake Whatcom Railway where it remains in use.
- Northern Pacific 634, a heavyweight coach built in 1912 by the Pullman Company as a parlor car named Clearview and assigned to the Pennsylvania Railroad for the inaugural Broadway Limited. It was sold in 1941 to the Northern Pacific and converted in 1942 to an 88-seat coach. It was used on the Northern Pacific's Casey Jones Excursions including the final runs of steam locomotives NP 1372, NP 1776 and NP 2626. Its last run for the Northern Pacific was Christmas Eve of 1964 on the transcontinental Mainstreeter. It was sold in 1968 to the Lake Whatcom Railway where it remains in use.
- Northern Pacific 1102, a heavyweight Railway Post Office car built by the Pullman Company in 1914 as a parlor car named Reba. It was later rebuilt by the NP into NP 631, an 86-seat heavyweight coach, and in 1947 as a triple combine car with a fifteen-foot RPO section. In 1965 it was refitted by the NP's Signal Department for use as a training car. The car has been rebuilt to its triple combine configuration and gives demonstrations of how the U.S. Mail used to move by rail at the Minnesota Transportation Museum in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
- Northern Pacific 1370, a heavyweight coach built by the Pullman Company in 1915 for service on the North Coast Limited. The car is on display at the Minnesota Transportation Museum in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
- Northern Pacific 1447, a Railway Post Office car built in 1914, is now owned by the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and is on display in Duluth, Minnesota.
- Northern Pacific 1512, a heavyweight baggage car built by the Pullman Company in 1915, is in service on the Lake Whatcom Railway at Wickersham, Washington.
- Northern Pacific 1681, a coffee shop coach built by the Pullman Company in 1923 as an NP coach and rebuilt to a coffee shop coach in 1957 for use on the transcontinental Mainstreeter between Seattle and Spokane. It is in use at the Lake Whatcom Railway, Wickersham, Washington.
- Northern Pacific Madison River, a heavyweight business car built by the Pullman Company in 1926 as North Coast Limited Observation Car 1716. It was converted to a Business Car 2 in 1943 and survived past the 1970 merger. It remains in use on the Lake Whatcom Railway.
- Eight cars originally built for Northern Pacific by the Pullman Company in the early 1900s are now used in daily service on the Napa Valley Wine Train (NVRR). These cars were sold by NP to Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad in 1960 and were used for the Ski Train between Denver and Winter Park, Colorado, before the NVRR purchased them in 1987.
Many NP passenger cars remain in private collections.
- Northern Pacific 1238, a wood cupola caboose Was purchased by Nalley's Fine Foods, Tacoma, Washington from the BN in 1975 and was used for the Project NP1364 restoration but was remodeled as a clubhouse for Nalley's and parked by the Seattle KING DOME until the dome was torn down then donated to the NP Museum in Toppenish, Washington where it was restored to its pre-1950s look without the large herald and MAIN STREET OF THE NORTHWEST logos and is on display in Toppenish, Washington
- Northern Pacific 1264, originally NP 1144, a wood cupola caboose built in 1901 by the South Baltimore Car Works in Baltimore, Maryland. The car served for many years on Idaho Division freight trains and is now on display at the Minnesota Transportation Museum in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
- Northern Pacific 1285, a wood cupola caboose built in 1914, is now owned by the city of White Bear Lake, Minnesota and is displayed by the city's former NP depot.
- Northern Pacific 1311, a wood cupola caboose built in 1913, is now owned by the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and is on display in Duluth, Minnesota.
- Northern Pacific 1631, a wood cupola caboose, is now on display at the Minnesota Transportation Museum in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
- Northern Pacific 1660, a wood cupola caboose, which was the first to have the NP trademark "monad" painted on its side, is now on display at the Lake Whatcom Railway, Wickersham, Washington.
- Northern Pacific 1730, now Minnesota Transfer Railway X-12, is a former cupola caboose built for the Northern Pacific in 1921 by Pacific Car and Foundry. It was sold in 1966 to the Minnesota Transfer Railway and converted into a bay window caboose. It was owned by the Mid-Continent Railway Museum, which sold it to the Harrisburg, Lincoln & Lancaster Railroad in 2019.
- Northern Pacific 1781, a wood cupola caboose built in 1923, was owned by the Mid-Continent Railway Museum, but left the museum for Iowa in 2019.
Numerous NP cabooses remain in private collections.
- Northern Pacific 30, a Russell snowplow, is now on display at the Minnesota Transportation Museum in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
- Northern Pacific 38, a steam wrecking derrick built by Industrial Works in Bay City, Michigan in 1913, is now owned by the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and is on display in Duluth, Minnesota.
- Northern Pacific 19, a wedge snowplow built by the Russell Car Company, is now owned by the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and is on display in Duluth, Minnesota.
- Northern Pacific 2 a rotary steam snowplow built by the Cooke Locomotive Works in 1887, is now owned by the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and is on display in Duluth, Minnesota.
- Northern Pacific 10, a rotary steam snowplow built in November 1907, is now owned by the Northwest Railway Museum and is on display in Snoqualmie, Washington.
- Northern Pacific 642, a Mann-McCann spreader built by the St. Paul Foundry in 1921 is now owned by the Northern Pacific Railway Museum in Toppenish, Washington. The spreader was operated for many years on Stampede Pass by Burlington Northern as No. 972602.
In search of a trademark, the Northern Pacific considered and rejected many designs. Edwin Harrison McHenry, the Chief Engineer, was struck with a geometric design, a Taijitu in the Korean flag he saw while visiting the Korean exhibit at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. The idea came to him that it was just the symbol for the long-sought-for trademark. With a slight modification, and rendered in red and black, the symbol became the railroad's trademark.
In 1876, photographer Frank Jay Haynes began contract work with the railroad for publicity photographs. In 1881 he met Charles Fee and through his 20-year friendship with Fee, Haynes became known as the "Official Photographer of the N.P.R.R". His "Northern Pacific Views" photographically documented over the years, the routes, destinations, infrastructure and equipment of the railroad.
Frederick H. Billings (September 27, 1823 – September 30, 1890) was an American lawyer, financier, and politician. He is best known for his legal work on land claims during the early years of California's statehood and his presidency of the Northern Pacific Railway from 1879 to 1881.
A native of Royalton, Vermont, Billings graduated from the University of Vermont in 1844, became an attorney, and moved to California during the 1848 California Gold Rush. He took part in the creation of a prominent law firm that handled land title cases, which were an important issue because California had been under the jurisdiction of several governments. He also took part in several business ventures that proved successful, and he was a millionaire by the age of 30. At the start of the American Civil War, Billings worked diligently to keep California from seceding.
After returning to Vermont in the mid 1860s, Billings continued to practice law and take part in business ventures. He served on the boards of directors of several corporations, and was a major investor in the Northern Pacific Railway. Billings received credit for rescuing the NP after the Panic of 1873, and served as its president from 1879 to 1881. He resigned the presidency after a hostile takeover, but remained on the board of directors and saw construction of the railroad through to completion in 1883.
Billings took part in politics as a Republican. He was a candidate for governor of Vermont in 1872, and nearly won the party's nomination. He was also a delegate to the Republican National Conventions of 1880 and 1884, where he supported George F. Edmunds for president. A notable philanthropist, Billings donated millions of dollars to numerous causes and organizations, including schools, colleges, libraries, and churches.
In 1889, Billings suffered a stroke. His health deteriorated, and he died at his Woodstock, Vermont home on September 23, 1890. Billings was buried at River Street Cemetery in Woodstock.
Billings was born in Royalton, Vermont on September 27, 1823, the son of Oel Billings and Sarah (Wetherbe) Billings. When he was 12, his family relocated to Woodstock, and Billings attended the schools of Royalton and Woodstock. He began attendance at Meriden, New Hampshire's Kimball Union Academy in 1839. In 1844, he graduated from the University of Vermont (UVM) with an A.M. degree. In June 1890, UVM awarded Billings the honorary degree of LL.D.
Originally a Whig and later a Republican, from 1846 to 1848 he served as Secretary of Civil and Military Affairs (chief assistant) to Horace Eaton, the governor of Vermont. He studied law with Oliver P. Chandler and attained admission to the bar in 1848.
Billings moved to San Francisco during the California Gold Rush of 1848, where he became the city's first land claims lawyer. One of his first clients was John Sutter. A friend Billings made on the trip introduced him to Bennet C. Riley, who served as the last military governor before California achieved statehood in 1850. Riley was favorably impressed with Billings' abilities, and appointed him San Francisco's commissioner of deeds, chairman of the city's board of inspectors and judges, and territorial attorney general. Billings also took part in several business activities. Upon arrival in California, he bought an old canal boat, then made a profit by quickly reselling its timbers. With this stake, he invested in other profitable ventures, including "water lots" -- property which was under the water of San Francisco Bay but was intended for reclamation and development.
Billings partnered with Henry Halleck, Archibald C. Peachy, and Trenor W. Park in Halleck, Peachy & Billings, which became a leading law firm in San Francisco. HPB took part in two important land ownership cases, which were complex because California had been part of Mexico, so land titles were in dispute. In the first, ownership of the New Almaden quicksilver mine, Billings undertook a risky 1859 trip to Mexico City in search of documents and witnesses at a time when the city was besieged by the forces of President Benito Juárez as Juárez attempted to reclaim control of Mexico's government. HPB lost the case despite Billings receiving praise for producing what legal observers called the most extensive and detailed research they had seen for a single land case. In the second, HPB attempted to defend the Rancho Las Mariposas claim of John C. Frémont. So many gold miners had occupied the land by the time Frémont attempted to assert his ownership that he was unable to take possession. Despite the setback, Billings and Frémont continued to work together on business opportunities including real estate and mining.
Among the other ventures in which Billings had an interest was the Overland Stage Company, of which he was an early promoter, and the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, which later became the Texas and Pacific Railway. By age 30, Billings was a millionaire from his legal fees, increases in real estate values, and profits from his other enterprises, including part ownership of San Francisco's Montgomery Block, the largest office building west of St. Louis at its 1853 opening.
During his years in San Francisco, Billings also developed a reputation for philanthropy, including donations for churches, schools, and parks. Billings was an early advocate for the conservation of Yosemite Valley for the use of future generations. He was also a trustee of the College of California (later, the University of California at Berkeley) and it was Billings who suggested that the college be named for George Berkeley.
During the late 1850s, as the United States drew closer to conflict over the slavery issue, Billings spoke tirelessly against California secession, successfully opposing a pro-slavery faction led by Democrats including William Gwin. He subsequently embarked on several trips to Europe in an unsuccessful effort to sell Frémont's Mariposa mine shares. At the start of the American Civil War, Billings acted as Frémont's agent when Frémont took the initiative to purchase arms in England for use by Union troops.
Upon returning to the United States in 1861, Billings met Julia Parmly in New York City. They decided to wed soon after meeting, and Billings returned to California to wind down the law firm's business and sell some of his properties before returning to New York City to get married. Billings then returned to San Francisco; in September 1862, he was a featured speaker at a San Francisco rally to raise money for the care of sick and wounded soldiers. In October 1863, Billings was the featured speaker at a San Francisco event held to celebrate recent Union military victories. In November 1863, Billings defended several individuals who attempted to steal a schooner from San Francisco Bay, which was the first step in their plan to seize a steamship and become pro-Confederate privateers. They were convicted, but Billings succeeded in saving them from the death penalty. In December 1863, Billings left San Francisco and settled in New York City.
In 1864, California changed from electing members of the United States House of Representatives to at-large seats to electing them by Congressional district. Even though he had moved away, his pro-Union record led Republican supporters of Billings to support him for the party's nomination in the 1st District, which included San Francisco. Donald C. McRuer was able to obtain the nomination, and went on to win the seat. Later in 1864, California Republicans wrote to President Abraham Lincoln and suggested the state was entitled to be represented in Lincoln's cabinet because California had supported Lincoln's reelection. They recommended Billings for an appointment and implied that Secretary of the Interior would be a suitable position. After Lincoln's assassination, California Republicans urged his successor Andrew Johnson to make the appointment. Among other complications, Billings suffered from an extended illness that prevented him from advocating on his own behalf, and he was not nominated.
In 1864, Bilings left New York City and returned to Woodstock, where he practiced law and resumed his business interests. In late 1865, friends of Billings proposed him as a candidate for the United States Senate from California, but the nomination went to Cornelius Cole, who went on to win the seat. In 1868, Billings was an original incorporator of the New England Telegraph Company, which was chartered by the state to construct a telegraph line connecting northern and southern Vermont, and connecting Vermont to adjacent states. In 1869 purchased George Perkins Marsh's former estate. Billings had read Marsh's pioneering volume on ecology called Man and Nature, and set about to put into practice his theories on conservation. Billings and his heirs set about purchasing many failing farms and reforesting much of the surrounding hillsides. This eventually led to creation of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, which oversees and interprets what is probably the oldest managed forest in the United States. In addition, Billings' early conservation efforts led to creation of the Billings Farm and Museum, an important resource for learning about Vermont's agricultural history.
While residing in Woodstock, Billings maintained a home in New York City so he could tend to his business interests. These included chairman of the executive committee for a corporation that planned to build a cross-isthmus canal in Nicaragua, and member of the board of directors of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company. His additional directorships included several New England regional railroads, the Farmers' Loan and Trust Company, American Exchange Bank, and the Manhattan Life Insurance Company. In 1869, he was elected president of the Woodstock National Bank. In 1871, he was elected a director of the National Life Insurance Company.
Billings was also involved in civic and charitable activities, including serving on the University of Vermont's board of trustees from 1867 to 1873. Also in 1869, Billings was one of two prominent Vermonters who paid the expenses for two Vermont schoolteachers, enabling them to provide instruction in southern states for former slaves as part of the post-Civil War Reconstruction. In 1870, Billings was elected president of the Vermont Bible Society. In 1871, he was chosen for the presidency of the Windsor County Agricultural Society. Billings also advocated for the creation of the Vermont Veterans' Home to care for former Civil War soldiers. When the Vermont General Assembly passed a bill incorporating the home in 1884, Billings was selected as an original member of its board of trustees.
In 1869, Billings purchased from Hiram Walbridge a one-twelfth interest in the Northern Pacific Railway. He served on the board of directors beginning in 1870. Construction began in 1870, with the NP planned to run from Brainerd, Minnesota to Seattle, Washington.
Billings became the largest landholder in the area that became Billings, Montana, which was named for him. His Montana business interests expanded to include banks, mines, ranches, and local railroads that connected to the Northern Pacific. Billings also a significant role in promoting the conservation of the area that became Yellowstone National Park, a site which was near the route of the Northern Pacific.
As chairman of the NP's land committee, Billings was credited with overseeing development and execution of plans for using the Northern Pacific to transport white settlers to Minnesota and the Dakota Territory. When Jay Cooke & Company, which was responsible for the sale of NP stock, failed in the Panic of 1873, Billings worked to rescue the railway and succeeded in saving it after bankruptcy. As a result of his efforts, after the panic began to abate, the Northern Pacific was able to restart construction. In 1879, Billings became the company's president. He served until 1881, when Henry Villard, proponent of an alternate route to the Pacific coast, purchased a controlling interest in the Northern Pacific. Billings left the company's presidency while remaining on the board of directors, and he was present for the ceremony in Montana that commemorated the end of construction in 1883.
Billings maintained an interest in Republican politics. In early 1868, a group of his friends in California attempted to mount a campaign to obtain the party's vice presidential nomination for Billings, but this effort proved unsuccessful. In November 1868, he made a well received speech at a party campaign rally in Barnard, Vermont. Billings was mentioned as a candidate for governor in 1869, but disclaimed any interest. His name was again prominently mentioned in 1870, but Billings deferred to John Wolcott Stewart, who won the nomination and the general election.
In 1872 Billings was a candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor of Vermont. The Republican nomination was then tantamount to election, and Billings was president of the state Republican convention and had a large group of delegates pledged to him. Governor Stewart also had a strong following, but his opponents argued that re-nominating him would violate the party's "Mountain Rule", which prior to Stewart's election to a two-year term had limited governors to two one-year terms. Delegates decided that the Mountain Rule would limit Stewart and his successors to one two-year term, and the Billings and Stewart delegates compromised on the governorship by nominating Julius Converse even though he was not an active candidate.
In 1876, Billings was again proposed as a candidate for the governorship, and again disclaimed any interest. Later that year, he took part in the Fifth Avenue Conference, a meeting organized by Carl Schurz for Republicans opposed to the perceived corruption of the Ulysses S. Grant administration and in favor of progressive measures including civil service reform. When the party nominated presidential and vice presidential candidates not connected to Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes and William A. Wheeler, Billings publicly expressed satisfaction with the ticket, though illness prevented him from actively campaigning for it.
In 1880, Billings was a delegate to the Republican National Convention, and made the nominating speech for presidential candidate George F. Edmunds, a U.S. Senator from Vermont, but the nomination went to James A. Garfield. Billings was a delegate again in 1884, and again supported Edmunds for president, but the nomination eventually went to James G. Blaine.
In December 1889, Billings suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. His health rapidly declined, and Billings died in Woodstock on September 30, 1890. Among the prominent attendees at his funeral were Torrey E. Wales, George Grenville Benedict, Percival W. Clement, William Wells, and Charles A. Prouty. The bearers included James Barrett and Oliver P. Chandler. Billings was buried at River Street Cemetery in Woodstock.
In 1862, Billings married Julia Parmly (December 3, 1835 - February 17, 1914), the daughter of Dr. Eleazer Parmly, a prominent New York City oral surgeon. They were the parents of seven children:
- Parmly Billings (February 6, 1863 – May 7, 1888)
- Laura Billings (Mrs. Frederic Schiller Lee) (August 20, 1864 – November 5, 1938)
- Frederick Billings (December 23, 1866 – May 5, 1913)
- Mary Montagu Billings (March 6, 1869 – June 14, 1951)
- Elizabeth Billings (January 3, 1871 – September 10, 1944)
- Ehrick Billings (October 17, 1872 – October 17, 1889)
- Richard Billings (January 31, 1875 – December 3, 1931)
Billings provided $40,000 to construct a chapel for the Congregational Church of Woodstock. Although he never owned a home in Billings, Montana, a railroad town established in 1882 and named after him, his wife provided the money to build its First Congregational Church. Frederick Billings endowed the Billings Library, completed in 1885 for the University of Vermont, and purchased the George Perkins Marsh collection of 12,000 volumes for it.
Additional Billings gifts included $50,000 to endow a professorship at Amherst College in memory of his son Parmly, who was an Amherst graduate. He also donated $50,000 to Dwight Lyman Moody's Mount Hermon School for Boys in memory of his son Ehrick. Billings also donated money to Whitman College to enable the construction of the college's Billings Hall as a memorial to Ehrick and Parmly Billings. In 1908, Julia Billings provided an endowment which enabled creation of Whitman's Frederick Billings Professorship of Biblical Literature.
Billings' son Frederick Jr. provided a donation to Billings, Montana which financed construction of the Parmly Billings Memorial Library. Billings' daughter Elizabeth later provided additional funding, which was used to complete an addition to the original library.
- Billings, Montana
- Billings, Missouri
- Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
- Billings Library, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont
- Billings Farm & Museum, Woodstock, Vermont
- Camp Billings, Fairlee, Vermont
- Billings County, North Dakota
- In World War II, the United States liberty ship SS Frederick Billings was named in his honor.
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.