WESTERN PACIFIC IS BORN
In the office of the Secretary of State on the morning of the
March 6th Bartnett’s representatives threatened to bring
mandamus proceedings to compel the Secretary of State to accept
the filing of the articles of incorporation as presented. As
there had never been a franchise for the Western Pacific Railway
Company owned by the SP Mr. Kruttschnitt failed to make his
promised appearance to contest the filing. It had been
determined by the Secretary of State that the previous Western
Pacific company was no longer in existence anyway and the
previous objection of the Southern Pacific had been withdrawn.
With that knowledge the Secretary of State deemed it advisable
to grant the new corporation's request for filing of the said
articles of incorporation.
The Western Pacific Railway Company was thereupon officially incorporated in the State of California on March 6, 1903 for a period of 50 years to construct and operate a broad gauge line of railroad from Salt Lake City, Utah to San Francisco, California, and also to construct branch lines in California. The amount paid for the filing by Bartnett and other representatives of the corporation was $5008.50, said at the time to be the largest sum ever paid in California.
As set forth in the articles of incorporation the Western Pacific Railway Company was to construct, purchase, lease, own, acquire, operate and maintain lines of railroad within the States of California, Nevada and Utah; to purchase and hold terminal property, real estate and other property, etc.; to build and maintain docks, wharves, warehouses, car shops, coal chutes and coal, bunkers, steamships, barges, transports, ferry boats and tugs; to acquire by purchase the property and franchises of the Alameda and San Joaquin Railroad Company, the San Francisco Terminal Railway and Ferry Company, the Stockton and Beckwith Pass Railway Company and the Sacramento and Oakland Railway Company. The properties of these companies, it was set forth, “are or may be so situated and located as to conveniently and appropriately become and be made a part of the said main line of railroad described in these articles of incorporation or branch lines thereof and connecting with said main line."
By purchasing the companies identified in the articles of incorporation Western Pacific would also gain valuable rights of way that had been obtained on the east shore of San Francisco Bay, in Oakland and at various places on the way to Beckwith Pass. The right of ways, it was reported, had been secured from Oakland to Stockton and for a large part through the Feather River Canyon towards Beckwith Pass.
Immediately rumors began circulating, built upon little but conjecture, that the Missouri Pacific system, controlled by the Gould’s, were behind the Western Pacific and other companies that were securing a right of way from San Francisco to Salt Lake City. Because this involved a large enterprise in new railway construction on the Pacific Coast James J. Hill’s name was also rumored to be the party backing the enterprise, or that it could be David Moffat behind the venture.
Upon hearing the rumors a quick denial of involvement with the new company came from the Gould camp by way of E. T. Jeffery, president of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Company. On March 6, the same day WP received its incorporation papers, Mr. Jeffery was quoted as saying, “We assume from the names which have been published in the newspapers of late in connection with the Western Pacific Railway that it is a California organization, backed by San Francisco men. Their idea, doubtless, is that when their road is completed to a connection with existing systems an interchange of traffic will be made, as is the case between all connecting systems of railway. We know nothing concerning the project, beyond what we see in the daily press.”
Bartnett had been the moving force in California for this new transcontinental road building enterprise and claimed that the incorporators were not the real ones in interest, that they were merely local men paid to represent Eastern money, and that the route selected for the main line was not new. And it was not, it was practically the same one that that had been approved by the citizens of San Francisco who had incorporated the San Francisco and Great Salt Lake Railway Company in 1892.
In order to do business in Nevada and Utah, as in California, incorporation papers had to be filed in each state as well as the individual counties and cities therein that the line would be constructed in. Accordingly incorporation papers were sent to the Wells Fargo bank in Salt Lake City, Utah with a request that they be placed on record. A slight problem developed with the filing though owing to a little matter of $12,500. On July 22 a clerk from the bank was entrusted with the documents and $10 in money and sent to the Secretary's office. Upon entering the office the cleck, when asked his business, stated, "I would like to file some articles of incorporation.”
An official glanced at the papers, did some figuring on a slip of paper, and replied, "Certainly, by the way, it will cost you 12,500."
"Twelve thousand five hundred what?" asked the clerk.
"Dollars," replied the official.
The bank clerk, upon hearing this, almost fainted, on his way to the Secretary’s office he had been, in fact, wondering how much change he would get back out of the $10 gold piece in his pocket. Regaining his composure he said, "I don't happen to have that much with me just now," he said. "You will have to wait till I go back to the bank."
And wait they did. Leaving the incorporation papers with the Secretary of States office the clerk returned to the bank and informed those in charge at the bank what the cost of filing the papers would be and the promoters of the railroad were then notified. Payment was made on July 24 and the articles of incorporation were thus filed. No such problem had been encountered when the incorporation papers had been filed in Nevada.
Purchase of the roads identified in the articles of incorporation began on July 25, 1903 when deeds were filed for record stating that the Sacramento and Oakland Railway Company had transferred all of its properties to the Western Pacific Railway Company for the consideration of $28,879.86 and 20,000 shares of capital stock of the new corporation, while the San Francisco Railway and Ferry Company sold its holdings for $397,315.75 and 120,000 shares of capital stock of the Western Pacific.
Purchase of the Ferry Company included all of its rolling stock and equipment as well as all property, real and personal. The most coveted item though was the franchise granted by the City of Oakland over a certain strip of land, 60 feet in width, the center line of which began at the intersection of the eastern boundary line of the City of Oakland with the center line of East Street, thence to and along certain streets to a point 30 feet from the right-of-way of the Western Pacific Railroad Company, which was then being used by trains of the Central Pacific Railroad Company. The agreement was signed, by W. R. Hayward, president of the San Francisco Terminal Railway and Ferry Company, and W. J. Bartnett, president of the Western Pacific Railway Company, at whose request the agreement was recorded.
Thus began the consolidation of those companies that had been organized between Oakland and Salt Lake City that would form a rival road to both the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe systems, with a strategically placed terminal at the deep water on Oakland Creek.
Consolidation of the various roads continued and on October 29, 1903 an agreement was filed in the office of the recorder of Sacramento County between the Stockton and Beckwith Pass Railway Company, and the Western Pacific Railway Company by which the former would transfer all of its property, real and personal, in the Slate of California, to the latter corporation. The agreement stated the sum of $93,300 would be paid for the property by the Western Pacific Company, which also agreed to turn over to the Stockton and Beckwith Pass 60,000 shares of its fully paid capital stock.
The property of the Alameda and San Joaquin Railroad Company running between Stockton and Tesla, a distance of about thirty miles, for the sum of $10, was conveyed to the Western Pacific Railroad Company on February 10, 1904, by a deed filed with the recorder of San Joaquin County. At the time it was said that the A. & S. J. had one of the finest road beds in the West, and tapped a belt having, what was believed at the time, an inexhaustible supply of gravel, coal, clay, glass sand, magnesia ore and lime rock.
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