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Oregon Historical Photo: Southern Pacific's Expansion To The West Coast


With the help of promotional advertising, the Southern Pacific Railroad brought thousands of people to Oregon; new towns grew up along the rail lines. Before highways created the great automobile boom, trains were the main mode of cross-country transportation, connecting the Far West to the rest of the nation.

With the help of promotional advertising, the Southern Pacific Railroad brought thousands of people to Oregon; new towns grew up along the rail lines. Before highways created the great automobile boom, trains were the main mode of cross-country transportation, connecting the Far West to the rest of the nation.

The Oregon Historical Society. #nn54981

Every week, Oregon Experience shares a photo highlighting the state’s diverse, exciting history.

Expansion of the Southern Pacific Railroad into Oregon in the late 19th century brought population growth and development. But SP mail cars – carrying payroll, cash and even gold – proved a popular target. Minor and major train robberies took place all over the state.

In 1923, three brothers held up a San Francisco-bound train near Southern Oregon’s Siskiyou Summit outside Ashland. They left four dead but fled apparently empty-handed. The so-called “Last Great Train Holdup” sparked one of the nation’s largest manhunts and helped establish modern criminal forensics.
 
Watch the Oregon Experience documentary “Murder on the Southern Pacific” to learn about the state’s deadliest, most infamous train holdup.

Murder on the Southern Pacific

 

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