Mining and Railroads
Section 1: By Aaron Bodenham
Boom and Bust
The Cumstock Lode
In 1859, two Irish prospectors found a large vein of gold. However, the claim owner was Henry Cumstock. When the gold was tried to be removed, the owners realized that the blue mud they were having trouble with was full of silver. This claim ended up being one of the most prosperous silver mines in the world.
The Boom Spreads
After the civil war, miners fled to the Dakotas and prospected for gold everywhere. Anywhere gold was found, more and more people came.
Boom Town Life
These boom towns would grow overnight anywhere where rich ground was present. everything went up in price, for there was so much demand for so little supply. Women who owned businesses made very good money until the town died. Most miners were foreign, and this caused a blend of cultures.
Many vigilantes claimed to rule the land, and some ruled harshly. They were sometimes paid to do investigations.
The Railroad Boom
Aid to Railroads
After 1860, rail lines were extended past the Mississippi River, and the government aided rail companies in this effort. They for every mile of track, they gave the companies 10 square miles around the track. By the end, they rail companies received over 180 million acres.
Spanning the Continent
In 1862, Leland Stanford mad his dreams of a transcontinental railroad come true. He owned the Central Pacific. The Union Pacific Railroad would meet them in the middle, and this would make a stretch of track that spanned the entire union. The workers hired were mostly immigrants that simply needed work. This work was high danger and very low pay, and many died for the success of the railroad.
Effects of the Railroads
The railroad made communication and transport very easy, and this allowed small towns to pop up next to the tracks. This also aided in the gold rush; supplies and people piled in, and gold and silver piled out.