Over Homestake Pass on The Butte Short Line: The Construction Era 1888-1929.
In the 1880s the Northern Pacific Railroad's management decided to bypass Butte, Montana, in favor of a main line through Helena 40 miles to the north. At that time the mining region around Helena appeared to be a more lucrative source of traffic and offered a lower crossing of the continental divide after the completion of the Mullan Tunnel. Within three years, however, that situation changed as Butte began its conversion to a copper center, becoming known as the 'Richest Hill on Earth.' In 1886 the NP began a decade-long struggle to find a satisfactory route into Butte'first from Garrison, then from Helena, and finally from Logan over Homestake Pass. The Butte Short Line is a history of that effort.
The book chronicles surveys, agreements, and conflicts with the Union Pacific concerning rights-of-way in Jefferson Canyon, the Utah & Northern and the Montana Union. It examines problems with Mullan Tunnel, the abortive Helena, Boulder Valley & Butte, and the competition provided by Hill's Montana Central. It discusses the role the Rocky Fork & Cooke City coal development played in the final route selection and the formation of the Northern Pacific & Montana. It examines political intrigue during the time of Montana statehood. It details construction of the road and early operations.
Construction documents as well as newspaper accounts of the day tell the stories of hold ups, wrecks, and election fraud through the words of those who lived them. Read about violence on the Jefferson River, a little known mile-long spur at Welch, the shooting of Frank Clow, and the wreck of #2. Over 120 photos from the collections of F.J. Haynes, the Jefferson County Historical Museum, R.V. Nixon, W.R. McGee, the Taylors, and others flesh out the work. Charts, maps, timetables, and other sources are similarly included.
Pictorial Histories Publishing, soft cover, 112 pages, 8.5 x 11 x .25 in., B&W photographs and illustrations, fully indexed.