How the Central and Union Pacific Railroads Began

During the 1850s, Congress reviewed surveys for possible routes on a new transcontinental railroad project that would bind the coasts together. It was difficult, at that time, to decide on a Northern or Southern route for the line. One surveyor, who earned himself the nickname “Crazy Judah” for his fervent belief in his own plan, advocated a route along the 41st parallel. It ran through Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and ended at California. It also needed to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, which would take nothing short of an engineering