Washington: Government Printing Office, 1868. 39pp. plus color folding map, 23 1/4 x 44 3/4 inches. Original printed wrappers. Presentation inscription on front wrapper (see below). Wrapper edges chipped, minor soiling and tanning to wrappers, spine partially chipped, old vertical fold to pamphlet. Light foxing and tanning and occasional soiling throughout, Map with a few small closed tears at cross-folds (with no loss). About very good. Item #WRCAM33573A
This copy is inscribed on the front wrapper: "With Regards of James Tilton C.E." Tilton (1819-78) was then chief engineer of the Washington Division of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Thanks in part to his support for Franklin Pierce's presidential campaign, Tilton was appointed the first Surveyor General of Washington Territory and served from 1853-61. Both the Tilton River and Fort Tilton (near Fall City, Washington) are named for him.
An important report to Congress by the Northern Pacific Railroad, headed by Minnesota railroad magnate James J. Hill, for federal aid to support the Railroad's expansion to the West Coast. The petition reviews the railroad's original charter, printing with it a memorial from the NPRR's Board of Directors, and supporting communications from military figures including Montgomery Meigs and Ulysses S. Grant. Since the early 1850s Edwin Johnson, described by Wheat as a "visionary" engineer, had been associated with the plan to build a railroad across the northern part of the United States, from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Coast. In 1867 he was named chief engineer of the Northern Pacific, and this memorial is a work of major importance for the history of the railroad. It includes Johnson's topographical survey of the route to the Pacific, a discussion of potential problems that may be encountered, and a detailed economic and military survey of the area in justification of construction.
The exceptional large folding "Map of the Country from Lake Superior to the Pacific Ocean from the Latest Explorations and Surveys" was produced by the Colton firm in New York. One of the finest maps of the region to date, it shows the area from Detroit to the Pacific, well into Canada and south to about the 39th parallel. Johnson has drawn the route of the Northern Pacific from Lake Superior to Washington Territory, where the line splits, with one branch heading toward Fort Vancouver and the other to Puget Sound. Among the details shown on the map are the Pony Express route, wagon routes and overland mail routes, exploration routes and other proposed railroad routes, the locations of Indian tribes, mineral deposits, military forts, and much more. Wheat gives a long description of the map, and remarks that "the detail of such a map defies cataloging." Construction on the Northern Pacific Railroad began in 1870 and was completed in 1883. Edwin Johnson did not see its completion, dying in 1872. An edition of this report, with the supporting documents and map, was also privately published in Hartford.
A significant, early account of railroad expansion in the Northwest. We could find only ten copies listed in OCLC, and this is the first copy we have seen in wrappers, and with a presentation from an important engineer on the project. RAILWAY ECONOMICS, pp.242-43. SABIN 55819 (Hartford edition). WHEAT, TRANSMISSISSIPPI V, item 1169, pp.205-09. PHILLIPS, MAPS, p.916. DECKER 37:266 (Hartford ed). MIDLAND NOTES 68:164. OCLC 60578657.