New Papers Added from Arizona and Indiana!

In 1867, Tucson became the capital of the Arizona Territory and by 1870, census records showed the population had topped 3,000. If you have ancestors from Tucson or an interest in Arizona history, you’ll be thrilled to know that the Arizona Daily Star has added historic Tucson newspapers to their archive, and you can access them on Newspapers.com! We have The Weekly Arizonian (1869-1871); the Arizona Weekly Citizen (1870-1897); the Tucson Citizen (1879-2007); El Fronterizo (1882-1908); and the Tucson Daily Citizen (1941-1977).

Arizona Daily Citizen: May 4, 1898

Early editions of the Arizona Weekly Citizen were filled with accounts of skirmishes with Native Americans as westward expansion encroached upon Native American lands. Upset over Indian attacks, in 1870 the paper highlighted an offer by the Mexican government to pay a $300 bounty for each Apache scalp. The hostilities came to a head in the early morning hours of April 30, 1871, when a group of men from Tucson massacred more than 100 Apaches in the Camp Grant Massacre. Officials arrested the men but a court later acquitted them.  

The invention of air-conditioning to combat sweltering Arizona heat led to significant growth in Arizona’s population. During the 1930s, the first public buildings in Tucson got air conditioning, followed by homes in later decades. If you are tracing ancestors that lived in Tucson, search for marriage, death, and birth announcements. If you’re lucky, you just might find a biographical sketch of your ancestor like these for members of the 1883 Territorial Legislature.  

If you have ancestors from Jasper, Indiana, you’ll be excited to hear we’ve added The Dubois Herald and the Jasper Weekly Courier to our archives. The Dubois Herald began as The Jasper Herald, a weekly that started in 1895. In 1946, the paper, known then as The Dubois County Herald, started publishing six days a week. That tradition continues today, and The Dubois Herald has chronicled Jasper’s history for 124 years. Jasper has strong German roots and many of today’s residents can trace their heritage back to the mid-19th century when Father Joseph Kundek, a Catholic Priest, promoted Jasper to German immigrants. That heritage is celebrated annually during the Strassenfest celebration. If you have ancestors that lived in nearby townships like Cuzco, Ferdinand, or Ireland, the Correspondence Column included updates from citizens of those communities.

Spanish Flu Quarantine in Jasper – 1918

The Jasper Weekly Courier’s archives date back to 1858 when the paper was founded as an organ of the Democratic Party. Dubois County’s German immigrant population was flourishing and the first issue of the paper included a German announcement for those who couldn’t read English. The Weekly Courier reported on the Civil War and soldiers serving from Dubois County. It also participated in honoring surviving veterans and fallen soldiers after the war. The archives include reports of visitors in town, local accidents and injuries, and other life events like births, marriages, anniversaries and deaths.  

To explore these Arizona and Indiana newspapers, and newspapers from other locations, search Newspapers.com today!

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Hawaii Becomes A State: August 21, 1959

On the morning of August 21, 1959, nearly 100 people crammed into the Governor’s office in Iolani Palace in Honolulu, Hawaii. They arrived long before 10:00 a.m., the scheduled time for the anticipated phone call. Minutes ticked by and a nervous hush permeated the room. At 10:08, a string of firecrackers ignited within earshot of the palace, followed by the blaring of car horns – but the phone remained silent. Finally, at 10:15 a.m., the Governor’s phone rang, and the room let out a collective sigh of relief. The call from Washington relayed the news. President Dwight D. Eisenhower had just signed the proclamation making Hawaii the 50th state. Governor William F. Quinn made the announcement to the cheering crowd, “Ladies and gentlemen, Hawaii is now a state!” The announcement came from the same palace where 66 years earlier, Hawaii’s final monarch was ousted during a coup that led to Hawaii’s annexation as a US territory. 

Hawaii’s journey to statehood was long and bumpy. The Hawaiian Islands were originally settled by Polynesian voyagers centuries ago. In 1778, British explorer Capt. James Cook came upon the islands while searching for the Northwest Passage. He named his discovery the Sandwich Islands. He named his discovery the Sandwich Islands.

The islands were originally comprised of warring factions, but united under a single monarchy in 1810 under King Kamehameha I. In 1818, Kamehameha was reportedly unhappy with the name Sandwich Islands, saying that each island should have its own name and the chain of islands should be known as the “Islands of the King of Hawaii.”

During the 1830s, the first sugar cane plantations were established in Hawaii bringing immigrants and trade. The rise of steamship travel in the 1840s opened the door to reliable transportation to the islands. With increased commerce, a group of white businessmen and landowners associated with sugar and pineapple plantations, and cattle ranches developed considerable power in the islands.

In 1887, they forced King David Kalakaua to sign the Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii, which limited the power of the monarchy. It became known as the Bayonet Constitution. After Kalakaua’s death in 1891, his sister Queen Liliuokalani became Hawaii’s last reigning monarch. Just two years after her accession and amid attempts to adopt a new constitution to restore power to the monarchy, she was overthrown in a coup at Iolani Palace. The coup was organized by powerful white residents with the help of US Marines.

Around the time of the Spanish-American War, the US realized the strategic military importance of Hawaii and established a military outpost that later became Pearl Harbor naval station. In 1898, Hawaii was annexed and became a US territory. Sanford B. Dole was named the president of the Provisional Government of Hawaii. The territory had no voice in the US government and rich plantation owners benefited by allowing plantation owners to import cheap labor and export products to the mainland with low tariffs.

For the next 60 years, there were many petitions for statehood. In June 1959, Hawaiians’ voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining the Union. Months later, Eisenhower, who had advocated for Hawaii’s statehood during his campaign, signed the proclamation admitting Hawaii as the 50th state.

If you would like to learn more about Hawaii’s road to statehood, search Newspapers.com today!

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New Pennsylvania Papers Added!

Our Pennsylvania archives are expanding! If you have ancestors from Pennsylvania or are interested in the history of the area, we’ve added papers from Pottsville, Hazleton, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton.

Republican Herald: The Republican Herald was founded in Pottsville in 1884 as The Daily Republican. We have issues from the Pottsville Republicanand the Republican and Herald in our archives. Pottsville is located in Pennsylvania’s coal region where America’s oldest brewery, D.G. Yuengling & Son, made beer for thirsty coal miners. When Congress passed the National Prohibition Act it meant big changes for the company. The brewery created three near beers and even branched into ice cream production to keep the business running until the 18th Amendment was repealed. If you are researching ancestors from Pottsville, check birth announcements, obituaries, and even the Society Page

The Lattimer Massacre, 1897

Standard-Speaker: Based in Hazleton, the Standard-Speaker is a daily that traces its history back to the Hazleton Sentinel which merged with the Plain Speaker to become the Standard-Speaker.  Our archives date back to 1879. The coal industry in Hazleton attracted immigrants from a variety of countries. They often lived in “patch towns,” or small towns owned by the mining company. This part of Hazleton’s heritage is celebrated annually during Patch Down Days. In 1897, harsh conditions and reduced pay led local miners to strike. Rising tensions evolved into a confrontation referred to as the Lattimer massacre where 19 unarmed strikers were shot and killed, and dozens wounded by a sheriff’s posse. If you have ancestors from Hazleton, the archive contains community columns, birth announcements, obituaries, wedding notices, and more.

Citizens’ Voice: The Citizens’ Voice in Wilkes-Barre was founded in 1978 by striking employees of the Wilkes-Barre Publishing Company. Angry employees learned their paper, the Times Leader, was being sold. They banded together and with help from the community and unions, started the Citizens’ Voice. The Voice soon became a strong competitor to the Times Leader and has advocated for the local citizens of Wilkes-Barre. The Citizens’ Voice has covered natural disasters, like the September 2011 flooding along the Susquehanna River. When the river finally crested, it strained levees and forced evacuations.

The Times-Tribune: Scranton is home to the Times-Tribune and our archive includes these additional titles: the Scranton Tribune, The Tribune, Scranton Weekly Republican, Scrantonian Tribune, and The Weekly Scranton Times. The earliest paper in this collection dates back to 1866! Scranton’s namesake, brothers George and Seldon Scranton, arrived in the area in the mid-1800s and later developed the Lackawanna Steel Company. Steel, coal, textile mills, and other industrialization fueled Scranton’s growth which brought immigrant workers to the area. The Scranton Lace Company was a premiere producer of Nottingham lace for over 100 years until the company shut down in 2002. If you have ancestors from Scranton, search family reunion notices for a genealogical gold mine!

Start searching these and other Pennsylvania papers today at Newspapers.com!

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Horse and Buggy: The Primary Means of Transportation in the 19th Century

Today’s high-performance cars can have upwards of 700 horsepower. But in the 1800s, typical horse and buggy transportation consisted of one or two horsepower – literally! Horses and other animals including oxen and donkeys provided the primary means of transportation all over the world through the nineteenth century. A single horse could pull a wheeled vehicle and contents weighing as much as a ton.

Transporting people and goods was a costly venture in the 19th century. Animals required large quantities of food and water. Roads usually consisted of two dirt paths with a grassy strip in the middle and they were rough and bumpy. Wagon wheels formed deep ruts that in some places are still visible today, and those same dirt paths turned into a muddy mess when wet.

To meet transportation needs, a variety of types of wagons were available. Some were simple farm wagons, others elegant private carriages. Stagecoaches provided public transportation. Let’s take a look at some of the options our ancestors used for travel in the 1800s.

Buckboard Wagon

Buckboard Wagon: The no-frills buckboard wagon was commonly used by farmers and ranchers in the 1800s. It was made with simple construction. The front board served as both a footrest and offered protection from the horse’s hooves should they buck.

Gig Carriage: A gig was a small, lightweight, two-wheeled, cart that seated one or two people. It was usually pulled by a single horse and was known for speed and convenience. It was a common vehicle on the road.

Gig Carriage
Concord Coach

Concord Coach: American made Concord coaches were tall and wide and incorporated leather straps for suspension that made the ride smoother than steel spring suspension. They were also extravagant, costing $1000 or more at a time when workers were paid about a dollar a day. Wells, Fargo & Co. was one of the largest buyers of the Concord coach. Today the company still displays its original Concord Coaches in parades and for publicity.

Barouche

Barouche: A barouche was a fancy, four-wheeled open carriage with two seats facing each other and a front seat for the driver. There was a collapsible hood over the back. It was a popular choice in the first half of the 19th century and was used by the wealthy. It was often pulled by four horses. This barouche carriage carried Abraham Lincoln to the theater on the night of his assassination.

Victoria Carriage: The Victoria carriage was named for Queen Victoria and renowned for its elegance. It was a low, open carriage with four wheels that seated two people. It had an elevated seat for the coachman.

Victoria Carriage

Phaeton: The Phaeton was a sporty four-wheel carriage with front wheels that were smaller than the rear wheels. The sides were open and that exposed a gentleman’s trousers or a lady’s skirt to flying mud. The seat was quite high and required a ladder to access. Phaetons were fast, but also high-centered leaving them vulnerable to tipping. They were pulled by two or four horses.

Phaeton Carriage

Landau Carriage: The Landau carriage was considered a luxury city carriage that seated four. It had two folding hoods and was uniquely designed to allow its occupants to be seen. It was popular in the first half of the nineteenth century. Pictured here is Queen Elizabeth in a Landau carriage.

Landau Carriage

Brougham Carriage: Designed by England’s Lord Brougham, the Brougham carriage was lightweight, four-wheeled carriage with an enclosed carriage. It was popular because passengers sat in a forward-facing seat making it easy to see out. It was also lower to the ground and easier for passengers to climb in and out of the carriage. The Brougham was driven by a coachman sitting on an elevated seat or perch outside of the passenger compartment.

Brougham Carriage

Rockaway Carriage: The Rockaway originated on Long Island. It was a popular vehicle with the middle class and the wealthy. One distinguishing feature of the Rockaway was a roof that extended over the driver, while the passengers were in an enclosed cabin.

Rockaway Carriage
Conestoga Wagon

Conestoga Wagon: The Conestoga wagon was large and heavy and built to haul loads up to six tons. The floor of the wagon was curved upward to prevent the contents from shifting during travel. The Conestoga was used to haul freight before rail service was available and as a means to transport goods. Conestoga wagons were pulled by eight horses or a dozen oxen and were not meant to travel long distances. The Conestoga wagon is credited for the reason we drive on the right side of the road. While operating the wagon, the driver sat on the left-hand side of the wagon. This freed his right hand to operate the brake lever mounted on the left side. Sitting on the left also allowed the driver to see the opposite side of the road better.

Prairie Schooner

Prairie Schooner: As families moved west, a prairie schooner pulled by teams of mules or oxen was a common choice. It was like the Conestoga wagons, but much lighter with a flat body and lower sides. They were typically covered with white cloth and from a distance resembled a ship. Travelers in prairie schooners often traveled in convoys and covered up to 20 miles a day which meant an overland trip could take 5 months.

Stagecoach: The stagecoach was a public vehicle where passengers paid to ride long distances. Stagecoaches ran on a schedule and were typically pulled by four horses. Periodically, horses were changed out for a fresh team.

Stagecoach

To learn more about these types of carriages and others, search Newspapers.com today.

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The 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing: July 20, 1969

On July 20, 1969, the world collectively held its breath as astronaut Neil A. Armstrong slowly backed out of the Lunar Module Eagle and cautiously climbed down a nine-rung ladder before stepping foot on the surface of the moon. “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” were Armstrong’s now immortalized words.

Just four decades earlier, Charles Lindbergh made history when he flew the Spirit of St. Louis 3,600 miles across the Atlantic. Stunning advances in aviation technology followed. In 1962, amidst the Cold War and Space Race, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed, “We choose to go to the moon!”

That goal became a reality when on July 16, 1969, Armstrong and fellow astronauts Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. and Michael Collins strapped into Apollo 11 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Apollo 11 was a 363-foot tall Saturn V rocket containing the Command Module Columbia that housed the astronauts; a Service Module; and the Lunar Module Eagle. At 9:32 a.m. the rocket blasted off for a 240,000-mile journey that would bring them into a lunar orbit by July 19th. On July 20th, Armstrong and Aldrin transferred to the Eagle and descended to the surface of the moon. Collins remained in lunar orbit manning Columbia.

The Eagle has landed,” proclaimed Armstrong as an estimated worldwide audience of 500 million watched the landing. The call sign for Eagle immediately changed to Tranquility Baseonce the lunar module touched down.

Armstrong was first to the lunar surface, joined by Aldrin a short time later. The astronauts spent about two hours accomplishing a series of tasks including collecting samples, taking photographs and planting an American flag before entering back into the lunar module to sleep. After a rest period, and more than 21 hours on the surface of the moon, they returned to Columbia for the journey home.

With all three astronauts safely reunited in Columbia, the crew maneuvered into a trajectory that would return them to earth. On July 24, 1969, the USS Hornet which had been practicing recovery efforts for weeks off the coast of Hawaii moved into position to recover the crew of Apollo 11 after splashdown in the Pacific. On board the Hornet, all eyes scanned the horizon anxiously. Just before 7:00 a.m. (Hawaii time), Columbia splashed down in relatively calm seas. A smoking marine marker was dropped to mark the location and Navy swimmers jumped from a helicopter to attach inflatable flotation collars to the capsule. The astronauts were loaded in a raft, transferred to a basket, and hoisted up to the helicopter. The astronauts and crew members donned clean biological isolation garments in case the astronauts were contaminated with biological hazards.

Back on the Hornet, a cheering crowd that included President Richard Nixon, greeted the returning astronauts. They were ushered into a mobile quarantine facility where President Nixon congratulated them through a window as the three smiling astronauts peered out from behind the glass. Where were you the day men walked on the moon? If you would like to see more of the headlines and stories from the historic Apollo 11 mission, search Newspapers.com today!

For more on the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, see our Newspapers.com topic page.

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The New York Daily News Turns 100!

The New York Daily News, officially titled the Daily News, was founded in 1919 and initially known as the Illustrated Daily News. The paper attracted readers by pioneering the tabloid format and the liberal use of photography. For more than seven decades, its slogan was “New York’s Picture Newspaper.” The archives of the Daily News provide a stunning visual history of the 20th century and beyond and include coverage of city news, scandal, crime and violence, cartoons, and entertainment.

The first issue of the Daily News was printed in June 1919, not long after the end of WWI. The paper reported on the triumphant return of Gen. John J. Pershing and his American Expeditionary Forces in a parade through the city. Marching alongside the soldiers were women who served in the war in capacities like field secretary and canteen service.

The end of WWI brought a flood of new immigrants to the country. The archives of the Daily News provide a glimpse into the conditions they faced upon arrival. In 1920, the Daily News reported 3,319 immigrant arrivals at Ellis Island with accommodations for just 1500. Officials were overwhelmed and immigrants described horrible conditions. By 1921, officials addressed the complaints and conditions overall improved.  

The Daily News archives are full of sensational crimes like a 1964 jewel heist. Jack “Murf the Smurf” Murphy and accomplices cased the J.P. Morgan Hall of Gems inside the American Museum of Natural History. They found lax security and entered the museum at night through a window. They made off with 22 rare and priceless gems including the 563-carat Star of India sapphire and the 100-carat DeLong Star Ruby. The thieves were arrested days later and most of the gems recovered.

In addition to coverage of high-profile New Yorkers, the pages of the Daily News are filled with glimpses into the lives of everyday citizens. For example, in 1923 a young girl named Milly Terzian was visiting relatives in New York and became lost when the subway doors closed locking her aunt and uncle on the platform as the train whisked the child away. She later reunited with her father and uncle at a police station. In 1934, the Madison Square Boys’ Club was a place for boys to gather and learn new hobbies; a record snowstorm in 1947 didn’t sideline wedding plans for a young couple who exchanged vows in the Municipal Building; and this 1970 photo shows two young New Yorkers decorating the office Christmas tree in the newly opened World Trade Center.

Search the Daily News for the death notices, obituaries, and wedding announcements of your New York ancestors.

The pages of the Daily News provide a fascinating glimpse into history. Whether you have ancestors from New York; immigrant ancestors that arrived in New York; or an interest in history – start searching the Daily News today!

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The Federal-Aid Highway Act Signed: June 29, 1956

On June 29, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act, also known as the National Interstate Defense Highways Act, creating a 41,000-mile system of interstate highways that would forever change travel in the country! The highways would make travel more efficient and create key routes to evacuate urban centers in the event of an atomic attack.

An interstate highway system was a far cry from the rutted dirt roads that existed when Henry Ford introduced the Model T in 1908. Wet weather presented a challenge for drivers, turning dirt roads into muddy quagmires. As the number of households that owned a car increased, so did the need for safe roads. Building roads was expensive and the costs were often covered by private companies that invested in the infrastructure in order to reap long term rewards.

The State of Texas Builds Rest Stops

While serving in the military, Eisenhower noted Germany’s smooth and efficient autobahn. Even though an interstate highway system had been discussed for years, it became one of Eisenhower’s top priorities after he was elected President. The highway system would allow citizens to travel quickly and efficiently in the event of a nuclear strike. It could also provide a network of highways to transport military troops and goods efficiently if needed. The federal government would pick up 90% of the tab and states would be responsible for 10%. The project would be financed with revenue from a federal gasoline tax. A statute prohibited commercial facilities along the new highways, so officials planned “safety rest areas,” or rest stops. Rest stops would provide motorists with clean bathrooms, water, and picnic areas and would be placed about every half hour along the highway. They were designed to offer a respite for weary travelers and sometimes offered a colorful glimpse into the history and traditions of the area.

Historic Sign on Route 66

As the interstate highways opened, some communities experienced a negative impact when cars bypassed their towns in favor of modern four-lane highways. Roads like the Lincoln Highway and Route 66, popular when driving was still an adventure, fell out of favor. Families opted for speed along the interstate rather than meandering along the old roads where colorful signs and local businesses services competed for travel dollars. In some cases, the interstate cut through the middle of towns and displaced citizens. However, the time-saving ease and convenience of travel using the interstate highway system propelled the project forward. By 1970, a person driving from New York to Los Angeles could complete the 2,830-mile drive 17 hours faster than in 1956.   

To honor his memory, in 1990 a law passed changing the official name of the interstate freeway system to “The Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways.”

If you would like to learn more about the history of the interstate highway system including the 1956 Federal-Aid Highway Act and subsequent acts over the years, search Newspapers.com today!

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Memorial Day: Beach and BBQ or Cemetery and Ceremony?

Memorial Day is the first long weekend of summer and for many Americans, a chance to kick-off the summer season. The origins of Memorial Day, however, hearken back to a somber time in American history.

As the Civil War came to a close in April 1865, the nation mourned the loss of an estimated 620,000 war dead. Some were hastily buried in unmarked single or mass graves during the heat of battle. Soldiers didn’t carry official identification or dog tags, and many soldiers remained unidentified.

Soldier’s graves near General Hospital, City Point, VA

Shortly after the war ended, U.S. Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs ordered an assessment of the condition and location of graves of Union soldiers. Many were reinterred in newly opened national cemeteries. This federal program initially applied only to Union soldiers. Outraged citizens of the South organized a similar private effort, often led by women, to remember the Confederate dead.

As the first anniversary of the end of the war approached in April 1866, some women from the South made plans to honor the Confederate dead by decorating their graves with flowers and greens. The idea caught hold and spread until cities all over the south declared April 26th as a day to honor the Confederate dead.

In 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), an organization of Union veterans, established May 30th as Decoration Day, or a day to remember the war dead of the nation. The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery. More than 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

The tradition continued in following years and many northern states designated the day as a state holiday. Southern states continued to honor their dead on a separate day but the divide that separated North from South began to heal. In 1873, a little orphaned girl whose father died fighting the South placed flowers on a Confederate grave. “Would you decorate the grave of a rebel?” exclaimed a bystander. “Yes!” she replied. “Perhaps somebody in the south will drop a flower on papa’s grave.”

After WWI, Decoration Day gradually became known as Memorial Day and was expanded to honor the dead from all of America’s wars. Many cities boasted they were the first to hold Decoration Day observances. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson officially declared that Waterloo, New York, be designated as the “birthplace” of Memorial Day because of early observances held there. In 1971 Congress declared Memorial Day a federal holiday and designated that it be observed the last Monday in May, although some southern states still set aside an additional day of observance for the Confederate dead.

How do you plan to celebrate Memorial Day? To learn more about the history of Decoration Day, and what later became known as Memorial Day, search Newspapers.com today! Do you have ancestors that served in the Armed Forces? Honor their service this Memorial Day by creating a Fold3 Memorial or search the Honor Wall to learn more about those who have sacrificed for our freedom.

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New Jersey Papers Added!

Do you have ancestors from New Jersey? We’re happy to announce that our New Jersey archives are expanding! We have 46 New Jersey papers from the Gannett Company that contain over eight million pages of content. Here are just a few of the titles:

The Record: Our issues date back to 1898 in the midst of the Spanish-American War. The Record covers news from Bergen, Hudson, Essex, and Passaic counties in New Jersey. You can also check for news from nearby New York counties like Rockland County.  The Record was initially published six days a week, but a Sunday edition was added in 1968. The Record archive also includes The Chronicle, a community weekly newspaper that started in 2005. The Record reported on one of the largest acts of foreign sabotage ever committed in the country when German spies attacked a huge munition depot in Kingsland (later renamed Lyndhurst) in 1917. The attack caused a massive explosion and contributed to America entering World War I.  

The Herald-News: With issues dating back to 1893, the Herald-News focuses on Passaic County. Our collection contains the archives of the Passaic Sunday Eagle, Daily News, Daily Herald, and The Item. Many of the county’s early residents worked in the metalwork industry and textile factories. The 1926 Passaic textile strike resulted in a work stoppage by more than 15,000 mill workers and lasted more than a year. At one point, the Workers (Communist) Party helped workers organize a “United Front Committee” to negotiate with mill owners. When the strike ended in 1927 it was the first Communist-led work stoppage in the United States.

The Montclair Times: We have issues of the Montclair Times that go all the way back to 1877, just a few years after the Montclair township was formed. This archive also includes issues of The Saturday Gazette from 1872-1873. Montclair became known as a desirable place for New York businessmen and their families to build a home outside the city. In the 1870s, as many as six-thousand Montclair commuters traveled to the city each day. In 1878, a huge fire destroyed an entire city block including the Jacobus Building that housed the press for the Montclair Times, but the paper managed still managed to publish the next edition. If you have ancestors from Montclair, search columns like Notes About Town for their names.

Court Records Survive Fire

The News: Based in Paterson, New Jersey, our archives for The News go back to 1890 and include issues from The Morning Call and the Morning News. Paterson was the nation’s first planned industrial city, laid out in part by Alexander Hamilton in 1792. A 77-foot high waterfall called Great Falls provided power for mills and factories and helped Paterson become an important industrial center. Edward B. Haines founded The News and chronicled the city’s headlines including the great fire of 1902. The fire destroyed more than 450 buildings. Many of the town’s important court records survived because they were kept in a vault.

Get started searching these and other New Jersey newspapers today!

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The 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad

On May 10, 1869, a golden spike was ceremoniously driven at Promontory Point in the Utah Territory. The spike joined the rails of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroad and created the country’s first transcontinental railroad.  

Before this, a journey to the west could take six months by land; or six weeks by water either by sailing around Cape Horn; or by sailing to Central America and then crossing the Isthmus of Panama by train. It was also expensive, costing more than $1,000. After the completion of the railroad, the same trip took seven days and cost less than $150.

The idea of a transcontinental railroad dated back to the early 1800s. In 1845, New York merchant Asa Whitney asked Congress for a grant to purchase public lands to expand the railroad to the Pacific. Initially, his proposal received a lukewarm welcome. After the US acquired California following the Mexican War in 1848, it started to gain momentum. Whitney did his best to keep the issue at the forefront of public discussion by publishing a pamphlet called “Project for a Railroad to the Mississippi,” where he outlined possible rail routes.

In 1862, Congress passed the Railroad Act granting land and government bonds to the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad. 

The first track for the Central Pacific line was laid in Sacramento in October 1863. Their workers consisted primarily of Chinese laborers who managed to reach the summit of the Sierra Nevada Mountains by 1867. Meanwhile, the Union Pacific Railroad started building west from Omaha, Nebraska in 1865. Its workforce primarily consisted of soldiers from the recently ended Civil War, many of whom were Irish immigrants. Construction of the rail lines was swift, due in part to the fact that Congress offered bonds valued between $16,000 and $48,000, depending on terrain, for each mile of railroad completed. The enticement of land grants and government bonds led both railroads to work as quickly as possible. The two companies could have joined rails as early as January 1869, but the incentives kept them going and they laid 225 miles of parallel track before agreeing to halt construction.  

Just before noon on May 10, 1869, two trains, one from Central Pacific from the West and a Union Pacific train from the east, moved into position for the formal golden spike ceremony and the joining of the rails. After remarks from dignitaries, officials drove the ceremonial golden spike into in the rail. Telegraph lines carried the sounds of the spike being driven across the nation. The crowds cheered and a band played “Star Spangled Banner.”

Some have characterized the transcontinental railroad as one of the greatest achievements of the 19th century. If you would like to learn more about the transcontinental railroad or the golden spike ceremony, visit our topic page and search Newspapers.com today!

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