Through Passenger Service Begins
R. R. Reibenstein, Secretary J. M. Eddy of the chamber of commerce
and prominent men of the city received the railroad officials, and
as the train schedule provided for only a 30 minute stopover, the
passengers were soon conducted to automobiles that were waiting, and
were taken around the city.
The guests were taken through the manufacturing section and through the state hospital grounds to Vine Street. The automobiles shot west on Vine, passing the school building and grounds, continued through the residence section in the northwestern part of the city back toward the business section, and to the new hotel.
Secretary Eddy of the chamber of commerce also received a dispatch that afternoon:
Oakland, Aug. 22, 1910.
"Oakland, the terminal city congratulates the queen city of the San Joaquin valley upon the bond of the mutual interest in the Pacific valley.”
WALTER S. MACKAY, President Oakland chamber of commerce.
The Western Pacific held extensive property in Stockton, in addition to having purchased its right of way through the city, it bought several blocks of land where it had its local shops, yards and roundhouse.
The train departed at 12:50 pm.
The train running smoothly over the new steel which, after months of untiring labor on the part of men skilled in the art of transportation, now cut a trail from Salt lake into this, the "land of traffic," the richly appointed train slid down into the fertile valley and heralded by thousands of cheering voices and the raucous accompaniment of scores of whistles and bells, paused within sight of the blue Pacific ocean.
In Oakland by 3 pm the tide of humanity which had drifted somewhat aimlessly during the early part of the day, set steadily toward the new concrete depot on Third Street, between Washington and Broadway. Here a platform for the accommodation of the speakers and the principal guests had been erected, and across Third Street had been built a graceful triumphal arch of classic but simple design. The open archway was sixty feet in width, and lettered across the structure were: "Oakland, Gateway of the Orient," "Welcome to the Western Pacific" and "New York to Oakland. August 22, 1910.”
Then with an acclaim, riotous, unrestrained and unrestrainable, Oakland gave welcome to the first Western Pacific passenger train to enter within its gates. Thousands upon thousands of men and women and children, filling the streets, crowding the enclosed places, dotting the roofs, screamed and yelled in wild frenzy, of delight. From factory and workshop there burst shrill chorus of raucous whistling. Bands blared, bells pealed, gongs clanged. And across the tracks there wedged and squirmed and stomped and shouted a pack of humanity which, regardless of the hot sun or the clouds of dust flying into their faces, waited with waving arms as the slowly moving engine bore down upon them, coming to a halt within a few feet of the front rank.
Parade and pageantry there were, and pomp there ought to have been but the program arranged by human mind could not stand against the heaving, pushing and recklessly joyous crowd. Therefore the pomp vanished. Speeches were lost in din, eloquence in uproar. The parade which should have paraded before the grandstand for the edification of the visitors nosed itself gingerly against the heaving, howling throng, wavered irresolutely and came to a dead halt. The police lines snapped like threads and the thousands threw themselves to the spot under the arch to pat the iron flanks of the panting engine. They decked its glistening, shining front with garlands. They pitched roses on its hot boiler. They clambered to the oil bunker and fathers brought their little ones to its side so that the baby fingers might touch the forerunner of the new road.
The train came in on time at 4:15 p. m. but long, long before that the crowd had formed. They lined the streets from early in the afternoon, but as the day advanced surged by a common impulse to the new depot site, where had been erected a triumphal arch. There they gathered and kept on gathering. Squads of police charged and battened and flattened; begged, implored and commanded them to give room; but the crowd still kept on gathering. The many thousands of trampling, shuffling feet raised a volume of dust which enveloped the enthusiasts, but none would give way.
Around the grandstand, reserved for a special few, the crowd surged, and in interims of surging, shouted. As the appointed time approached the surging died down, the murmuring, shouting and talking ceased. All eyes turned to the east. In the grandstand dignified dignitaries forgot the imposing adornments of silk hats and frock coats, and hoisted themselves upon chairs and tables.
Down the track, the police banding themselves desperately rushed into the mass and swung back the crowd and then in feverish anxiety held it back. For about five solid heavy minutes the crowd waited silently. The cloud of dust gradually began to settle upon their heads, and a hot sun poured into their faces. Suddenly, a grimy individual, balancing himself on the precarious heights of the roof of a factory across from the grandstand and who had been keeping watch from his lofty position, gave a maniacal outcry. He danced up and down and flung his arms to the four heavens. Also he shouted in great excitement to comrades below. His answer came.
It came with an ear splitting shriek from a steam whistle at full blast. And the whistling rose and fell, from far down the line was heard the distant clang-clang of the warning engine bell.
The silence departed. A smashing roar went up. The brass bands tore their way into the din. Automobile horns, street car gongs, anything and everything which would create a noise was brought into play. The massed thousands lining Washington street, unable to see, knew by the spontaneous shout that the longed for moment had arrived, and catching the shout sent it rocketing down the street. Block by block it was caught up and hurled along till it reached the center of the city and there gathered in greater volume than ever.
Into the wave of shouts slowly moved the train, policemen before it clearing way. The engine bell swung and fell with a steady clang and gently, timidly, the monster engine crept along the unfamiliar path, its brass work shining and the paint on its face proclaiming the newness of it.
Bit by bit it passed through the throng. From each side came a shower of flowers, which grinning brakeman, negligently balancing on the cow catcher, caught and pinned on their grimy shirts. In brand new lettering it carried its name: No. 92.
"Ninety two!" shouted the crowd. "Come on, ninety two!"
As the engine passed under the triumphal arch the shouting crackled forth with redoubled vim. The arch which spanned Third Street and under which the new train passed was 48 feet high and 65 feet in width. Above the cornice and belt work rose a parapet 12 feet high, each of the two buttresses carrying a flagpole. The arch carried the inscription, "Oakland, Gateway to the Pacific, Welcomes the Western Pacific." On one side the arch was embellished with an engine and on the other with a ship. It was designed by D. Franklin Oliver and constructed by F. J. Jones. The lumber was provided by the E. K. Wood, the Sunset, Western, the Hogan, the Hodge-Collins, the Rainier and the Hunter lumber companies. Mill work was contributed by the Eureka mill and lumber company and the Burnham-Standeford company.
A few feet beyond two tiny white clad maids, Miss Adrienne Denison and Miss Gertrude Schmidt mounted to pedestals and holding their ropes of roses tossed the blossoms lightly over the brow of the engine as the engineer brought the great piece of machinery to a stop. The cheering which subsided for a moment as the train bore down the track broke out afresh.
The moment it came to a halt from the crowd there broke forth men and women with more flowers came forward. They pitched California flowers on its hot boilers. They decked its sable front with garlands, and parents, worming their way through held little children aloft that they might touch with soft baby fingers the symbol of a new enterprise, a forerunner of greater prosperity. Michael. Boyle, the engineer who brought the train in, poked a grinning countenance through the window and was immediately made the target for a volley of flowers, and the same was done to Fireman T. E. Putnam when his visage was seen.
W. D. Nichols of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce came to the front bearing a huge wreath of laurel which he placed above the pilot of the engine and the big machine snorted an acknowledgement of the honor through its exhaust.
To those who watched it all from the car windows of the first train it recalled the stories of the driving of the last spike when the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific met at Ogden, or the great railroad celebration of 1859 when the first line of rails reached St. Louis on the westward advance across the continent. It took but a few minutes for the passengers from the train to disembark. They were frankly glad to alight, for the trip had been a hot one, and they made their way to the platform without delay.
The committee in charge of the arrangements had planned for a little formal speech making after the train had been brought to a halt. The plans might have been very well in their way, but there was one drawback — the crowd would not stop shouting. Walter F. Mackay, president of the Oakland chamber of commerce and chairman of the committee of arrangements, tried to obtain peace by holding up his right hand in the time honored manner. The crowd took it to be the signal for another burst of cheers and ripped out additional yells.
Once again any hope of silence disappeared. A smashing roar vent up. The brass bands tore their way into the din. Street car gongs, automobile horns, tin-pans, anything and everything that would create a noise were brought into play The great crowds on Washington, Broadway and Clay streets, unable to see the event themselves, realized that the moment had arrived and taking up wave of sound, sent them on and on to the outermost limits of the city.
In brand new lettering, "No 92," the engine carried its name and "Come on you Ninety-two" rang out again and again. The program of speech making was badly hindered by the din. Orators, famous men in frock, coats and silk hats stepped forward one by one with greetings, only to have their individual welcome drowned out by the great public demonstration.
President Mackay again stepped to the front of the platform raising his right hand for order. The signal was made an excuse for another volley of wild cries. Undisturbed MacKay mounted a table and tried again. No better success and casting dignity to the wind he clambered on a table. "Hurrah! Three cheers. Hurrah!" yelled the crowd.
The man nearest the Chamber of Commerce president could barely hear what he said. Mayor Mott was subjected to a similar ovation. He likewise mounted a chair. It collapsed. Pandemonium broke loose. Then he arose on a table, but no sooner did he turn his countenance away from the grand stand to the crowd massed beneath he was cheered on his own account. Ultimately he began reading his address of welcome but he had might as well have cracked jokes for all the good it did to the crowd. The shouting would not cease, and neither would the whistling from the factories.
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