Through Passenger Service Begins
Mayor Mott in welcoming the Western Pacific, said:
“This is a notable day in the annals of Oakland. Here we are assembled to give greetings and welcome to the representatives of a new and great transcontinental railway system. Their presence upon the first regular train to enter the city over the rails of this completed line marks another epoch in commercial and industrial achievement which will stand among the foremost events in our history. Those of us who, by reason of official positions or otherwise, shared in the work of securing entrance into this city of the Western Pacific system have no reason to feel ashamed of their effort. The Western Pacific came to us in the guise of a friend. We met it on that basis, and I believe that we shall never regret that we accorded its representatives in those days a fair hearing. The Western Pacific was the first great corporation in the country to recognize the city's rights to its harbor. It was through the Western Pacific that Oakland today controls the wharfing out rights on its water front. It was litigation fought, out by this company in the federal courts which led finally to a settlement on an equitable, basis of 50 odd long years of battle strife and controversy. It goes without sayings that two railroads are better than one and that three are better than two for commercial purposes. But there is another side. I refer to the influx of new population which will follow the completion of this road and in which we shall share. For many months now, Oakland has been putting herself in order for home builders and for tourists. It is with a sincere pleasure that I personally and officially welcome the Western Pacific railroad, to Oakland. I speak as mayor for Oakland, without a question as to the sentiments of our people, because their attitude has been tested and tried many times since you made the first move in Oakland to make this city the western continental terminus of your system. We greet you as friends and as our guests today and we ask you to accept without reserve the hospitality of our citizens.”
A humorous feature was when Colonel Irish, another of the speakers, rose to give his address. No sooner did he launch upon his remarks than from the exhaust of the engine came a rush of steam. Irish began to shout at the top of his lungs, but the escaping steam created more noise. The crowd added its quota of laughter and yells and Irish, disgruntled and disgusted, gave up in despair.
This is the way in which E. L. Lomax, passenger traffic manager of the new road, spoke of the opening of the Western Pacific:
"Without traditions and without a past, the Western Pacific comes to the people of California, with the confidence of a child, sure of its welcome. Our road, comes as the answer to the demand for reduced costs of transcontinental transportation. The Western Pacific does not climb the mountains; it tunnels them. It crosses the Sierra, at an elevation of 2000 feet lower than any other transcontinental line, and in this way escapes the necessity of lifting its freight and passenger trains half a mile into the air and dropping them down again. With lighter grades will come better service for shippers, not cuts in rates, but betterment of condition's, and where there may have been inequities in the past, we shall find ways to meet them. The Western Pacific opens a new stream of wealth flowing into California and to San Francisco. It not only adds to the resources of the state by the taxes it pays and the operating expenses, some $5,000,000 annually, which will be distributed in Utah, Nevada and California, but it also brings the colonization of a new section of California and the development of mining, lumbering and agriculture in a part of the state that has hitherto been neglected. From Oroville to Winnemucca the Western Pacific will develop a great section of country that is tributary to San Francisco and our first work will be to bring colonists to this section. Through the canyon of the Feather River the Western Pacific crosses the first gold diggings of the early days, where $50,000,000 of gold was washed from the river bars. But in the haste of the pioneer times much valuable ground was passed by in the side gullies, and modern methods it now pays to work over the diggings that were once considered washed out. Rich deposits of gold, iron and copper await the development that will come with the opening of the Western Pacific. North of the new line, between Oroville and Beckwith, are billions of feet of timber that will now be brought within reach of the markets and add its wealth to the new stream that will flow over our line to San Francisco. Around Honey Lake are thousands of acres of land which will now be brought under irrigation, and some day the man will come with the money who will see the opportunity for bringing the water from mountain lakes to what is now known as the desert of Nevada. There are places on this dry land where the sagebrush grows five and six feet tall, showing that all the land needs is water to make it wonderfully productive. In these ways the opening of the Western Pacific means the bringing of one more stream of wealth to San Francisco, the metropolis of the Pacific coast.”
The parade which followed was one of the largest witnessed in the streets of Oakland. Every big business concern was represented, and besides them there were delegations from the several improvement and social clubs and the central labor union.
The city council of Richmond chartered a special car of the East Shore and Suburban electric railway system and the Richmond electric car company placed at its disposal one of the latest models, just out of the St. Louis car shops, for the Richmond delegation to Oakland today. On the front and sides of the car were great banners. The one on the front read, "Richmond for Prosperity" and on the sides, "Richmond Joins Oakland in Welcome to the Western Pacific." Mayor Joseph Willis and Chief of Police James Arnold sent special messengers to invite the merchants and factory people personally.
The councilmen in the party were: Mayor Joseph B. Willis, Otto R. Ludwig. E.J. Garrard, John Hartnett, J. J. Dooling, Homer Wyatt, James Owens, G. A. Follett and E. McDuff; City Clerk Vaughan; City Treasurer Crary, cashier of the new First national bank; Judge Lindsey, Justice Roth, City Attorney Lee D. Windrem, Chief of Police James Arnold, H. H. Turley, City Engineer Chapman, L. D. Dimm and J. F. Brooks of the Standard oil company, Richmond Dean of the Pullman manufacturing company, Superintendent Berkeley of the steel works, Superintendent Hayes of the Western pipe and steel company, City Auditor McVittie; Frank Loop, representing the California wine association with samples of sparkling wines and grape juices; R. J. Like and Warren B. Brown of the Richmond Terminal, F. W. Foss of the Richmond Independent; Representative Morris of the Leader and Judge J. L. Kennon of the Record-Herald, A. C. Lang, E. M. Ferguson, John Kenny, Henry Sissenberg, H. W. Pulse, W. Vore, D. R. McLaughlin, Superintendent Robertson of the East Shore and Suburban railway company, D. R. Bagly, superintendent of the Richmond Belt Line railway company; W. B. Trull, agent of the Santa Fe main line and the Oakland and East Side railway; H. A. Stivers agent of the Southern Pacific, and a representative of each of Richmond's fire departments, J. H. Philpott, William Kingett, the Linville Brothers and others.
The car was sidetracked at Fourteenth and Franklin streets and the Richmond delegation was received by a committee of the Oakland chamber of commerce, and the Richmond boosters were turned over to the grand marshal, who placed the body in a position of honor in the parade.
After the parade there was a side meeting, at which Richmond was welcomed by a few informal words by Mayor Frank. K. Mott and Mayor Joseph Willis of Richmond gave a fitting response. The Richmond party returned in the East Shore special at 7:30 o'clock tonight.
As the great industrial parade disbanded at Sixteenth Street and Broadway a long string of automobiles occupied by railroad officials, newspaper men, city officials and members of the committee in charge of the celebration, began a tour of the city, visiting all points of interest. It was so arranged that each auto had in it a member of the general committee, who fully explained the history and significance of the points visited. The sightseeing tour began at Lake Merritt and ended at the Claremont country club, where an informal dinner was given.
The celebration is unequalled in California history. There is no such event recorded in railroad annals in any part of the world. Only the West could have offered a welcome so big, so breezy, so self-embracing, the scene, bathed in the sunshine of a California summer day was one which will remain always in memory.
Walter S. Mackay, president of the Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the committee which had charge of the day's festivities, presided as toastmaster at the Country club, and was surrounded at the head table by Schlacks of the Western Pacific, General Traffic Manager E. L. Lomax, Attorney Max Thelan of the law department, Mayer Frank K. Mott, H. C. Capwell, Charles B. Snook and others. Nearly 300 guests were present, the elaborately decorated dining hall being crowded to the utmost.
As the party seated themselves at the various tables, yells were given in true college fashion by the visiting press representatives, who began with the name of George Gould, president of the new trans-continental road, and paid high tribute to each official of the company, officials and citizens of Oakland and all those concerned in both the Western Pacific project and Oakland's welcome, in songs and cheers fittingly in keeping with the demonstration.
At the conclusion of the informal but elaborate dinner, Chairman Mackay introduced Mayor Frank K. Mott as the first speaker, who again welcomed the Western Pacific and its officials on behalf of the people of Oakland. He said in part:
"Today's demonstration has been one of the greatest in the history of Oakland, it testifies of the faith the people of this city have in the Western Pacific as a factor in the commercial and industrial expansion of Oakland. The Western Pacific has won a great victory, not only for itself, but for Oakland. It is largely due to the efforts of the Gould road that Oakland has fought its way into control of the water front. We expect the Western Pacific to do its part for Oakland and we know that Oakland will do its duty for the Western Pacific. Today marks the dawn of a new epoch in the development of central and northern California."
Vice President Schlacks of the Western Pacific was then introduced amid prolonged cheers. He said:
"Our trip from east to west has been a continuous celebration. All along the route, even at points where we could not stop, were gathered hundreds, who cheered and gave welcome until the sound of their voices had died in the distance. These celebrations throughout the great west culminating in this magnificent demonstration in Oakland have touched all of us. Your reception has been supreme. I have never seen anything like it. I can't find words to express my sentiments or to thank the good people, of this city. So far as the Western Pacific company is concerned. I promise you in behalf of the officials of the company, of whom only a handful are present, but all of whom are with me in spirit, that it will contribute its share toward the up building and development of northern and central California. We are all Californians. That is why we are here."
Joseph B. Baker struck a practical note in the festival of joy when in response to the toastmaster's invitation he said in part:
"In the exuberance of this glorification it is well that certain practical business elements should be remembered. Railroads are not eleemosynary institutions. They are business enterprises and as such, must have a return on the money invested in them. Let us not be carried away with the false idea that the Western Pacific is going to give us something for nothing, for it will not do it. It cannot do it and live. What we expect, the only thing that we have a right to expect is that the Western Pacific will give us the best possible service at the lowest cost that a profitable return on the investment will permit. Mr. Gould and his associates have expended $75,000,000 in constructing this great railway. That capital must earn a profit, a fair profit, or it will be wasted. We expect the Western Pacific to assist in developing new territory tributary to Oakland and San Francisco. It will do this because of the necessity of creating for itself and in creating the business it will create business for the cities along its lines, particularly for us here in Oakland. It is our part to help build up the business. And we must never lose sight of the fact that we have got to pay a reasonable price for the service which the Western Pacific renders The only basis of our relations if they are to continually be mutually helpful must be that of honest pay for honest service. A square deal all round. The mutual obligation of this arrangement should appeal to all businessmen. The great welcome we give the Western Pacific today would be a hollow mockery if traffic did not follow it, if we did not furnish something for the Western Pacific to do. Give it freight and passengers to haul and be willing to pay good money for the transportation."
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