Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Catellus Development Corporation railroad land grant records
MS 634  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (57.06 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography/Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Additional collection guides

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Catellus Development Corporation railroad land grant records
    Dates: 1852-1982
    Collection Number: MS 634
    Creator/Collector: Catellus Development Corporation
    Extent: 243 linear feet
    Repository: California State Railroad Museum Library and Archives
    Sacramento, California 95814
    Abstract: This collection includes land grant records from the Catellus Development Corporation, a holding company created in 1986 to manage Southern Pacific's California real estate holdings . This collection documents federal land grants to the Southern Pacific Railroad, Central Pacific, and other subsidiary and predecessor railroads through a series of Pacific Railway Acts from the 1860s to the 1880s.
    Language of Material: English


    Collection is open for research by appointment. Please contact CSRM Library staff for details.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the California State Railroad Museum. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the CSRM as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    Catellus Development Corporation railroad land grant records. California State Railroad Museum Library and Archives

    Acquisition Information

    Donated in 2005 by the Catellus Development Corporation

    Biography/Administrative History

    Chronology of Events 1785 Land Ordinance provided that all federal land will be surveyed into townships six miles square. Townships are subdivided into 36 one-mile- square sections. Sections can be further subdivided into quarter sections, quarter-quarter sections, or irregular government lots. Each township is identified with a township and range designation. Township designations indicate the location north or south of the baseline, and range designations indicate the location east or west of the Principal Meridian. A meridian is an imaginary line running north to south. 1861 Central Pacific Railroad is incorporated. 1862 President Abraham Lincoln signs the Pacific Railway Act, a law which authorizes the federal government to give a land grant and loans to aid construction of the Central Pacific Railroad as the Western part of the Transcontinental Railroad and the Union Pacific as the Eastern part. 1863 Central Pacific begins construction at Sacramento. 1864 The United States Congress passes the Pacific Railway Act of 1864, which doubles the land grant to 20 alternate sections per mile, with a 20 mile checkerboard corridor on each side of the right-of-way. 1865 The Southern Pacific Railroad Company is incorporated. 1865 Central Pacific Railroad establishes a Land Department in Sacramento. Benjamin B. Redding, former mayor of Sacramento, was chosen to lead to design and manage the new organization. 1866 The Pacific Railway Act is amended to allow a railroad to select lands outside of the land grant area in exchange for unavailable land grant land. 1866 The federal government gives Southern Pacific Railroad a land grant to complete the western section of the Atlantic & Pacific line through California via Mojave to Needles. 1867 First land patent is issued to the Central Pacific Railroad by the federal government. 1868 September 25: The Central Pacific Railway owners acquire control of the Southern Pacific Railroad. 1869 The California & Oregon Railroad receives a federal land grant to build a line northward from Davis to connect to the Oregon & California Railroad at the California and Oregon border. 1869 The Central Pacific Railroad begins operating the California & Oregon Railroad. 1869 The Golden Spike ceremony held at Promontory, Utah, marks the completion of the transcontinental railroad between Sacramento, California and Omaha, Nebraska. 1870 California & Oregon Railroad is consolidated with the Central Pacific Railroad, and becomes a branch line of the Central Pacific Railroad. 1871 The federal government gives the Southern Pacific Railroad land grants and loans, allowing it to build to meet the Texas & Pacific at Yuma, California and build from Los Angeles to Colton, California. 1875 The Southern Pacific Railroad opens a land agency in San Francisco. 1876 Jerome Madden, Benjamin Redding's assistant, became the land agent for Southern Pacific. 1886 Southern Pacific Company assumes control of the Oregon & California Railroad. 1899 The Central Pacific Railroad is reorganized as the Central Pacific Railway in order to pay off its federal debt. 1912 The Southern Pacific Company transfers some of its remaining land assets to Southern Pacific Land Company. 1916 Oregon & California grant lands are returned to the Federal Government. 1927 Southern Pacific purchases the Oregon & California Railroad. 1984 The Southern Pacific Company merges with Santa Fe Industries, parent company of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, to form Santa Fe Southern Pacific Corporation (SPSF). 1985 The Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) denies permission for the railroad operations to merge. 1986 Appeal of the ICC ruling fails. 1986 The renamed holding company, the Santa Fe Pacific Corporation, retains all of the non-rail interests of both companies except one. All of the Southern Pacific Railroad California real estate holdings are transferred to a new holding company, Catellus Development Corporation. 1996 The Southern Pacific Railroad is acquired by Union Pacific Railroad and its operations cease. 2005 Catellus Development Corporation is merged into ProLogis, another land development company based in San Francisco. ProLogis remains one of the largest real estate holders in California.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection includes land grant records from the Catellus Development Corporation, a holding company created in 1986 to manage Southern Pacific's California real estate holdings . This collection documents federal land grants to the Southern Pacific Railroad, Central Pacific, and Oregon & California railroads through a series of Pacific Railway Acts from the 1860s to the 1880s. Many land grant records ended up in the custody of Catellus Development Corporation, a holding company created in 1986 to hold Southern Pacific Company’s California real estate holdings. After microfilming all of the Southern Pacific and subsidiary land records in their possession, Catellus offered them to the CSRM Library & Archives in December 2005. These records are arranged into the following series: 1. INDEMNITY LIMITS LISTS 2. PATENT LISTS 3. SURVEY PLATS 4. TRACT BOOKS 5. MAPS 6. CLASSIFICATION OF LANDS 7. RECORD OF PATENTS 8. RECORD OF GRANTED AND INDEMNITY LANDS 9. LEASES 10. DEEDS 11. SALES 12. LIST OF CONVEYANCES 13. UNSOLD LANDS 14. TIMBER 15. LAND RECORD INDEX CARDS 16. ACCOUNTING RECORDS 17. ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION AND DEEDS There are gaps in every series. Land purchases for railroad right-of-way or operation are not included in this collection. This land was managed separately. Some Southern Pacific and Central Pacific Land Department records kept by the Southern Pacific Company can be found in the MS 79 Central Pacific Railroad Collection and the MS 10 Southern Pacific Railroad Collection. Additional land records are available in the following CSRM Library & Archives collections: Albion Lumber Company (MS 741) Central Pacific Land Company (MS 789) Durango Land Company (MS 790) El Paso & Southwestern (MS 745) Kern Trading & Oil Company (MS 791) Nevada Central (MS 683) Oregon & California Railroad (MS 134 Series 3) Oregon & California Land Company (MS 792) Oregon Central Railroad (MS 136) Pacific Fruit Express ( MS 49 Series 14) Southern Pacific Land Company (MS 743) MS 637 Arthur G. Rahn papers document the work of Rahn who was formerly Assistant Director of Appraisal Services for Southern Pacific Railroad. One paper, “A resume of the acquisition and management of land under jurisdiction of the Land Department of Southern Pacific Company" examines the Southern Pacific Land Company and how it acquired, sold, and leased lands, how and why its policies changed over time, land grant rates, Oregon land grant litigation, details of the land grants, how the title to minerals was held, land sales, land surveys, and how land was patented and appraised. A copy of this paper has been included at the beginning of Series 1.

    Indexing Terms

    Southern Pacific Railroad Company
    Central Pacific Railway Company
    Oregon and California Railroad Company
    California and Oregon Railroad Company
    Central Pacific Land Company
    Southern Pacific Land Company

    Additional collection guides