This collection contains 372 stereographic photographs (including some variants and duplicates) by photographer A. A. Hart
(1816-1908) that document
the construction of the western half of first transcontinental
railroad by the Central Pacific Railroad between 1864 and 1869.
Hart served as the Central Pacific's first official photographer, and his images chronicle the advancement of the railroad
over 742 miles from Newcastle, California, through the
Sierra Nevada Mountains and into Nevada and Utah.
Photographer Alfred A. Hart (1816-1908) was born in Norwich, Connecticut, on March 28, 1816. In the late 1830s, he studied
in New York City, and later worked in Connecticut and along the East Coast as a portrait painter and panoramic artist. In
1857, Hart made an initial foray into photography in
a partnership with daguerreotypist Henry H. Bartlett in Hartford, Connecticut. Hart and his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio,
in the early 1860s, and by 1863, Hart had begun
operating as a traveling photographer in various California mining towns.
The Central Pacific Railroad Company (CPRR), led by president Leland Stanford and vice president Collis P. Huntington, was
incorporated in Sacramento, California,
on June 28, 1861. The Pacific Railroad Act, signed by President Abraham Lincoln on July 1, 1862, authorized the CPRR to build
a railroad and telegraph line east from
Sacramento and the Union Pacific Railroad Company to build west from Omaha, Nebraska. On January 8, 1863, the CPRR held the
ceremonial groundbreaking in Sacramento,
and the first track was laid in October 1863. Construction progressed eastward for the next six years, with track completed
to Auburn, California, in May 1865; Cisco,
California, in late 1866; and Reno, Nevada, in June 1868. On May 10, 1869, the eastern and western lines met at Promontory
Summit, Utah, with the ceremonial final
"golden spike" driven by Stanford.
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material,
nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and
obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.