Collection Scope and Content Summary
Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine
Title: Railroads in California
Clement, L. M.
Identifier/Call Number: MS.R.115
0.1 Linear Feet
Date (inclusive): 1876
Abstract: L. M. Clement was one of the leading
civil engineers responsible for surveying and building the eastbound route of the Central
Pacific Railroad, thereby contributing to the completion of the transcontinental railroad in
1869. The collection comprises a handwritten copy of Clement's twelve-page report on the
state of the California railroads before 1876, including assessments of Chinese laborers and
their supervision, an evaluation of the condition of California's roads, and a description
of the role of chief engineer in a railroad project.
Language of Material:
The collection is open for research.
Property rights reside with the University of California. These materials are in the public
domain. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special
Collections and Archives.
Railroads in California. MS-R115. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine
Libraries, Irvine, California. Date accessed.
For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information
about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder
descriptions, and box/folder locations.
Acquired in 2004.
Processed by Cyndi Shein in 2008.
Lewis Metzler Clement was one of the leading civil engineers responsible for surveying and
building the eastbound route of the Central Pacific Railroad, contributing to the completion
of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. He was born August 12, 1837 in
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. He received an engineering degree from McGill
University in Montréal. He first worked as a shipping clerk with the Central Ohio Railroad.
Later he worked for E. R. Blanchard, General Freight Agent of the Ohio and Mississippi
Railway Company in St. Louis, Missouri.
Clement moved from Missouri to California in January 1863. He became the right-hand man of
Theodore Dehone Judah, chief engineer of the Central Pacific Railroad. Clement and Judah
were central figures in the planning and construction of the first railroad that traveled
eastward. In 1863 they began laying track eastward from Sacramento, California across
California's Sierra Nevada mountains and through the deserts of the Nevada and Utah
territories. The Central Pacific hired thousands of Chinese immigrants to lay the track and
blast nine tunnels through the mountains. Shortly thereafter, the Union Pacific began laying
track westward from Omaha, Nebraska. The two rail lines met at Promontory, Utah on May 10,
1869, completing the nation's first transcontinental railroad. Clement was made assistant
chief engineer upon Judah's death (1863) and later became the acting chief engineer of the
In 1881 Clement became chief engineer of the Pacific Improvement Company, a subsidiary of
the Southern Pacific Railroad, for which he designed and built power plants and cable and
electric railways in the West. He invented the first electric control system for railroads
and designed an "Emigrant Sleeping Car," the forerunner to the Pullman Car.
L.M. Clement died October 29, 1914 in Hayward, California.
Collection Scope and Content Summary
The collection comprises a single handwritten copy of Clement's twelve-page report on the
state of the California railroads, including insights on Chinese laborers and their
supervision, an evaluation of the condition of California's roads, and a description of the
role of chief engineer in a railroad project. Clement's stated purpose is to share
"practical observations which he has made during the performance of his professional duties"
with "engineers and others" who might benefit from his experience (Clement p. ). "Copy
made November 16, 1876" is written on the cover under the author's name.
"Central Pacific Railroad."
Encyclopedia Britannica: 2008.
http://www.search.eb.com/eb/article-9022083 (accessed February 28,
2008)."Emigrant Sleeping Car."
Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum: 2007.
http://cprr.org/Museum/Car_Builders_Dictionary/index.html (accessed February 28,
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Alien labor, Chinese -- California.
Railroad engineers -- California -- History -- Sources
Railroads -- California.
Transportation -- California -- History -- Sources
Railroad construction workers -- California -- History --
Clement, L. M. -- Archives