The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954 Page: 525
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international proportions. Such historical household names as
General Grenville M. Dodge and Jay Gould figure prominently,
and J. Pierpont Morgan, the Baring brothers, George Pullman,
and Russell Sage make their periodic appearances. Performing
in a smaller arena but no less famous locally are such men as
Governor John Evans of Colorado and Governor James Stephen
Hogg and Morgan Jones of Texas. On all of these Overton trains
a clear lens, so that the resulting picture presents a series of
sharply-etched personalities that portray vividly the effect of men
upon men and men upon institutions.
But Gulf to Rockies is more, too, than a story of men. It is a
story of corporate finance, both high and low. Author Overton,
who heads the business history department at Northwestern
University, has digested literally thousands of manuscripts, not to
mention scores of printed works, as his ten pages of working
bibliography attests. In less able hands this book would have been
a dry-as-dust crammed compendium of at least twice the four
hundred pages that the author here requires, but Overton,
incredibly enough, has managed to compress his story without
dehydrating it, so that it is both facile and zestful at the same
time that it is prodigiously detailed.
Two men loom largest. One, General Dodge, gives credence
to the occasionally encountered belief that construction engineers
are born. When in his teens he fell in love with railroad-building,
there ensued a Dodge-railroad marriage that never fell from the
honeymoon heights. Besides keeping Union railroads in repair
during the Civil War, he helped in the construction of the Eastern,
Illinois Central, Mississippi and Missouri, Rock Island, Union
Pacific (his most famous performance), and, in Texas, the Texas
and Pacific, International and Great Northern, Katy, and, of
course, Fort Worth and Denver City. He was an engineer and a
builder, and like the legendary John Henry, he sang his happiest
song when the rails were being hammered down.
Opposite Dodge was Governor Evans, a visonary whose mind
teemed with impractical schemes for developing his state of Colo-
rado and releasing it from its geographical isolation. One of these
schemes was the Gulf-to-Rockies route, opposed by such powerful
interests as the Union Pacific, the Santa Fe, and the ubiquitously
venal Gould. The result was a welter of competing lines, often
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954, periodical, 1954; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101152/m1/628/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.