Thomas Durant re-directed the Union Pacific line in a crazy oxbow shape leaving Omaha, Nebraska, simply to add miles to the line -- and money to his pocket.
Collis Huntington sent spies to Union Pacific's suppliers and paid off a Capitol Hill doorkeeper to inform him about the UP's activities in Washington.
Crews from both companies cut corners, building hastily and poorly while racing to lay as many miles of track as possible. Pure profit was the motive. "The line we want now is the one we can build the soonest," wrote Central Pacific surveyor Samuel Montague, "even if we rebuild immediately."
Shortly after the site launched in 1999, we asked our users to answer this controversial question. Below are the results from this poll.
Do you think the railroad could have been completed without backroom deals and criminal profiteering?
Total number of poll participants: 5228
Of the participants polled, 1860 watched at least half of the film; of those, 890 said the film influenced their vote.
After 18 years of struggles, the Golden Gate Bridge opened on May 27, 1937.
Major Walter Reed's discovery in 1900 that mosquitoes spread yellow fever halted an outbreak and led to the disease's eventual eradication.
In the early 1830s, Texas, ruled by Mexico, held 20,000 U.S. settlers and 4,000 Mexican Tejanos, forcing residents to pick sides.
Three years before the Gold Rush, 87 pioneers took a shortcut westward to California, only to get caught in the snows of the Sierra Nevada.
The tale of oil-seeking mavericks whose risk-taking, sweat and dreams changed an American industry.
The ultimate frontiersman, Carson inspired popular novels before being associated with the "Long Walk" of the Navajo people.
It was the deadliest workplace accident in New York City’s history.
Engineered by William Barclay Parsons, the 21-mile, four-track route of the New York City Subway was the largest public works project in history.