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.
Begun during the Civil War, the transcontinental railroad employed 20,000 men, mostly immigrants, who built the iron road with their bare hands.
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.
While the U.N. debated strategies for control of atomic energy, the U.S. Navy was preparing for nuclear tests on Bikini Island.
"The Wizard of Menlo Park," Inventor Thomas Edison, built the first practical light bulb and revolutionized the world.
It was the largest fire in American history: by the time it was all over, more than three million acres had burned and at least 78 firefighters were dead.
Major Walter Reed's discovery in 1900 that mosquitoes spread yellow fever halted an outbreak and led to the disease's eventual eradication.
Originally settled as a mail stop, Las Vegas changed from an Old West vacation town, to a mafia haven, to the "Atomic City" and "Sin City."
The Klondike Gold Rush in Canada's Yukon Territory saw 100,000 people make the treacherous journey in search of riches.