Press Release: April 7, 2011
National Archives at Kansas City
Author Walter Borneman to Discuss Rival Rails: The Race to Build America’s Greatest Transcontinental Railroad at the National Archives
For More Information Contact:
Kimberlee Ried, 816-268-8072
Kansas City, (MO)…The National Archives at Kansas City will host author Walter Borneman, on Thursday, April 21, at 6:30 p.m. for a discussion of his book Rival Rails: The Race to Build America’s Greatest Transcontinental Railroad Borneman will be available to sign copies of his book after the discussion. A 6:00 p.m. reception will precede the event.
Before the Civil War the most logical route for the planned transcontinental railroad was across the southern Plains and the Southwest. For reasons more political than economic, the more northerly route was selected, and the two strands were joined at Promontory Point, Utah, in 1868. Thus the competition began for the rights to build a web of lines across the southern route.
Few time periods in American history are as exciting or capture the imagination as grippingly as the time of Western Expansion. In the 1860s, Americans, just coming out of the trauma of a bloody civil war, were keen to tie the country together—literally and figuratively. After the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869, the notion of a single rail line crossing the continent and connecting the two coasts vanished on the prairie winds. The rest of the country was up for grabs and the race was on. The prize? A better, shorter, less snowy route through the corridors of the American Southwest, linking the growing cities of Los Angeles and Chicago.
About the author
Walter Borneman has undergraduate and graduate degrees in history from Western State College of Colorado (1974, 1975) and wrote his master’s thesis on a town characteristic of the western mining frontier. Borneman received his law degree from the University of Denver (1981) and his practice frequently involved historic preservation issues. From 1982-85, he represented the Colorado Historical Society in the reconstruction of the Georgetown Loop Mining and Railroading Park in one of the West’s premiere national historic landmark districts. Currently, he is the president of the Walter V. and Idun Y. Berry Foundation, which funds post-doctoral fellowships in children’s health at Stanford University. His other books include Alaska: Saga of a Bold Land, 1812: The War That Forged a Nation, 14,000 Feet: A Celebration of Colorado’s Highest Mountains, The French and Indian War: Deciding the Fate of North America, and Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America.
Copies of Rival Rails: The Race to Build America’s Greatest Transcontinental Railroad will be available for purchase via the Kansas City Store onsite. For more information or to make a reservation for this free event call 816-268-8010 or email email@example.com.
The National Archives at Kansas City is one of 13 facilities nationwide where the public has access to Federal archival records. It is home to more than 50,000 cubic feet of historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by nearly 100 Federal agencies. Serving the Central Plains Region, the archives holds records from the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The facility is located at 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108. It is open to the public Tuesday - Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for research, with the exhibits open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit us online.
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