Railroads & Clearcuts
Chronology of the Northern Pacific
& Related Land Grant Railroads
July 24, 2001 version
compiled by George Draffan, Endgame.org
References cited correspond to the author's Bibliography on Railroad Land Grants
History isn't dead; it's not even past.
-- William Faulkner
Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory.
-- John Kenneth Galbraith
The land, the earth God gave man for his home, sustenance, and support,
-- Abraham Lincoln, US President during the largest of the railroad land grants
1830 There were 23 miles of railroad in the U.S.
1850 U.S. Senator Stephen Douglas arranges a checkerboard compromise to create the first federal land grant railroad, the Illinois Central. Illinois Central Railroad attorney Abraham Lincoln will soon challenge Stephen Douglas for political office, and, with the Illinois Central's help, will eventually be elected president of the United States, from which office he will sign the largest of the railroad land grants into law.
1850 Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, "the Granger Road," was formed with a 2.8 million acre grant. Between 1870 and 1880, Burlington sold two million acres to 20,000 people in Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska.
1854 Minnesota & Northwest Railroad charter and grant. Fraud and bribery caused the grant to be cancelled; the railroad was renamed Minnesota & Pacific, then the St Paul & Pacific, and eventually the Great Northern. See this chronology's 1857, 1862, 1879, and 1885 entries.
1857 Minnesota & Northwest rechartered Minnesota & Pacific. Granted five million acres and several million dollars in Minnesota state bonds. Built only 10 miles of railroad. Insolvency led to foreclosure in 1860. Reorganized into the St. Paul & Pacific and the First Division, escaping debts but not relinquishing grants or franchise rights. Increased grant to ten sections per mile. Mortgaged railroad and grants to Dutch capitalists for $13 million. Some $8 million was siphoned to phony construction. Renamed the Great Northern in 1885-1889.
For a history of stock manipulation and bribery of the Minnesota legislature by Russell Sage and James Hill, see Gustavus Myers, 1936. For grants, See Rae (1952) and Gates (1968, p. 362). For grants and construction, see Yenne (1991, p.56). See also this chronology's 1862 and 1879, and 1889 entries.
1860 There are 30,000 miles of railroad in the U.S.
1860 Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln spent $100,000, twice as much as opponent Stephen Douglas (Charles Lewis and the Center for Public Integrity, The Buying of the President, Avon Books, 1996, p. 17, citing Louise Overacker, Money in Elections, Macmillan, 1932, p. 71n). Lincoln had been a lawyer for railroads, including the Illinois Central, which had received a land grant with Douglas' support. In 1860, Lincoln and his friend Norman B. Judd, attorney for the Rock Island Railroad, arranged to give discount rates to anyone who woul d come to Chicago for the Republican national convention (Lewis, p. 17, citing Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairire Years, p. 244). Railroad officials joined Lincoln's administration, and Lincoln granted more land to railroads than any other president (Lewis, p. 17, citing Philip H. Burch, Jr., Elites in American History, Holmes & Meier, 1980, p. 6-7).
1862 Lincoln signed the first Pacific Railway bill. The Union Pacific-Central Pacific land grant (12 Stat. 489, Ch. 120, July 1, 1862), amended in 1864 (13 Stat. 356, Ch. 216, July 2, 1864), resulted in the Credit Mobilier scandal. The Union Pacific got more than eleven million acres and $27 million in bonds; the Central Pacific got eight million acres and $24 million in bonds.
1862 St. Paul & Pacific incorporated (Minnesota state grants in 1857 and 1862 gave ten sections per mile of track, for a total of 3,256,790 acres).
1864 Pacific Railroad Act doubled the CP and UP land grants from 10 to 20 miles of alternating sections for each mile of road built, and arranged for earlier release of federal loans of $32,000 to $48,000 per mile of road (Time-Life, The Railroaders, p. 68).
1864 Lincoln signs Northern Pacific land grant (July 2, 1864, Ch. 217, 13 Stat. 365).
1865 Southern Pacific chartered to build from San Francisco to Los Angeles and San Diego. SP acquired by Central Pacific's Big Four in 1868.
1866 NP construction deadline extended (May 7, 1866 time extension to July 4, 1978).
1867 December. The Union Pacific's Credit Mobilier construction company, the stock of which had been distributed among Congressmen ("where it would do us the most good," according to U.S. Rep. Oakes Ames), paid its first dividend -- of one hundred percent. In the ensuing scandal, many politicans were implicated -- including James Garfield, Schuyler Colfax, and others who were also involved in the Northern Pacific Railroad (Stewart Holbrook, The Story of the American Railroads, p. 171).
1868. NP franchise given to eastern financiers.
1868 NP construction deadline extended (July 1, 1868 time extension to July 4, 1879).
1868 Central Pacific Railroad's big four (Huntington, Stanford, Crocker, Hopkins) acquired the Southern Pacific Railroad. In 1885, the CP became the SP. SP's original charter called or a railroad from San francisco to southern California to Arizona, but the SP pushed to New Orleans by 1883 (Time-Life, The Railroaders, p. 117, 123).
1869 Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads - the first transcontinental - completed with the golden spike in Utah.
1869. Summer. Survey party returns preliminary report which estimates construction will cost $85 million, while value of land grants will be four times greater.
1870s In 1870, George Armstrong Custer fought Southern Plains Indians for resisting railroads; in 1873 the War Dept., at NP's request, served as protection for railroad survey party in Yellowstone (Brown, 1977, p. 200ff).
1870 NP land grant modified by Joint Resolution 67 of May 31, 1870 (16 Stat. 378), granting additional lands and allowing the sale of mortgage bonds; in 1870-1871 Jay Cooke sold $80 million worth of them. By 1872 the NP owed Cooke $1.5 million; the next year Cooke collapsed.
1870 There are 53,000 miles of railroad in the U.S.
1870 NP construction began at Thomsons Junction (Duluth) MN and Kalama, WA.
1870 St Paul & Pacific's First Division purchased by NP.
1871 St Paul & Pacific completes 283 miles.
1871 NP bonds in London; see Northern Pacific, 1871 in Bibliography.
1871 NP and the U.S. fight timber poaching on federal lands. NP paid federal timber agent Tuttle to help arrest poachers -- those who cut federal timber illegally -- because it feared it would lose its odd-numbered checkerboards as well. NP attorney Hazard Stevens, the son of the Territorial Governor, also seized logs cut on federal land -- some three million board feet, or 20 percent of the cut. U.S. attorney L. Holmes assigned a deputy to Stevens, and gave NP blank subpoenas. Eventually NP was SELLING federal timber; for $100 a 50 cents per thousand board feet, a person could cut federal timber without interference from Stevens. The U.S. General land Office finally stepped in in June 1873, and accused Stevens of stealing from the government and the railroad. Stevens was not charged, but NP fired him. See Ficken, 1987, p.40,44-47. See also Steen, 1969 (p.46-47) on NP fraud.
1873 Farmers' Anti-Monopoly Convention in Des Moines stated that "all corporations are subject to legislative control; [such control] should be at all times so used as to prevent moneyed corporations from becoming engines of oppression" (Grossman and Adams, Taking Care of Business, p. 18, citing Martin, History of the Grange Movement, p. 513).
The Grangers and the Populist Movement:
By 1875, there were 800,000 members in 20,000 local Granges (John F. Stover, American Railroads, p. 127). During the 1877 depression, the first Farmers Alliance was formed in Texas; unlike the more conservative Grangers, the Alliances created cooperatives and other alternatives to escape crop-liens, indebtedness, and corporate domination of their economy. By 1886, there were 100,000 farmers in 2,000 Alliances. By 1887, 200,000 farmers had formed 3,000 Alliances; by 1889, there were 400,000 members in the National Farmers Alliance that sought political as well as economic reforms. But by 1896, the Populists had been "enticed" into the Democratic party, and even though William Jennings Bryan was being funded by Anaconda Copper, Hearst, and other corporations, big business and the press supported McKinley, in the first big-money election; Bryan received 6.5 million votes, while McKinley received 7.1 million (White, It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own: A History of the American West, p. 370-377; and Zinn, A People's History of the United States, p. 279-280, 288-289).
In 1892, with conservative Grover Cleveland's entry to the White House, Henry Clay Frick wrote to his boss Andrew Carnegie "I cannot see that our interests are going to be affected one way or the other by the change in administration." (Carl Degler, The Age of the Economic Revolution 1876-1900 (Scott, Foresman, 1967, p. 129). Though earlier that summer, there had been a deadly battle between striking steel workers and Pinkerton agents hired by Frick to secure Carnegie's Homestead, Pennsylvania steel plant. See Leon Wolff, Lockout: The Story of the Homestead Strike of 1892 and U.S. House of Representatives, Employment of Pinkerton Detectives, 52d Cong., 2d Sess., Report No. 2447, Washington, D.C., 1893).
1873 NP completes Duluth to Bismarck.
1873 NP completes Kalama to Tacoma.
1873 Panic of 1873, precipitated by the failure of NP bonds being sold by Jay Cooke. Construction of the NP stopped. NP lost the St. Paul & Pacific to GN.
1873 St. Paul & Pacific goes into receivership and foreclosure.
1874 NP defaulted on bond interest.
1874 Windom Senate Committee on railroad abuses.
1874 Granger legislation in Iowa and Wisconsin.
1875 NP, in receivership, is reorganized. A bondholders' committee purchases NP at foreclosure sale, and the property is reconveyed to the company. By court order, the grant land, being mostly unpatented, was not sold, as was required in the May 31, 1870 resolution amending the grant (U.S. Bur Corps, 1913-14, Part 1, p.235).
1876 U.S. Supreme Court rules breaches of land grants don't automatically return land to government (Schulenberg v. Harriman, 21 Wallace 44).
1876 In Munn v. Illinois, 94 U.S. 114 (1876), the U.S. Supreme Court approved state regulation of corporations with a public interest, in this case, the rates grain elevators charged to farmers, writing that "[property] clothed with the public interest, when used in a manner to make it of public consequence... must submit to be controlled by the public for the common good..." and ruled that the reasonableness of rates is a legislative, and not a judicial, question
Justice Stephen J. Field dissented, aghast at the thought that "if this be sound law... all property and all business in the state are held at the mercy of the majority of its legislature." Field's minority opinion, which first enunciated the view that the 14th Amendment's due process clause should protect private business from state regulation, soon prevailed in the 1886 Santa Clara case, which actually declared that corporations were persons protected under the Constitution (Samuel P. Hays, The Response to Industrialism 1885-1914, p. 159). And in 1886, the state "Granger" laws were struck down, in Wabash v. Illinois.
1876 NP builds from Tacoma to Wilkeson coal fields (completed 1877).
1876 U.S. Army General George Armstrong Custer, guarding railroad survey and construction crews, is killed at the battle of the Little Big Horn (Brown, 1978).
1877 railroad strikes - "the Year of Violence."
1878 NP leased Western railroad (Brainerd to Sauk Rapids) for 99 years
1878 Washington Territory constitutional convention drafts anti-railroad section (Steen, 1969, p.63, citing Keith A. Murray's 1940 MA thesis, p.114, and Airey, p.403). The State constitution as "adopted in 1889 contained mechanism for railroad regulation, but left it up to the legislature to decide just what was needed" (Steen, p.63. Pages 90-93 further discusses early attempts at railroad legislation in Washington).
1879 Canada gave the Canadian Pacific Railway $25 million in cash and 25 million acres of land (Greever, 1951, p. 86; a total of 56 million acres were granted to Canadian land grant railroads; CP relinquished 6.8 million acres to pay a debt, and other railroads forfeited 17.5 million acres for failure to build; the shorter lines were consolidated into the Canadian National Railways system).
1879 St. Paul & Pacific's Dutch bonds are bought by JJ Hill, Hudson Bay, et al. The bankrupt railroad is renamed the St. Paul, Minneapolis, & Manitoba. Purchased for $6,780,000, Hill sold the grant land alone for $13 million (Holbrook, 1953, p.192). The "Manitoba" came in when Hill built a connection with the Canadian Pacific to get 2.6 million acres further grant lands (Minn. Gov. signed Jan 9, 1879).
1879 December 15. Judge Sawyer rules against settler's league, leading to the Mussel Slough massacre on May 11, 1880.
1880s Missoula-based firm Eddy, Hammond & Co. handled timber contracts for NP, and, with NP and Marcus Daly, formed the Montana Improvement Co. to supply local rail and mining operations. Somers Lumber Co., near Kalispell, was a GN subsidiary (Malone, Roeder, and Lang, 1991, p.332).
1880s The Northwestern Improvement Company, a Northern Pacific subsidiary, was indicted for theft of public timber in Washington; it had logged far from its railroad right-of-way, and had even set up swamills on public land. It faced federal suits for several hundred thousand dollars, but witnesses were hard to find because locals usually favored local industry (Steen, 1969, p.46-47, citing USDI Reports, 1885, Serial 2378, p.232-234, and 1886, Serial 2468, p.102,441).
The NP itself was indicted in Olympia, Washington for collecting stumpage in advance for timber cut from "its" land (Steen, 1969, p.47, citing Fairweather, 1919, p.96-99).
1880s-1890s NP had coal mines around Bozeman Pass in the 1880s; by the 1890s, NP subsidiary Northwest Improvement Co. was replacing the Bozeman Pass mines with mines around Red Lodge; by the 1920s, they were open pit mines. GN was also mining coal by the 1880s, at Great Falls (Malone, Roeder, and Lang, 1991, p.337-338).
1880 May 11. Mussel Slough battle near Visalia, California in which five settlers and two Southern Pacific Railroad agents were killed. The court decision which led to the battle had been written by the railroad-shareholding Ninth Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Sawyer, who wrote several decisions granting unlimited privileges to corporations. Orton, 32 F. 457 (C.C.D. Cal. 1879), published in connection with Southern Pacific R.R. v. Poole, 32 F. 451 (C.C.N.D. Cal. 1887), was one of several cases involving Sawyer and the Southern Pacific Railroad; see also the 1882 San Mateo and 1886 Santa Clara cases; and David J. Bederman, The Imagery of Injustice at Mussel Slough: Railroad Land Grants, Corporation Law, and the "Great Conglomerate West," Western Legal History, Summer/Fall 1988 1(2): 258.
1880 There are 93,000 miles railroad in the U.S.
1880 NP reaches Yellowstone River in Montana.
1880 Drexel, Morgan & Co. participated in a banker's syndicate which raised $40 million in bonds for the "badly battered" Northern Pacific (Josephson, 1934, p.291-292).
1880-1881 Villard gains control of NP by buying stock, to prevent it from competing with his O&C, Oregon Central, Oregon Steamship, and Kansas Pacific businesses (Hedges, 1924 and 1930; Whitesmith, 1931).
1881 St Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba completes 600 miles.
1881 NP Dakota Territory branch lines completed.
1881 Hill bought Minneapolis & St Cloud (along with ten sections of land grant per mile) (Yenne, 1991, p.60).
1882 In the San Mateo Railroad Tax Case, U.S. Ninth Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Sawyer declared corporations to be persons; Judge Field was also involved (County of San Mateo v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 13 F. 722 (C.C.D. Cal. 1882). See David J. Bederman, The Imagery of Injustice at Mussel Slough: Railroad Land Grants, Corporation Law, and the "Great Conglomerate West," Western Legal History, Summer/Fall 1988 1(2): 258). See the 1886 Santa Clara decision.
1882 NP held 7.7 million acres in Washington Territory; two million of it was commercial timberland (Ficken, 1987, p.45).
1882 Hill became president of St Paul, Minneapolis.
188? Hill gets Reservation Act (prohibiting railroads crossing reservations) changed so railroad can cross Montana.
1882 St Paul, Minneapolis completes 1,058 miles.
1882 NP reaches Big Horn River.
1882 NP completes Wallula to Lake Pend d Oreille.
1883 Southern Pacific construction completed.
1883 Northern Pacific transcontinental railroad construction completed at Gold Creek, Montana, on September 8; the last spike (the same steel spike used as the first, at Carletin, Minnesota, in 1870) was driven by Henry Villard and former U.S. President Grant (Yenne, 1981, p.38).
1883 NP completes Wallula-Tacoma-Portland. The U.S. Division of Forestry warns that lumbermen were "transferring operations from the nearly exhausted pineries of the lakes and upper Mississippi to the fir forests beyond the Rocky Mountains" (Division of Forestry Report, 1883, pp. 447-448).
1883 St Paul, Minneapolis completes 1,350 miles.
1884 Villard resigns as NP president over increasing bond debt and fall in stock value.
1884 NP completes 2,453 miles (including 478 miles of branches).
1884-1890. Between 1884 and 1887, Congress reclaimed 28 million acres not earned by five unfinished railroads; in 1887 Interior Secretary Lamar revoked lieu land withdrawals and restored 21 million acres to public entry; in 1890 the general forfeiture act recovered 5.6 million acres (Greever, 1951, p. 84).
1885 St Paul, Minneapolis completes 1,470 miles.
1885 Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe construction completed.
1885 U.S. General Lands Office Commissioner William Sparks and his timber agent Haley accuse the Montana Improvement Company (aka Anaconda and Northern Pacific) with cutting 45 million board feet from public lands, but the proceedings were dropped when the federal funds allocated to the case were exhausted (Rae, 1938, p. 17, citing GLO Annual Reports, 1885, pp. 311-312 and 1887, p. 83). The MIC was replaced by the Big Blackfoot Milling Company in 1891 (Toole and Butcher, 1968, p. 354, 356, and 357, citing Land Office Reports and the Helena Independent Weekly).
1886 U.S. Senate "Cullom" Committee on railroad abuses (leads to Interstate Commerce Act).
"The [Interstate Commerce] Commission, as its functions have now been limited by the courts, is, or can be made of great use to the railroads. It satisfies the popular clamor for a government supervision of railroads, at the same time that the supervision is almost entirely nominal. Further, the older such a commission gets to be, the more inclined it will be found to take the business and railroad view of things. It thus becomes a sort of barrier between railroad corporations and the people and a sort of protection against hasty and crude legislation hostile to railroad interests... The part of wisdom is not to destroy the Commission but to utilize it" (U.S. Attorney General Richard Olney, in an 1892 letter to his friend Charles E. Perkins, president of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad; quoted in Robert Fellmeth's The Interstate Commerce Omission: The Public Interest and the ICC, Grossman Publishers, 1970, p. xiv-xv).
1886 GN obtains Montana Central.
1886 "The court does not wish to hear argument on the question of whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a state to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does." With that, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down local taxes on railroad property--and declared that corporations were persons; Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, 118 U.S. 394, 396 (1886)).
Sixty years later, Justice William O. Douglas stated that "there was no history, logic or reason given to support that view" (Grossman and Adams, Taking Care of Business, p. 20, citing Douglas in Wheeling Steel Corporation v. Glander, 337 U.S. 562, 1949).
There were, however, the facts that U.S. Ninth Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Sawyer was a shareholder in the Central Pacific Railroad, and that he and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Field were close friends of Leland Stanford and other parties involved. "Sawyer was uniquely placed to expand the rights and prerogatives of corporations," that "what is extraordinary is the extent to which Sawyer used unorthodox techniques of statutory interpretation and judicial review in granting the corporation additional powers... [Sawyer's decisions] "served as an avenue for the expansion of a corporate construction of economic life, the judicial approval of vast aggregations of wealth and power, and the subordination of the public trust under public utilities" (David J. Bederman, The Imagery of Injustice at Mussel Slough: Railroad Land Grants, Corporation Law, and the "Great Conglomerate West," Western Legal History, Summer/Fall 1988 1(2): 257-269, citing Shuck, Bench and Bar in California. See also David C. Frederick, Railroads, Robber Barons, and the Saving of Stanford University, Western Legal History, Summer/Fall 1991, 4(2): p. 229, note 20, and p. 253, note 132, citing Swisher, Stephen J. Field: Craftsman of the Law, p. 265; and Charles McCurdy's "Justice Field and the Jurisprudence of Government-Business Relations: Some Parameters of Laissez Faire Constitutionalism, 1863-1897" in Friedman, Lawrence and Harry N. Scheiber, eds. American Law and the Constitutional Order: Historical Perspectives. Harvard University Press, 1988).
"... of the Fourteenth Amendment cases brought before the Supreme Court between 1890 and 1910, nineteen dealt with the Negro, 288 dealt with corporations" (Zinn, A People's History of the United States, p. 255).
1886 In Wabash v. Illinois, the Supreme Court struck down state Granger laws regulating railroad rates charged to farmers, declaring that interstate commerce could only be regulated by the federal government. In 1886 alone, the Court struck down 230 state laws passed to regulate corporations (Zinn, A People's History of the United States, p. 255).
1887 U.S. Pacific Railway Commission investigates Central and Southern Pacific (50th Cong., 1st Sess., Exec. Doc. 51).
1887 The first U.S. regulatory agency, the Interstate Commerce Commission, was created to regulate a "natural" monopoly -- the railroads.
1887 GN completes Great Falls to Helena.
1887-1888 NP crosses Cascades.
1887-1888 NP sells 80,000 acres in Washington to the St. Paul & Tacoma Lumber Co. The "St. Paul railroad and timber crowd that moved west in 1888 with the construction of the Northern Pacific" included C.H. Jones; P.D. Norton of the Weyerhaeuser-related Laird Norton; Addison G. Foster, who was soon a U.S. Senator from Washington State and fought to reduce the Olympic Forest Reserve; Chauncy Griggs, partner of Hill and vice president of the St. Paul and Tacoma Lumber Company (Lien, 1991, p.20); and Henry Hewitt Jr., who in 1890 founded the town of Everett, Washington with John D. Rockefeller, because of Northern Pacific's arrival, and established mills at Port Gardner (Ficken, 1987, p. 59, 61, 101; Steen, 1969, p.62, citing Cox, 1937, p.5).
1888 GN reaches Butte, Montana.
1889 Minneapolis & St. Cloud was renamed the Great Northern Railway. In 1890, Great Northern took over the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba (Yenne, 1991, p.62ff). The prevalent claim that GN was the only transcontinental built without federal aid is not true. Most of the lines that went into the GN system got State and/or federal grants: the Minneapolis & St. Cloud; the St. Paul & Pacific (1862 grant of 3.3 million acres); and the St. Paul, Minnesota & Manitoba (1879 grant of 2.6 million acres). See John B. Rae's "The Great Northern's Land Grant" in the Journal of Economic History, 12 (Spring 1952), p. 140-145; Paul Gates (1968, p.362); Mercer (1982, p.56), and the Great Northern entry in our Profiles section.
1889 Sherman Anti-Trust Act.
1890 GN completes 3,260 miles.
1890 There were 164,000 miles of railroad in U.S.
1890 General railroad land grant forfeiture statute (26 Stat. 496). Eleven railroads forfeited 5.6 million acres, including Southern Pacific (1,075,200 acres) and Northern Pacific (2,000,000 acres). See Ellis, 1946, p.54-55, who cites U.S. House Reports, 52d Cong., 1st Sess., No. 1426.
1890 Weyerhaeuser, Musser, Laird Norton, and Denkmann buy 212,722 acres in eight Minnesota counties from the Northern Pacific railroad for $452,330 (Hidy, Hill, and Nevins, 1963, p.105-106). The Pine Tree Lumber Co. was created; its debt was paid off by 1899; over the next five years, Pine Tree paid 120 percent in dividends and was cutting 70 to 93 million board feet per year. By 1922, Pine Tree had paid stockholders $11.5 million; Fred Weyerhaeuser had 11 percent of the stock (Hidy, Hill, and Nevins, 1963, p.182, 186). Yet Pine Tree forfeited cutover lands to avoid paying taxes (Hidy, Hill, and Nevins, 1963, p.148-149).
1891 GN issues orders to vacate farmers, some of whom had been there for 20 years, from 65,000 acres of Red River Dakota lands that were to be granted to the Manitoba Railroad (one of GN's predecessors). The U.S. Supreme Court agreed. Congress passed an act to allow GN to select federal land in lieu; Hill picked timberland in Montana, Idaho, and Washington that had been picked out while on tour with Weyerhaeuser (Holbrook, 1955, p.145-146).
1891 Creative Act authorized forest reserves: Yellowstone was the first in 1892; 14 more (inlcuding the Pacific Forest Reserve) were created in 1893, for a total of about 14 million acres; in 1897 21 million acres were added by Cleveland, which McKinley suspended (C. Raines, pers. comm., and Hidy, Hill & Nevins, p. 291).
1891 March 3. "Between March 1, 1898, and May 15, 1924, 1,103,424 acres in the first indemnity limits, under the 1864 grant, and 961,992 acres in the second indemnity limits of the same grant, were withdrawn and placed in national forests and other Government reservations. During the same period 155,727 acres from the first indemnity limits of the grant of 1870, and 213,001 acres from the second indemnity limits laid down under that grant, were withdrawn for the same purposes. This action was taken, in the main, pursuant to an Act of March 3, 1891 [28 Stat.1095, 1103] (U.S. v. NP, 311 U.S. 270, 1940). See 1939 entry for eventual decision to compensate NP for the loss of 1,453,061 acres.
1893 February 20. Pacific Forest Reserve.
1893 A West Coast Lumberman article (April 1893, p.16, cited by Steen, 1969, p.119) stated that "about a year ago Peter Musser, Frederick Weyerhouser [sic] and others bought a tract of fine timber land in Oregon, containing 850,000 acres", with a land company incorporated in Iowa and capitalized at $2 million. In Feb. 1897, the West Coast Lumberman reported (p.153) that Weyerhaeuser had 264 mills and 24,825,624 acres in Oregon and Washington and 72,843,729 acres "in the white pine and yellow pine districts." As Steen understates, "these estimates are, of course, patently absurd and should have been recognized as such... [and] can be viewed either as irresponsible reporting or blinding awe of the Weyerhaeuser name" (Steen, 1969 p.120).
1893 Great Northern transcontinental railroad completed (St. Paul MN to Everett WA).
1893 Santa Fe goes into receivership.
1893 Union Pacific goes into receivership.
1893 NP, now composed of 54 railroads, goes into receivership again. Reorganized as the NP Railway Co. in 1896.
1894 American Railway Union strikes, Coxey's Army of the unemployed, and other widespread unrest following the panic of 1893. William Hogan and 500 followers broke into the Northern Pacific's Butte, Montana roundhouse and commandeered a train. U.S. Army troops seized them; trial was held in Helena. But support for strikers was widespread; Washington State militias refused to board an NP train manned by a non-ARU crew (Schwantes; and W.T. White, 1984, p.14, 15).
1894 Barden v. NP (154 U.S. 288, 1894) rules against NP patenting of mineral lands in Montana.
1894 Pullman strike
1894 Hill and Morgan obtain backing of NP principals and London investors to combine NP and GN. They get half the NP stock and a majority of the board of directors. GN stockholder Thomas W. Peterson sues against the merger.
1896 Minnesota Supreme Court held the consolidation of parallel and "competing" railroads (GN and NP) to be illegal (Pearsall V. GN, 161 U.S. 646), so they are set up with joint ownership by individuals instead of by a corporation.
1896 September 1. J.P. Morgan refinances NP with 100- and 150-year bonds; the NP estate was listed as worth $241 million; Morgan received $44 million on the deal (1924-1928 NP Land Grants Hearings, p. 3013). Morgan's bonds used grant land as collateral; these liens on the development of the grant lands were removed in 1988.
Bankrupt NP Railroad sells lands to NP Railway; Railroad ceases to exist; Railway becomes holding company.
"At the 1896 foreclosure of later mortgages, all patented lands were so sold [though not in "small tracts" of 160 acres, as required by the May 31, 1870 land grant amendment], but the new railway company was reported in every instance the highest bidder." At least one claim brought by a settler on these lands was lost (Heath v. NP, 38 L.D., 770 and "it is established by many court decisions that Congress alone, rather than individual settlers, would have the right to challenge the railroad company for nonperformance of the condition" (U.S. Bur Corps, 1913-14, Part 1, p.235-236).
See October 1897 entry for land transfer to Morgan's Walter Horn.
1896-1900 NP continues branch line construction.
1897 Under threat of foreclosure, NP offers Morgan all its lands for $1.75 million.
1897 February 22. Cleveland signs proclamation creating the Forest Reserves, effective March 1, 1898; the Pacific Forest Reserve is reformed into a Rainier Forest Reserve of 2.5 million acres; of which the Northern Pacific owned nearly half. McKinley then signed the Pettigrew Amendment as an appropriations rider, suspending the establishment of six Western forest reserves for a year, in order to let Timber and Stone claims to be made; this authorized the Forest Reserves to sell timber and stone, use water for mining, milling, irrigation, etc., and providing in lieu lands for inholders McKinley (C. Raines, pers. comm, May 1995).
A January 1907 Cosmopolitan Magazine article by Charles Norcross claimed that Interior Secretary Cornelius Bliss, who urged the amendment, "was then, as always, a corporation and railroad man. Allison, Hill, and Gorman were the senators on the committee that passed the bill. It has been charged, and circumstances lend plausibility to the charge, that the scheme was concocted in the land office of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company in St. Paul, and for the benefit of the Weyerhaeuser interests." Norcross (p. 258) shows railroads that had grant lands within national forest reservations: Santa Fe (1,368,960 acres), Southern Pacific (543,000 acres), and Northern Pacific (1,401,000).
HHN (p.293) also discusses the benefits Northern Pacific and Weyerhaeuser received from the Pettigrew Amendment.
Mount Rainier Park Act & amendments create Mt. Rainier National Park and Rainier National Forest from the Pacific Forest Reserve. NP traded 450,000 acres of worthless land for 444,159 acres of timberland in OR, WA, ID, MT, ND, MN, and WI (U.S. Bur. Corps, Part 1, p.237-239).
1897 October. Morgan's Walter B. Horn received 3,075,346 acres and transferred it to NP's Northwest Improvement Company (1924-1928 NP Land grants Hearings, p. 3416-3418).
1898 GN completes Washington state feeder lines (east and west sides: Seattle to New Westminster, BC; Spokane Falls to Nelson, BC; Northport to Rossland, BC)
1898 Weyerhaeuser establishes the Coast Lumber Co. to market shingles to the Midwest (Ficken, 1987, p.93).
1899 Rockefeller acquires Anaconda Copper mines, renamed Amalgamated Copper.
1899 NP sells timber in Montana to Big Blackfoot Milling Co. (U.S. Bur. Corps, Part 1, p.201-202).
1899 Weyerhaeuser establishes the Sound Timber Company with 45,000 acres on northern Puget Sound (Ficken, 1987, p.93). Weyerhaeuser associate Humbird was operating the Victoria Lumber & Manufacturing Co. on Vancouver Island (Ficken, 1987, p.248).
1899 March 2. Mount Rainier Park Act creates the park as subset of the Forest Reserve. The Northern Pacific traded worthless land for good land in OR, WA, ID, MT, ND, MN, and WI.
1899 December - January 1900. Northern Pacific sells Washington timberland to Weyerhaeuser.
In the summer of 1899, Weyerhaeuser offered NP $5 an acre for a million acres. The final deal called for $6 an acre for 900,000 acres west of the Cascades, and a fifteen-year monopoly on rail transportation of Weyerhaeuser lumber. Most of the land was in southwest Washington; a quarter of it had never been surveyed (Ficken, 1987, p.95,97). Weyerhaeuser made the down payment of $3 million on January 3, 1900. The rest was to be paid in eight semi-annual payments of $300,000. A third of the $5.4 million price came from Frederick Weyerhaeuser, the rest from a dozen investors. Thirty percent of the stock was owned by Weyerhaeuser, 20 percent by Laird, Norton & Co., the rest by O.H. Ingram, Robert L. McCormick, Sumner T. McKnight, and others (Ficken, 1987, p.95-99). Previous to this sale, NP had never sold more than 600,000 acres in a year in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho combined (Ficken, 1987, p.248). By March 1900, Weyerhaeuser manager George S. Long's office was in the NP building in Tacoma (Ficken, 1987, p.96). G.S. Long immediately began acquiring the even sections "to clean up the... ownership", and had purchased some 1.5 billion board feet by the end of 1900 (Ficken, 1987, p.98). Despite selling 19,000 acres of the land between June 1900 and mid-1903 to small mills to reassure them of a supply of timber (Ficken, 1987, p.97), company records show Long advising Weyerhaeuser that the big firms should "continue the policy of adding to their holdings... and thus bring about at an earlier date the time when they can control the market conditions" (Ficken, 1987, p.99).
Hidy, Hill & Nevin's version:
The Northern Pacific railroad sells a million acres of forestland along its Seattle & North branch (Anacortes to Hamilton) in Washington to Frederick Weyerhaeuser and 15 investors, with an implied obligation to NP to produce lumber as freight. Weyerhaeuser began purchasing more land to fill in the railroad land grant checkerboards (HHN p.222). The purchase price was $5.4 million ($3 million down, rest over eight years at five percent interest, to total $6.5 million). Weyerhaeuser and Denkmann at $1.8 million, Laird Norton at $1.2 million, rest by others. In 1912 the U.S. Bureau of Corporations estimated the purchase price to have been ten cents per thousand board feet for some 17 billion board feet; this was an underestimate (HHN p.213, and p.226 at note 29). [The underestimate was considerable, since many species, like hemlock, were considered at the time to be worthless].
1900 J.J. Hill forms the Great Northern Steamship Company, capitalized at $6 million, to run from Seattle to Yokohama and Hong Kong; he envisioned traffic in lumber, wheat, and cotton. See Best, 1973.
1900 There were 193,000 miles railroad in the U.S.
1900 GN is composed of fifteen railroad's operating over 5,000 miles.
1901 NP and GN jointly acquire 97 percent of the CB&Q (the Burlington), gaining access to Chicago, Omaha, and St. Louis. The cost of $108 million was financed by the issuance of bonds (Holbrook, Moguls; Macfarlane, 1953).
1901 Hill and Morgan, fighting E.H. Harriman for control of the Northern Pacific, create a holding company (Northern Securities) for the NP, GN, and CB&Q, so that no one can buy control of $400 million conglomerate.
1902 Minnesota (and then U.S.) sued Northern Securities for violation of Sherman Anti-Trust.
1902 Weyerhaeuser buys the Bell-Nelson Lumber Co. in Everett in January (Ficken, 1987, p.99).
1903 Elkins Act to strengthen prohibition of rebates.
1904 U.S. Supreme Court rules Northern Securities to be in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and orders it dissolved (Northern Securities v. U.S., 193 U.S. 197). "I have not yet read the complete decision," Hill said, "but I wish to say that the three roads are still there, and there they will remain, despite the learned jurists of the Supreme Court of the United States. The properties are as good as ever, and they will continue to make money for their stockholders" (Yenne, 1981, p.74). The shareholders of each railroad are given a share of the other railroads' stock. "Two certificates of stock are now issued instead of one. They are printed in different colors. That is the main difference," remarked Hill (Holbrook, 1955, p.144). To separate, NP and GN put a wall down the middle of their St. Paul offices.
1905 NP and GN create the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway.
1906 Lake Superior Co. shares gifted to GN, part of a series of transactions where GN bought cutover Wright & Davis timberland in the Mesabi Range in Minnesota, and leased it to U.S. Steel. GN carried some 26 million tons of iron ore for $45 million (Holbrook, 1955, p.146).
1906 Hepburn Act increases power of ICC, allowing it to set maximum rates. Prohibits railroads from hauling commodities in which they have an interest (but courts ruled that holding companies owning railroads and coal mining could haul the coal on the railroad - U.S. v Delaware & Hudson, 213 U.S. 366, 1913).
1906 NP selected indemnity lands withdrawn for Gallatin National Forest: the U.S. sues when NP refuses to return them.
1907. Mount Rainier Forest Reserve expanded (C. Raines, pers. comm. May 1995).
1907 NP sells Montana forestland to Amalgamated (Anaconda) Copper. See U.S. Bureau of Corporations, 1913-1914, Part 1, p.18,234,241; and Schwennesen, July 21, 1993.
The contract with Anaconda's Marcus Daly included 967,309 acres; the price agreed on for timber was 50 cents per acre and 50 cents per thousand board feet (1924-1928 Northern Pacific Land Grants Hearings, p. 3416; the contract text is printed at p. 3553).
In 1972, Anaconda sold 670,000 acres of this land to Champion International (Malone, Roeder, and Lang, 1991, p.325-326); the land was included in Champion's 1993 sale of its Montana timber operations to Plum Creek (Schwennesen, July 21, 1993). "... Anaconda's timberland in Montana was assessed at $9.7 million but sold for $117 million..." (Benjamin I. Page, Who Gets What From Government, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983, p. 39).
1907 Pacific Coast Lumber Manufacturer's Association and SW Washington Lumber Manufacturer's Association filed suit with the ICC against 123 railroads for violating rate regulations; Hill and Harriman were accused of fixing rates. Hill testified in March 1908. The ICC ruled partially in favor of the lumbermen (Steen, 1969, p.200-201).
1907 In March, the Great Northern Steamship "Dakota" struck a rock in Tokyo Bay and sank. See Best, 1973.
1907 Hill resigns as GN president and becomes chairman; replaced by son Louis.
1908 Spokane, Portland & Seattle, operated jointly by GN and NP, is finished.
1908. "Last opening of Indian country to homesteaders"; via the Milwaukee Railroad, on the Standing Rock Reservation, at Lemmon, South Dakota (Kathleen Norris, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography).
1910 Mann-Elkins Act strengthens ICC by plugging loopholes regarding short and long haul rates.
1910 There are 240,000 miles railroad in the U.S.
1910 Glacier National Park bill passed, with lobbying by JJ Hill. GN built the Glacier Park and the Many Glacier Hotels (opened in 1913 and 1915). GN subsidiary Glacier Park Co. ran the park concession until 1961, when Don Hummel bought it; Greyhound took over in 1981 (Yenne, 1991, p.80-82).
1910 J. J. Hill, at the National Conservation Congress, supports state rather than federal control of forests (Lien, 1991, p.45, citing Robbins, 1976, p.349).
1910 Yale gives J.J. Hill an honorary Doctor of Law degree. Harvard Business School later named a professorship after Hill.
1910 Wellington, Washington; 96 killed.
1912 US Supreme Court orders dissolution of the Union Pacific-Southern Pacific combination (US v. Union Pacific Railroad et al, 226 US 61, 33 S Ct 53, 57 L Ed 124, Dec 2, 1912). In 1913 Union Pacific abandoned its attempt to acquire the Central Pacific (Trottman, p. 367).
1911 GN, building south through Oregon, agrees to stop at Bend, ending the Hill-Harriman "Deschutes rail war." Harriman's Southern Pacific gets the route to San Francisco; Louis Hill gets Minnesota lumbermen to build two ponderosa pine mills (Brooks Scanlon).
1912 Hill resigns as GN chairman; replaced by son Louis.
1913 U.S. v. Delaware & Hudson, 213 U.S. 366, ruled that holding companies owning railroads and coal mining could haul the coal on the railroad, contradicting Hepburn Act prohibition.
1913-1914. The U.S. Bureau of Corporations "The Lumber Industry" report shows (Part 1, p.15-17) the three largest holders of timber in the U.S. to be Southern Pacific (71 bbf in Oregon and 35 bbf in California, on some 3,842,000 timbered acres of its 13,879,932-acre total holdings); Northern Pacific (36.2 bbf on 3 million timbered acres of its total 9,950,000 acres); and Weyerhaeuser (77 bbf in Washington and 18.7 bbf in Oregon, on some 1,945,000 acres). The three were estimated to hold 11 percent of the timber in the U.S.
Weyerhaeuser had obtained most of its timber from the NP. The Bureau said Weyerhaeuser-associated companies owned almost 291.9 billion board feet of timber in the Pacific Northwest (228.5 bbf), the South (48.7 bbf), and the the Lake States (14.7 bbf). Of the 1,945,000 acres owned by Weyerhaeuser, 1,525,000 acres, or 78 percent, was purchased from the Northern Pacific (U.S. Bureau of Corporations, 1913, p.18,103).
The reaction of Weyerhaeuser-related Potlatch manager A.W. Laird (of the Weyerhaeuser-related Laird-Norton company) was that Gifford Pinchot's "'timber famine'... propaganda worked a very serious harm to the lumber industry by concentrating in private hands large bodies of timber for speculative purposes that have been subsequently forced upon the market through the sawmill channel of liquidation and increased burden of a legitimate operator" (Quoted in Timberman, Aug. 1915, p.31, according to Steen, 1969, p.234).
1915 Three million acres of O&C land were revested (O&C v. U.S., 238 U.S. 393, 1915). Timber sold to highest bidder; proceeds split between feds, state, counties.
1916 There were 254,000 miles railroad in the U.S., the all-time high. Railroads carry three quarters of all intercity freight and 98 percent of all intercity passengers.
1916 Federal grants for highway construction begin.
1916 JJ Hill dies; he was replaced on the Great Northern board of directors by F.E. Weyerhaeuser, who served until 1932.
1917 JJ Hill Reference Library established in St. Paul; its first head was Joseph Pyle, Hill biographer.
1917 December 28. The federal government takes over railroad operations. CB&Q President Hale Holden and NP Chairman Howard Elliott sit on the Railroads War Board Executive Committee.
1920s NP's coal mines around Red Lodge began to be open pit (Malone, Roeder, and Lang, 1991, p.337-338).
1920 Mineral Leasing Act (41 Stat. 437) said railroads can't lease federal coal except for railroad purposes (railroads tried to repeal this with HR 6721 in 1975). Railroads got around it by restructuring, having joint ventures lease the coal. BN got its Dreyer Brothers ranch subsidiary to apply for Montana coal lease.
1920 Esch-Cummins Act (Transportation Act of 1920) helps return railroads to private management; railroad profits are maintained with guaranteed loans, and the ICC's power is broadened.
1921 Supreme Court ruled NP was entitled to select lands within national forests if none other was available; (U.S. v NP (256 U.S. 51).
1921 NP sells Anaconda 717 acres (Cotroneo, 1967, Arno press edition 1979, p.285, ignoring the 1907 sale of a million acres).
1922, 1935, 1937 Washington Forest Reserve, Snoqualmie, and Rainier checkerboard exchange legislation.
1924 President Coolidge asks Rep. Sinnott (House Committee on Public Lands) for comprehensive review of the NP grant, citing letter from USDA Secretary Wallace.
Their letters, published in the New York Times (Feb. 26, 1924; reprinted in Transitions, March 1992, p.5-7), charged that the NP's sale of lands had more than paid for the cost of constructing the railroad; that over a thousand miles of the railroad had not been completed within the time required by law; that NP had failed to sell certain lands to settlers for no more than $2.50; that hundreds of thousands of acres were not sold to the public at all; that hundreds of thousands of acres of land were obtained through erroneous mineral classification; that NP traded good land for worthless land under the Mount Rainier Park Act of 1899; that NP was given a million and a half acres too many in Washington State; that 500,000 acres too many were granted due to erroneous border lines; that 640,000 acres too many were granted at the Tacoma overlap; that 600,000 acres too many were granted at the Wallula overlap; that 1.3 million acres too many were granted in its second indemnity belt.
1924 Congress told the Dept. of Interior to withhold approval of NP land grant adjustments and patents until Congressional inquiry.
1924-1928 Northern Pacific Land Grant Hearings before the House Committee on Public Lands (1924); the Senate Committee on Public Lands and Surveys (1924); and the Joint Committee on Investigation of Northern Pacific Railroad Land Grants (1925-1928). Five thousand of pages of testimony was submitted by officials of the Forest Service, the General Land Office, the Office of Indian Affairs, mining engineers and executives, the ICC Bureau of Accounts, the Idaho state surveyor, and the Northern Pacific itself. NP denied the many charges of error and fraud. The Attorney General said Congress could declare the land grant forfeited, and should have it submitted for judicial resolution (Hearing, Part 13). In 1929, Congress directed the Attorney General to sue NP; see the 1940 U.S. Supreme Court decision for a description of and judgement on the government's charges (U.S. v. NP, 311 U.S. 317, 1940).
1927 NP hits the $100 million mark in net grant land sales revenues (Mercer, 1986, p.200).
1929 Railroads carried 75 percent of intercity freight traffic.
1929 Greyhound bus begins.
1929 Railroads begin to lose money on passenger service (except for the years 1942-1945).
1929 June 5 Congressional resolution suspends issuance of further patents. In June 25 legislation (46 Stat. 41), NP forfeits part of the 3.9 million acres in the Gallatin; the U.S. retains the land and directs the Attorney General to file a lawsuit that would adjust the grant and decide whether NP was entitled to cash compensation. The courts were also to make a "complete determination... [of] all other questions of law and fact" regarding the land grant. The railroad describes the impending suit in its 1929 Annual Report (p. 14) by saying "an Act of Congress provides for the submission of the controversy concerning the erroneous inclusion of Northern Pacific indemnity lands in the National Forest Reserves was approved June 25, 1929. The suit in equity which this Act provides for will doubtless be commenced in the near future."
The 1929 legislation held the transfer of 2.8 million acres within national forest boundaries in WA, ID and MT (NYT, June 26, 1929).
1930 The U.S. Attorney General filed suit (U.S. v. NP) in the Eastern Washington District Court in July, as directed in June 1929 resolution. The 100-page complaint against NP sought $50 million and removal of 3.9 million acres (2.4 in mineral lands and 1.5 in overly circuitous routes in Washington State) (NY Times, Aug. 1, 1930). In the eventual 1941 settlement between the U.S. and NP, which was partially based on arrangements made under the 1940 Transportation Act (in which the railroad relinquished claims to 4.5 milliion acres), the railroad relinquished claims to 2.9 million acres and paid the government $300,000.
1932 Motions filed in U.S. v. NP.
1933 Emergency Railroad Transportation Act to help railroads through Depression.
1933 Special Master (Frank Graves) Report, May 1933, Equity No. 4389, on U.S. v. NP. "Advised the court to award the company compensation for the loss of the right of indemnity selection in the so-called reserve lands" (Cotroneo, 1980, p.110).
1935 Memo Opinion in U.S. v. NP.
1935 Motor Carrier Act passed with railroad lobbying. The ICC is to control trucking rates and entry.
1937 Special Master (Frank Graves) Second Report in U.S. v. NP., July 23, 1937. According to Cotroneo (1980, p.110), " the special master agreed that the government had sufficient evidence to establish fraud on the part of the [U.S. land] commissioners and involvement by Northern Pacific." Example given was NP awarding timber contracts to U.S. land commissioners Crane and Goode.
1939 Findings and conclusions in U.S. v. NP are made. "The court, after sustaining certain of the plaintiff's exceptions and dismissing almost all of the defendants', found [NP] entitled to patents for certain lands outside the [national forests and other] reserves and to compensation for the loss of 1,453,061 acres of land within them" (as stated in the later decision U.S. V. NP, 311 U.S. 272, 1940). Both sides appealed to the Supreme Court; NP's appeal was thrown out.
1940 There were 233,000 miles railroad in the U.S.
1940 Weyerhaeuser purchased 36,000 acres of Northern Pacific Railroad land, located near Weyerhaeuser's upper Deschutes railroad, for $400,000 (Twining, 1985, p.215).
1940 Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. NP, 311 U.S. 317.
Only eight justices ruled - Jackson disqualified himself for previous involvement in land grant investigation. The eight didn't agree on several points and reserved judgement (311 U.S. 317, 342): whether stock sales had been legitimate; whether NP had completed construction as required; whether funds were funnelled to branches while the main line went unfinished; whether lands were opened to settlement and preemption at $2.50 an acre; and whether the grant had been violated by not selling land upon 1875 and 1896 foreclosures. The rest of the decision favored the U.S.
1940 Transportation Act relieved railroads from carrying government freight at reduced rates (except for military taffic, which was ended in 1947) if they would abandon further claims to the government for additional lands or compensation.
The 1940 Transportation Act ended further claims by railroads to grant lands: NP relinquished claims to 4.5 million acres in WA, MT, ID, OR, ND, MN, WI, WY; the Southern Pacific relinquished two million acres in CA; and AT&SF gave up 1.6 million acres in AZ and NM (NYT, Apr. 20, 1941).
1941 NP proposed a settlement to U.S. v. NP: NP would relinquish further land or compensation claims and agree to pay the U.S. $300,000, and in return the U.S. would discharge its various claims against NP. The Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior accepted, and the settlement was approved by the court and the Attorney General (Applegate, 1979, p.158-160) says that the settlement ignored the reserved issues, and the judge said the settlement wasn't binding on Congress, and that it didn't meet the intent of Congress when it authorized the lawsuit (U.S. v. NP, 41 F.Supp. 287-291).
"On March 28, 1941, the company signed and filed a release [acc. to the Transp. Act of 1940] on 428,986 acres to which it had laid claim, and it filed a request for compensation for the 1,453,000 acres expropriated and placed in forest reserves. The secretary of the interior accepted the agreement on April 16, and the repeal of reduced land grant rates on government civil and mail transportation went into effect on that date. In turn, the government consented to close the case if the railroad paid $300,000 cash in lieu of all federal claims against the company. The land committees of both houses of Congress agreed to the settlement. Next, the matter came before the district court in Spokane. Upon hearing the issues resolved and the agreements reached, the judge entered the final decreee on August 28, 1941" (Cotroneo, 1980, p.111).
From the railroad's 1941 Annual Report (p. 6): "The Company has received approximately 95 percent of the 42,000,000 acres comprised in the grant, and owned on December 31, 1941, 4,828,001 acres."
1943 Weyerhaeuser purchased Northern Pacific timber near Spirit Lake at Mt. St. Helens for $357,000, or three dollars per thousand board feet (Twining, 1985, p.259-260).
1948 Reed-Bullwinkle Act sanctioned rail and trucking rate bureaus (cartels).
1950 There are 224,000 miles railroad in the U.S.
1950 Landell v. Northern Pacific is filed, attacking the validity of its 1896 reorganization. First filed in New York in 1900, the suit became dormant in 1903, and was dismissed for want of prosecution in 1937. The 1950 version was dismissed in 1954, for laches on the part of plaintiffs.
1951 Williston Basin oil discovered in Montana and North Dakota; NP owns or has rights to 3.2 million acres of land in the area (NP 1951 Annual Report, p. 3; Moody's Transportation Manual, 1954, p.1210).
1955 Manadamus suits filed by four individuals demanding to buy Northern Pacific grant land for $2.50 per acre.
1957 Passengers by air exceed those by rail.
1958 Transportation Act attempts to make railroads more competitive by loosening rate restrictions and making guaranteed loans.
1958 Northrn Pacific closed its Colstrip, Montana coal mine; the mine had been the main source of NP coal since it opened in 1923, having extracted 42 million tons. In 1959 it was sold to Montana Power (NP, 1960 Annual Report, p. 11).
1959 220,000 miles railroad in the U.S. employing 800,000 people and carrying 44 percent of the freight and 28 percent of the passengers.
1960 Agreement to merge was reached between the NP, GN, CB&Q, SP&S, and Pacific Coast railroads.
1961-1962 Hearings on merger of "the Northern lines" held. The U.S. Department of Justice, the USDA, railway employee groups, nine states, and the Milwaukee and North Western railroads opposed the merger. Shippers and others supported it.
1961 GN subsidiary Glacier Park co. sells its Glacier National Park concession to Don Hummel (who sold it to Greyhound in 1981).
1962 The October 12 storm blew down 30 million board feet of Northern Pacific timber; NP's 1962 Annual Report (p. 12) noted that it would be salvaged "with little loss in value."
1964 Northern lines merger hearings examiner submitted a report to the ICC recommending approval of the merger.
1966 First Report of the ICC rejected the hearing examiner's recommendation to approve the merger of the Northern lines. Conditions protecting the Milwaukee and the North Western railroads were accepted, and objecions to the merger were withdrawn by those railroads, the USDA, and the states of Oregon, N. Dakota, S. Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
1967 The ICC's Second Report, and approval of the merger of the Northern lines (331 ICC 228).
1968 U.S. DOJ files a complaint in U.S. District Court (DC) against the ICC approval of the BN merger. Intervenors against the merger included the NP Stockholders' Protective Committee, the City of Auburn, Washington, the State of Washington, the Montana Board of Railroad Commissioners, the Livingston Anti-Merger Committee, and the Minnesota Public Service Committee. Intervenors supporting the merger included 230 shippers in the Pacific Northwest (see 396 U.S. 502).
The court sustained the ICC; the U.S. appealed.
1968 NP began leasing coal to Montana Power subsidiary Western Energy Co., and Peabody began hauling Colstrip coal to Minnesota (Malone, Roeder, and Lang, 1991, p.338).
1970 In U.S. v ICC (396 U.S. 491), the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the 1967 ICC decision (331 ICC 228) to allow BN merger on the grounds of the Interstate Commerce Act (as amended by the 1940 Transportation Act), saying it was "consistent with the public interest" and that the terms of the merger were "just and reasonable."
Burlington Northern is formally established on March 2, finally completing Hill and Morgan's attempts to combine the Northern Lines.
1970 Penn Central goes bankrupt.
1970 ICC review of railroad holding companies ("Conglomerate Merger Studies") concludes that nonrail business is bad for railroads, national transportation, and defense. Also concludes that railroad dividends had gone to nonrail subsidiaries; railroads were used to obtain credit without compensation; and holding company expenses were billed to railroads.
1970 Rail Passenger Service Act creates Amtrak with an initial $200 million subsidy; by 1980 it has received $10 billion.
1972 Administrative complaint against BN by the National Coalition for Land Reform and the California Coalition of Seasonal and Migrant Farm Workers (NCLR and CCSMFW v. Rogers C.B. Morton et al, Dept. of Interior Administrative Complaint, June 21, 1972).
1973 BLM interim response to NCLR/CCSMFW complaint.
1973 Regional Railroad Reorganization Act (the "3R Act") reorganizes Penn Central into Conrail and subsidizes railroad service in the Northeast ($4 billion from 1976 to 1980, according to Keeler, 1983, p.33).
1974 NP began Colstrip mining with the Minnesota-based Foley Brothers. Also involved Montana Power subsidiary Western Energy and Peabody (Malone, Roeder, and Lang, 1991, p.337-338).
1975 Rock Island goes bankrupt.
1975 U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) study on NCLR/CCMFW complaint is done, but not released until Dec 21, 1976. The DOI claimed it had no authority or duty to conduct review of land grants or to make railroad's comply with settlement and preemption. Said Congress has sole authority. Cited NP with possible breach of grant, but offered no remedies. Said railroad not illegal in mineral rights, because minerals weren't known at the time (see Applegate, 1979).
1976 Federal Aid in Highways Act creates National Transportation Policy Study Committee (1979 report).
1976 Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act ("4R Act) (90 Stat. 33, 45 USC 801 et seq).
1977 ICC's "Railroad Conglomerates and other Corporate Structures" report in response to the requirements of the 4R Act. The ICC's scope was only holding companies, not railroads as a whole (as the Act required). Some railroads refused to give info. There was dissent among the ICC Commissioners. Analysis of BN only one page (p.51): "financial strength of BN is due in large measure to the existence and development of its nonrailway assets." Cites a statement in a BN Annual Report that the railroad (90 percent of BN's assets) contributed only 10 percent of its pre-tax income.
1978 Forbes magazine article says BN is "consuming itself" (Oct. 30, 1978, p.98).
1978 Railroads carry 36 percent of total intercity freight (trucks carry 25 percent; oil pipelines carry 23 percent). They carry less than one percent of the passenger traffic (autos carry 84 percent; commercial airplanes carry 12 percent).
1978 Capital expenditures of railroads hits $2.6 billion (in 1950 it was $1.2 billion; in the 1960s less than $1 billion per year). See the Association of American Railroads' "Yearbook of Railroad Facts."
1979 National Transportation Policy Study Committee report (ordered by 1976 Federal Aid in Highways Act).
1980 Railroads carry 38 percent of U.S. intercity freight traffic.
1980 Staggers Act deregulates railroads.
1980 BN acquires the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway in November. While it never went further west than Tulsa, the "Frisco" gave BN access to the Gulf of Mexico and the Deep South. This railroad had been granted land in 1865 under Gen. John C. Fremont (Yenne, 1991).
1980 (1977?) The Milwaukee Road, which predicted hardship and opposed the BN merger in 1970, goes bankrupt, leaving Montana a BN monopoly.
1981 Court allows BN shareholders to vote to reorganize as a holding company; and the corporate headquarters is moved from St. Paul to Seattle. See also 1983 entry (Citizens Committee suit).
1981 Amtrak reduced its route system by 10 percent because of reduced appropriations. A 1980 stdy found the average ticket was subsidized by $60 to $70.
1981 BN employee Margaret Hulden files suit after being passed over for promotion 14 times.
1981 McCarty Farms class action against BN grain rates in Montana filed with ICC. In May 1987, ICC ruled BN had monopoly.
1982 Hearings before the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, March 15, 1982 (see Creedy, 1983).
1983 June 22. Decision in Citizens Committee to Save the Land Grant Railroads, et al., v. Burlington Northern (708 F.2d 1430).
Unions, creditors, and shareholders had sued to stop the 1981 reorganization of BN as a holding company; the suit was dismissed on the grounds of lack of private federal right of action and lack of federal jurisdiction.
1983 El Paso Natural Gas company acquired. Several lawsuits were filed on grounds that El Paso shareholders didn't receive fair value (Gilbert et al v. El Paso; Gelobter et al v. Bressler; both Delaware Court of Chancery and state Supreme Court). Spun off 1992.
1983 BN agrees to pay 400 current and former black employees $50 million in back pay, in one of the largest race bias suits in U.S. history. The EEOC said BN had discriminated against blacks in hiring, discipline, termination, initial assignment, transfer, promotion, and training. Only 2 BN engineers were black.
1984 BN railroad headquarters is moved to Ft. Worth.
1986 BN's female employees win class action suit file by Margaret Hulden in 1981.
1986 BN takes $1.1 billion loss from "discontinued operations" (BR spinoffs); in 1988 BR received spin-off proceeds of $481 million (BNI 10-K 1988, p.14,18).
1986 Glacier Park buys interest in David Sabey's Chemical Processors (Chempro); later placed under Burlington Environmental (also a Sabey partnership).
1987 The legal review entitled "Railroad Land Grants from Canals to Transcontinentals 1808-1941," by Thomas E. Root, is published by the American Bar Association and the University of Tulsa College of Law.
1987 In May, ICC rules that grain shippers in Montana have no alternative to BN: BN carried 80 percent of grain shipped from Montana; had 91 percent of Montana track mileage; served 98 percent of Montana grain elevators. The Commission is yet to decide whether BN's rates are reasonable. Part of long-running McCarty Farms class action (filed 1981).
1987 Sierra Pacific Industries bought 522,000 acres of California timberland from the land grant railroad Santa Fe Southern Pacific for $460 million ($880 an acre). Over the next eight years paid more than $600 million for an additional 400,000 acres. SPI now controls 1,332,000 acres of mostly prime timberland, making it the country's largest private (but not corporate) landowner (just ahead of Ted Turner). Using an average price of $1,700 per acre, Sierra Pacific's timber holdings are worth more than $2 billion (Forbes, Oct. 13, 1997).
1988 Settlement with NP land grant bondholders became final in January (Rievman v. BN, 118 F.R.D. 29, S.D.N.Y., 1987).
BN paid a cash premium of $35 million "for the release of certain properties from the mortgage liens" (BNI 10-K 1988, p.21). BN land (and natural resources) were released for spin-off and development.
1988 Burlington Northern Worldwide created: a "transportation supermarket" by rail, ship, truck, or air. Contract signed with Chinese Railway Ministry.
1988 May. Burlington Resources was formed as a holding company for BN's natural resource operations. In July, BR was spun off with an initial public offering of 20 million shares; this decreased BN's ownership to 87 percent, and gave BR net proceeds of $481 million. In December 1988 the remaining 130 million shares were distributed tax-free to the shareholders of BN. Nothing was paid by the BN shareholdrs for the BR shares (BNI Ann Rep 1990, p.31).
1988 Meridian announces three million ounces of gold found at Beartrack (Salmon, Idaho).
1988 BE's Chempro acquires oil spill contractor Crowley Environmental Services.
1988 BR buys interest in New Mexico & Arizona Land Company (Los Angeles Times, June 8, 1988, sec. IV, p.22).
1989 BE's Chempro acquires Crosby & Overton.
1989 In October, BR announces its intent to sell the real estate assets of Glacier Park, estimating them to be worth $450 million. "Accordingly, the operations of Glacier Park have been classified as discontinued" (1990 Annual Report, p.31).
1989 Plum Creek spun off in June with the sale of limited partnership units combined with a leveraged buyout, which raises some $600 million. BR retains large interest (11 percent, including 2 percent as general partner, according to the 1990 Annual Report, p.31).
1990 Plum Creek repurchases seven percent of its outstanding stock.
1990 Joint venture between BN and Santa Fe Railroad is announced. America's Transportation Group (ATG) will coordinate intermodal operations in the Southeast and West (BNI 1990 Annual Report, p.15).
1990. James Hill family descendants sue Willametter Industries for mismanagement of 168,000 acres in Oregon (AP, Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, July 13, 1990).
1990 City of Tacoma bought 6.7 acres of industrial land at 801 Pacific Ave. from Glacier Park for $3.9 million (Feb. 14, 1990).
1990 May. Meridian Gold is merged with FMC in return for 8 million shares ($80 million) of FMC stock.
1990 Meridian Oil buys Unicon's San Juan, New Mexico natural gas for $400 million.
1990 April. BR announces that Burlington Environmental is for sale.
1990 November. Trillium Corporation of Bellingham, Washington announced it had signed a letter of intent to buy 230 parcels of land from Glacier Park in Washington, Montana, Colorado, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. The purchase price and number of acres were not disclosed (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Nov. 22, 1990, p.H1,H4). In March 1991, Glacier Park confirmed that Trillium is expected to buy "essentially all" of GP's non-agricultural holdings in MT, WY, CO, NE, ND,and SD. The deal could be worth $50 million (Puget Sound Business Journal, April 1 1991). In August 1991, Trillium challenged Montana's newly-amended railroad right of way law, saying it did not give landowners flexibility in using and selling property. Montana House Bill 233 gives leaseholders the first right to purchase leased land within 300 feet of a railroad right of way; this interfered with Trillium and Glacier Park's real estate sales agreement (Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, Aug. 23, 1991). See also September 1991 and June 1992 entries.
1991 Railroads haul 37.6 percent of freight traffic.
There are 176,000 miles of railroad track.
Railroads' net income was a $38 million loss.
1991 Plum Creek authorizes repurchase of another million and a half of its limited partnership units.
1991 Meridian Aggregates becomes limited partnership.
1991 Thousands of gallons of the weed killer metam sodium were spilled into Lake Shasta reservior when a Southern Pacific train derailed into the Sacramento River in July. Rep. Barabara Boxer held hearings in the fall, and said "it's time for an overall assessment of rail safety in America" (Dietz, 1991).
1991 September. Trillium Corp. closed deal with Glacier Park purchasing 15,000 acres of property in seven states (Tapperson, June 16, 1992). See also November 1990 and June 1992 entries.
1991. Through 1991, BR received $325 million for the sale of real estate to Glacier Park Co., its own subsidiary (BR Ann Rep 1991 p.34).
1992. 22.2 percent of the shareholders of Burlington Resources' vote for a resolution requiring the company to prepare a report on its reactions to the Valdez Principles of environmental corporate responsibility; this is the first time more than 20 percent of any corporation's shareholders have approved a "social proxy" issue other than South Africa (Douglas G. Cogan, 1992, p.53).
1992 In January, BR board authorizes repurchase of another ten million shares; since spin-off, it had already repurchased 19.4 million shares.
1992 March. El Paso spun off with an initial public offering of 5.7 million shares (15 percent of total) of stock; the net proceeds were $101 million (EPNG 10-Q, Mar. 31 1992 p.4). The remaining 31.4 million shares were distributed to BR shareholders.
1992 April. Buck Droll, living for 24 years on BN land on Columbia River near Longview, seeks Cowlitz Co. court order to prevent being evicted by BN. His cabin was destroyed by fire while Droll was in a Portland hospital; Droll's housemate suspects arson (AP, Apr. 2, 1992; Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 1, 1992).
1992 April. Plum Creek announced it had sold its Belgrade sawmill and 164,000 acres in Gallatin and Park Counties, Montana to the (Tim) Blixseth Group of Portland and McDougal Bros. of Dexter, Oregon. The firms agreed to follow through with the Porcupine and Gallatin land exchanges with the U.S. Forest Service, which involved 45,000 acres of PC land for 21,500 acres of USFS land and $3.4 million, as part of Montana wilderness bill [S. 1696] (AP, April 23, 1992). The land had been sought by the Nature Conservancy (Long, May 23, 1993, timeline).
PC's Belgrade, Montana sawmill and 139,000 acres were sold to the Oregon firm [of Tim Blixseth] Big Sky Lumber; another 25,000 acres was sold to Moonlight Basin Ranch, Inc., a group of developers from Cleveland (Long, May 23, 1993, timeline). The sale price was $24 million; $16 million was to be recorded in the third quarter (Dow Jones, Aug. 5, 1992; Standard & Poor's Corporate Records, Dec. 1992, p.7621). In May 1993, the U.S. House passed a bill sponsored by Pat Williams (D-Mont.) to acquire 80,000 acres of this Gallatin land for $12 to $20 million (James Long, May 23, 1993; and Seattle Times, May 23, 1993, p.A6). See High Country News (Oct. 18, 1993, p. 12) for Blixseth's attempted purchase of part of an 1849 Mexican land grant in New Mexico.
1992 April. Commercial landlord-developer Trammel Crow bought 115 acres of land from Glacier Park for $3.3 million. The land is just south of the Kent/Renton border, in Washington. A $60-million, million square foot Kent North Corporate Park is planned for the site with land advisory corporation Heartland and SAFECO subsidiary Winmar Co. Much of the land in the Kent Valley is wetlands; Glacier Park has received reduced tax assessments for its 600 acres;, much of which cannot be developed because of wetlands regulations. Trammel Crow said the Army Corps of Engineers had delineated wetlands on the 115-acre property, and 65 acres are buildable (Stevens, Feb. 12 and May 5, 1992).
1992 May. Glacier Park sold 43 industrial, commercial, and agricultural properties in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, and Montana for about $2.5 million, and announced that it had other properties for sale and then would "close our doors in June," according to director of sales Ray Flaherty. Trillium Corporation agreed to acquire Glacier properties that are not sold to others. The properties sold include the Eastbrook and Westbrook sites purchased by Trammell Crow for its Kent North Corporate Park, which were sold for $3.3 million; 68 acres of farmland and pasture in Auburn, Washington, to Segale Inc; and a 26-acre industrial parcel in Oylmpia, Washington. Trillium "withdrew from auction a 174-acre quilt of properties in Renton, representing the undeveloped remainder of Orilla Business Park." There is also a $21 million 48 acre parcel near downtown Vancouver, BC (Epes, May 8, 1992).
Tapperson (June 16, 1992) estimated the latest Trillium purchase at 10,000 acres in 75 tracts and 25 commercial and industrial parks; he also has details of the 15,000-acre deal between Trillium and Glacier Park in September 1991. Glacier Park land sold to Trillium is in FL, IA, ID, IL, KS, MN, MO, ND, OK, OR, TX, WA, and Alberta and British Columbia.
1992 May. The Hillyard railroad yard property in Spokane, Washington has been transferred from BN to Glacier Park and back again. BN announced in May 1992 that 200 acres would be developed, hopefully to attract the type of businesses that would use rail service. BN said it sought to have the city of Spokane annex the land and extend city services to it (Puget Sound Business Journal, May 28-June 4, 1992). Hillyard is one of the sites contaminated by years of railroad use (U.S. EPA CERCLIS list, Dec. 1990).
1992 June. Council on Economic Priorities releases its environmental profile of Plum Creek (and 19 other timber companies).
1992 June 30. BN tank cars carrying benzene, liquid propane, and butadiene derailed near Superior, Wisconsin. Benzene spilled into the Nemadji River and 60,000 people were evacuated rom Superior and Duluth, Minnesota. At least three class-action lawsuits were filed (BNR Env. Rep. Curr. Dev., July 10, 1992, p.771). BN was found to be at fault (May 1993).
1992 July. A joint venture to develop Meridian Mineral's Bull Mountains coal reserves north of Billings, Montana was announced. Half the 20 to 25 billion yen project is to be owned by Arch Mineral Corp. (in turn owned by Ashland Oil and Hunt Industries), 20 to 30 percent by Sumitomo and Mitsui Mining, and the rest by Meridian. Production is expected to begin in 1993 and reach five million metric tons by 1995; extractable reserves are estimated at 130 million tons (Dow Jones news report, July 22, 1992).
1992 September. Plum Creek admits breaking federal and state election laws by attaching political slogans and anti-wilderness literature to employees paychecks in Flathead Valley, Montana. Leaflets warned PC employees they could lose their jobs if they did not attend an anti-wilderness rally in September. PC was fined the maximum, $1000 (Forrester, Oct. 19, 1992; and High Country News, Feb. 22, 1993).
1992 September 17. Robert Bass affiliate SPO Partners filed its third SEC Form 13-D in 18 months, announcing its intent to acquire its third five percent of Plum Creek Timber (Grunbaum, Oct. 2, 1992; Virgin, Oct. 3, 1992). Dow Jones then reported that during October, SPO had been selling many of the units, lowering its share to 4.5 percent, or 605,217 units (Dow Jones, Oct. 22, 1992). But see January 1993 entry.
1992 October. El Paso announced that it had authorized the repurchase of 2 million shares (5.4 percent of the total 37.3 million shares) "to be used in connection with employee stock option plans" (EPNG press release, Oct. 22, 1992).
1992 October. BR announced it would sell substantially all of its coal properties to Great Northern Properties L.P. for $80 million and future royalties. The properties are mostly in Montana, North Dakota, and Washington, and include reserves committed to Western Energy's Rosebud mine and Peabody's Big Sky mine. BR will retain its Bull Mountains, Montana reserves, which are to be deveoped in a joint venture with Arch Mineral, Sumitomo, Mitsui and others (Dow Jones, Oct. 28, 1992).
1992 November. ECOS announced it was abandoning its plans to build a $60 million hazardous waste incinerator in Adams County, Washington, because it was unable to find a partner to help finance the project (Olympian, Nov. 20, 1992).
1992 November. BN Chairman Gerald Grinstein elected chairman of the Association of American Railroads (Seattle Times, Nov. 30, 1992, p.E2).
1992 November. Standard & Poor's lowered BN's ratings, because of its aggressively leveraged capital structure related to the spin-off of resources properties without a divestiture of the debt assumed to acquire and develop those properties (Dow Jones, Nov. 18, 1992).
1993 Amtrak trains killed 9 of the 200 remaining grizzly bears in Glacier National Park; they had been attracted to human wastes flushed onto the tracks (Earth Island Journal, Spring 1994, p. 12).
1993 January. Despite reports that SPO was selling its recently-acquired shares of Plum Creek, Burlington Resources announced that SPO Partners had paid $70 million for BR's general partnership shares, which represent a two percent interest in Plum Creek, and for its 1.25 million deferred participation rights, which could be converted to shares in 1994. The two forms of ownership, when converted, are about ten percent of Plum Creek; SPO already held about four percent. BR has a commitment through June 1994 to support a minimum quarterly distribution on Plum Creek shares of 60 cents each (Virgin, Jan. 5, 1993). The Seattle Times reported that Plum Creek president and chief executive officer David Leland and director Ian Davidson would remain on the board (Seattle Times, Jan. 4, 1993, p.F5).
1993 April. An agreement between joint venture partners BN and Grupo Protexa of Monterrey, Mexico was signed with the Port of Galveston, Texas for rail-barge service between Texas and Mexico (Wall Street Journal, May 28, 1992); service began in April 1993 (Dow Jones, May 19, 1993).
1993 April 21. An "independent committee" of Plum Creek's board of directors approved a proposal to authorize the redemption of the outstanding 1.25 million Deferred Participation Interests (DPIs), which are held by the partnership controlled by SPO Partners & Co. This would allow Plum Creek "to redeem approximately 8 percent of its total limited partnership interests at a discount from current market prices for the publicly traded Units." Approval of the plan is to be sought at a special meeting of the Unitholders, to be held in early July (Plum Creek, First Quarter Report 1993). See July 1993 entry for this meeting's "unexpected" adjournment.
1993 May. BN was found to be at fault for the June 1992 Duluth train wreck and evacuation; damaged rails could have been fixed, and reduced speed would have helped (Dow Jones, May 11, 1993).
1993 May. The U.S. House passed a bill authorizing acquisition of 80,000 acres north of Yellowstone National Park at a cost of $12 to $20 million; exchanges or cash would be used to acquire the land from a private company [Blixseth, which bought the land from Plum Creek in 1992] that could soon begin harvesting its timber. The land would become part of the Gallatin National Forest. Sponsor of the bill was Pat Williams, D-Mt.(Seattle Times, May 23, 1993, p.A6).
1993 June. Eight railroads were ordered to pay some $8 million in excess freight charges involving the hauling of spent nuclear fuel assemblies from 1975 to 1988; BN, UP, and CSX were responsible for three-quarters of the overcharges (Wall Street Jounral, June 2, 1993).
1993 June. Bear Stearns downgraded Burlington Resources stock from "buy" to "hold" because of natural gas prices (Dow Jones, June 24, 1993).
1993 June. The Federal Trade Commission cleared BR in an anti-trust investigation regarding stock in Fina Oil & Chemical (Dow Jones, June 8, 1993).
1993 June. Plum Creek said it had spent $75,000 on metal-detection equipment on the xxx timber sale, which was tree-spiked by environmentalists opposing the timber sale in 1989. The judge in the case, who said he could determine only about $8,000 in direct losses to the company, dropped some charges against the defendents because the McClure Law against tree-spiking, which requires more than $10,000 in damage (John K. Wiley, Tacoma News Tribune, June 10, 1993).
1993 June 11. Burlington Resources spun off the rights to certain profits from the Burlington Resources Coal Seam Gas Royalty Trust, its natural gas-producing property in New Mexico. Investors get a quarterly payout plus a tax credit. Some 7.7 million units of a total 8.8 million units were sold the first day on the New York Stock Exchange (Seattle Times, June 11, 1993, p.D4; and June 12, 1993, p.D1).
1993 July-November. Plum Creek disclosed that is was negotiating "a large acquisition" that could add to its stock of timberland and mills; the assets were estimated to be worth more than $100 million, but Plum Creek would not identify the seller. Analysts said there were several properties that might fit, including 817,000 acres and two mills in Montana owned by Champion. The disclosure was made at the unexpected adjournment of a July 1 meeting called to approve the redemption of deferred interests held by SPO Partners (Harrison, July 2, 1993) (see April 21, 1993 entry). On November 1, Plum Creek completed the purchase of 867,000 acres of western Montana timberland from Champion International for $260 million (Plum Creek 1997 Form 10-K), which had purchased it from Anaconda Copper in 1972, which had purchased it from Northern Pacific in 1907. Plum Creek now holds 90 percent of the timber industry land in Montana (Devlin, Aug. 1, 1993; Dow Jones, July 19 and Nov. 2, 1993).
1995. Nevada Land and Resource Company founded. Acquired 1,300,000 acres of checkerboards from the Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company.
1995. 960 acres of Plum Creek checkerboard land in the Silver Creek Valley in the Wenatchee National Forest near Easton in eastern Washington was purchased by the U.S. Forest Service. In 1997, environmentalists asked Congress to purchase the remaining 1,600 acres of Plum Creek land in Silver Creek for $7.5 million (Cascade Checkerboard News, June 1997).
1995 February 7. Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Pacific shareholders approved BN's $4 billion acquisition of Santa Fe. Since October 1994, Union Pacific had tried to prevent the merger with its own hostile takeover of Santa Fe. If approved by the U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission, the new Burlington Northern Santa Fe would be the country's largest railroad, with more than 30,000 miles of track. (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 8, 1995, p. A4).
1995 March. Conservation agreement between Assistant Secretary of the Interior George Frampton and Plum Creek (Cockburn, The Nation, xxx).
1995. Gerald Grinstein retiring as chair of BN Santa Fe (Seattle Weekly, Dec. 6, 1995, p. 15).
1996. The ICC was abolished on January 1, 1996 by an act of Congress. ICC Termination Act of 1995, Pub. L. No. 104-88, § 101, 109 Stat. 803, 804 (Dec. 29, 1995). That act eliminated many of the functions performed by the ICC, transferred certain core rail and other functions to its successor agency, the Surface Transportation Board (STB), and transferred certain motor carrier functions to the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) within the Department of Transportation. The STB and federal courts soon ruled that U.S. law protecting interstate commerce pre-empts local laws on construction activities for railroads. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the argument of the City of Auburn, Washington that STB's authority pre-empted economic but not environmental regulation, ruling that "if local authorities have the ability to impose 'environmenta;' permitting regulations on the railroad, such power will in fact amount to 'economic regulation' if the carrier is prevented from constructing, acquiring, operating, abandoning or discontinuing a line." The US Supreme Court agreed.
1996. An investment group led by Clayton, Dubilier and Rice acquired an 81.3 percent stake in Manville Corporation's Riverwood International Corporation (Pulp & Paper 1998 North America Factbook, p. 52). On August 7, 1996, Plum Creek announced an agreement with Riverwood International Corporation to purchase 538,000 acres, two sawmills, and a plywood plant in northern Louisiana and southern Arkansas, and a tree nursery in Texas; Plum Creek would also enter a long-term agreement to supply Riverwood's West Monroe, Louisiana paper facility (Plum Creek, Second Quarter Report 1996).
1996 Feb (?) BN train wreck San Bernadino xxx
1996 March. Madrona Investment Group (MIG) formed by Gerald Grinstein (BN), William Ruckeleshaus (Weyerhaeuser, BN/BR Ecos, Browning-Ferris), Tom Alberg (LIN Broadcasting), and Paul Goodrich (Perkins-Coie) (Seattle Weekley, Mar. 20, 1996, p. 15).
1996 April 11. "Montana Rail Link train derailed one mile west of Alberton, Montana. Five tanker cars filled with industrial chemicals derailed -- including four filled with chlorine. One of the tankers ruptured and reportedly released more than 60 tons of chlorine, sending a toxic plume of chlorine gas across the Clark Fork River, in the path of motorists on Interstate 90 and over surrounding residences. Approximately 1,000 people were forced to flee their homes. The chlorine plume killed one person and hospitalized 352 people. An 8 to 12 square mile zone in the vicinity of the spill was evacuated. The chlorine plume interacted with another spilled chemical (potassium cresylate) to form organic chlorine compounds, including chlorophenols. When released into the environment, chlorine can interact with other compounds and form highly toxic and persistent organochlorine compounds" (April 22, 1996 press release by Cold Mountain, Cold Rivers, Box 7941, Missoula, MT 59807).
1996 April. Burlington Northern Santa Fe is acquiring the Yakima-based Washington Central Railroad Company for $40 million as part of its plan to reopen the 77-mile Stampede Pass route as its third freight route across the Cascades; expanded Far East trade through ports of Seattle and Tacoma are estimated to mean $25 billion in cargo through Stampede Pass every year (Olympian, Apr. 21, 1996, p. C8).
1996. Merger of Union Pacific and Southern Pacific.
1996 June 27. Federal government approval of Plum Creek's Habitat Conservation Plan exempting it for 50 years from Endangered Species Act regulations on 170,000 acres in the Central Cascade mountains.
1996 August. The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, for the third time in that election cycle, investigated House Majority Leader Dale Foreman for election law violations -- this time for his establishment of the supposedly independent, but actually pro-Republican, "Campaign for Washington." CFW co-chairs Chris Bayley (former officer of Burlington Northern, Burlington Resources, and Glacier Park) and Dick Derham were also key strategists in Foreman's campaign for governor; Foreman and CFW were each raising money for the other. The Commission did not find Foreman guilty the thrid time, but criticized hiim for skirting the boundaries and spirit of the law (Seattle Weekly, Aug. 28, 1996, p. 19; and Olympian editorial, "Plug Hole I Campaign Law," Sept. 13, 1996, p. A15.).
1996 August 7. Plum Creek announced an agreement with Riverwood International Corporation to purchase 538,000 acres, two sawmills, and a plywood plant in northern Louisiana and southern Arkansas, and a tree nursery in Texas; Plum Creek would also enter a long-term agreement to supply Riverwood's West Monroe, Louisiana paper facility. "Adding these assets to our existing resource base [of over two million acres] will enhance the Company's value in a world of diminishing timber resources" (Plum Creek, Second Quarter Report 1996).
1996 August 27. El Paso Energy and Tenneco filed documents with the U.S. for a tax-free merger (El Paso Energy Corporation press release).
1996 October 11. Plum Creek consummated the sale to Stimson Lumber Company of 107,000 acres of timberland in Northeast Washington and Northern Idaho and the Company's sawmill near Colville, Washington (the "Newport Asset Sale") for approximately $141.9 million, plus $8.7 million for working capital. Plum Creek used the net proceeds from the Newport Asset Sale to pay a portion of the purchase price for the Southern Region Acquisition (Plum Creek 1997 Form 10-K).
1996 October 18. Plum Creek acquired approximately 529,000 acres (plus approximately 9,000 leased acres) of timberland in Louisiana and Arkansas, along with two sawmills, a plywood plant and a nursery from Riverwood International Corporation for a total purchase price of $540 million, plus $11.9 million for working capital (Plum Creek 1997 Form 10-K).
1997. Environmentalists asked Congress to purchase the remaining 1,600 acres of Plum Creek land in Silver Creek for $7.5 million (Cascade Checkerboard News, June 1997); in 1995, 960 acres of Plum Creek checkerboard land in the Silver Creek Valley in the Wenatchee National Forest near Easton in eastern Washington was purchased by the U.S. Forest Service.
1997 March. Trendwest submitted plans for its resort on former Plum Creek land along the Cle Elum River in Kittitas County, Washington: 500 hotel rooms, 800 condominiums, 3,300 houses, 2 golf courses, an equestrian center, and sports parks. Issues include exemption from growth management zoning, destruction of wetland and riparian areas, and insufficient water (Cascade Checkerboard News, June 1997).
1997 May. Pilchuck Audubon Society, the Huckleberry Mountain Protection Society, and the Muckleshoot Indian tribe go to U.S. District Court to stop the Huckleberry Land Exchange between the U.S. Forest Service and Weyerhaeuser in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in western Washington (Tacoma News Tribune, Dec. 10, 1996; Seattle Times, May 15, 1997 and May 23, 1997).
1998. The day its I-90 Land Exchange DEIS came out, Plum Creek announced it would seek a legislated exchange. U.S. Senator Slade Gorton and U.S. Representative Doc Hastings follow suit by introducing bills (passsed as a rider to federal appropriations legislation).
1998. Plum Creek purchased 900,000 acres of cutover timberland in Maine from Sappi.
1998 October-November. Riders attached to U.S. appropriations legislation include Plum Creek Timber's I-90 checkerboard land exchange, and the "Quincy Library bill" which would increase timber cutting in the Tahoe, Lassen, and Plumas National Forests for Sierra Pacific Industries.
March 2000. "An analysis by the Billings Gazette of public land access permits in the U.S. Forest Service's Region I finds that of the 6,800 permits issued, about 2,800 do not pay any annual fees. Region I encompasses 23.4 million acres in parts of Washington, North Dakota, Montana and South Dakota. The USFS grants permits to recreational and non-recreational users, such as Plum Creek Timber Co. Many of the permits are for access roads that span a "checkerboard ownership pattern." But the companies and government give each other access and "few, if any, fees are charged." The USFS "has been under fire for years for charging less than market value for the of public lands." Many users currently pay about $50 a year for each road, an amount many deem as a bargain. And now the agency is proposing a new special use permit fee that would make permit applicants pay for the cost of evaluating their proposals. The program could generate an extra $10 million. The latest deadline for comment on the proposal is March 9." (Greenwire, March 6, 2000, National Forests: Fee Waivers Granted To USFS Land Users, citing Joe Kolman, March 6).