Leonor F. Loree

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Leonor Loree

Leonor Fresnel Loree (April 23, 1858 – September 6, 1940) was an executive of railroads in the United States.

Loree was born on April 23, 1858, at Fulton City, Illinois, the son of William Mulford and Sarah Elizabeth Marsh Loree. He died September 6, 1940, at West Orange, New Jersey. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Rutgers College in 1877, a Master of Science from Rutgers in 1880, Civil Engineering degree from Rutgers in 1896 and a Doictor of Law degree from Rutgers in 1917. He also obtained a Doctor of Engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1933. He was President of the Delaware & Hudson Railroad; had interests in Kansas City Southern, Baltimore and Ohio, New York Central, and the Rock Island Railroads. Was a Trustee at Rutgers University from 1909–1940 and was Chairmain of the Rutgers Board of Trustees Committee on New Jersey College for Women (now Douglass College) until 1938. He was the donor of the New Jersey College for Women Athletic Field (which is now Antilles Field). Rutgers has a building named after Leonor Fresnel Loree. The Loree Building was erected in 1963 and is on the Cook/Douglass campus. More information about Loree including a picture can be found in the book "New Jersey - A History" Volume 5 which is available in the Rutgers University Special Collections and University Archives. There is also information on Loree in the book "Who's Who in New Jersey" from 1939. This information was provided to me, a living descendant of Leonor F. Loree, by Rutgers University. If there are any further questions, please feel free to contact me at: aqualynaz@yahoo.com

In 1923, Loree was a principal founder of The Newcomen Society in North America, a learned society promoting engineering, technology and free enterprise.

Historical contributions[edit]

The New Jersey College For Women- There is quite the history behind this particular college. To fully explain the pivotal role my great great Grandfather played in the creation of the New Jersey College For Women, I need to begin with World War One. At the outbreak of World War One in 1914, many wealthy Americans traveling in Europe were cut off from safe passage home including L. F. Loree. He himself, along with his family, were vacationing in the French Alps. Under many difficulties many other Americans faced that summer, my Great Great Grandfather and his family made their way through Switzerland to Genoa. Upon arrival, they found no prospects of ships or ships traveling to the United States. By cable, Leonor chartered the Southern Pacific Steamship "Antilles," in coastwise service at the time, to bring all of the 252 stranded Americans from Genoa that wanted to return home. There were many others that requested passage but the ship had already been re-equipped to provide accommodations to the largest number of people that could be carried aboard. The ship, on its way home, was crowded with all of the passengers. In fact it was so crowded that Grandfather Loree and half a dozen other men slept on benches in the pilot house. After returning the Americans home, the ship was used by the government as a mode of transportation until the day it was out of commission. My grandfather, at the time, had the idea of starting a college for women. As a Trustee for Rutgers University, he finally was able to sway the Board towards allowing him to establish one such college. The authorization, however, was approved upon the condition that no monies or funds would come from the Rutgers budget. This, of course, did not stop him. When my grandfather wanted something, he always found a way to make it happen. He placed Marie Katzenbach, wife of the State's Attorney General, as his secretary and also enlisted Mabel Smith Douglass, chosen to be the college's first Dean. Both ladies were able to gather considerable support and influence of the State Federation of Women Clubs, coincidentally an organization that Mrs. Katzenbach chaired. One year after returning to the states, the passengers of the "Antilles" had arranged for a dinner in Leonor's honor and wished to present him with the Antilles Bowl. Ever the opportunist, my grandfather asked to invite some friends. Of course, they gave their permission. Taking advantage, every guest he himself invited became past, present and future contributors to the college. At the dinner, the ballroom was filled to capacity when he approached the stage to make his acceptance speech. After giving the speech my grandfather gazed significantly at the bowl and stated, "Unacceptable! I want it returned full of money. The ladies at NJC need our help!" Of course, he got what he wanted. The bowl was returned to him with sizable checks from each guest in attendance. In recognition of their generosity, he asked that the athletic field at NJC which they helped him build be named Antilles Field. Ten years later in 1925, the field was dedicated.

In 1903, Loree, along with Frank PJ Patenall, received U. S. Patent #733,981,[2] for the upper quadrant semaphore. This soon became the most widely used form of railroad lineside signal in North America. Railroads continued to install them until the 1940s.

"This is a helluva way to run a railroad!"[edit]

In 1906 a committee of creditors asked Leonor to take charge of the Kansas City Southern Railroad. At the time it was considered no more than "two streaks of rust, its engines lost steam the men were disheartened and the stations were shacks." After Mr. Loree gave his initial inspection, in a speech in front of the financial community, he ended his professional and technical description of the railroad line by stating, "This is a helluva way to run a railroad". Within three years after accepting the Chairmanship Loree turned it into what they call a banner railroad of the Southwest.


  • The Loree Building at Rutgers University is named after him.
  • There was a coal colliery named after him in Larksville, PA.
  • There were several locomotives named after him.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kansas City Southern Historical Society. "Saga of the Kansas City Southern Lines". Retrieved 2006-09-06. 
  2. ^ "Patent US733981"[full citation needed]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
David Wilcox
President of Delaware and Hudson Railway
1907 – 1938
Succeeded by
Joseph H. Nuelle
Preceded by
Job A. Edson
President of Kansas City Southern Railway
1918 – 1920
Succeeded by
Job A. Edson