Big Four (Central Pacific Railroad)

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The Big Four was the name popularly given to the businessmen and philanthropists who built the Central Pacific Railroad, the western portion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in the United States.[1] Composed of Leland Stanford, Collis Potter Huntington, Mark Hopkins, and Charles Crocker, the four preferred to be known as "The Associates."[2]


Collectively, the four philanthropically established the Sacramento Library Association in 1857.[3]

David Hewes, an enterprising businessman, was called the "maker of San Francisco" for his work in clearing land for development. He was invited to be a part of the Big Four but declined due to the financial risks. Over his lifetime he gained and lost several fortunes.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

Ambrose Bierce included characters based on the Big Four in his work Black Beetles in Amber as Sootymug (Hopkins), Happy Hunty (Huntington), Cowboy Charley (Crocker) and Leland, The Kid (Stanford).[5]


  1. ^ Yenne, Bill (1985). The History of the Southern Pacific. Bison Books. pp. 10–11. ISBN 0-517-46084-X. 
  2. ^ Galloway, John Debo, C.E. The First Transcontinental Railroad New York: Simmons-Boardman Co. (1950) Ch. 4
  3. ^ "ABOUT US". Sacramento Public Library. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  4. ^ Camron-Stanford House Preservation Association: David Hewes and family
  5. ^ Bierce, Ambrose. "Black Beetles in Amber". Archived from the original on 29 May 2006. Retrieved 2006-05-17. 

External links[edit]