Credit Foncier of America

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Credit Foncier of America
Industry Financing, railroads, real estate
Fate Bankrupt
Founded 1866
Defunct 1870s
Headquarters Omaha, Nebraska
Denver, Colorado
Tacoma, Washington
Key people
George Francis Train

Credit Foncier of America was a late 19th-century financing and real estate company in Omaha, Nebraska. The company existed primarily to promote the townsites along the Union Pacific Railroad,[1] and was incorporated by a special act of the Nebraska Legislature in 1866.[2][3] Credit Foncier was said to be "intimately connected with all the early towns along the Union Pacific."[4]

While related to George Francis Train's Crédit Mobilier company, Credit Foncier was not involved in the Crédit Mobilier scandals that tore that organization apart.[5]


Founded, controlled, and initially owned by eccentric railroad booster George Francis Train, Credit Foncier was named after Credit Foncier de France.[6] Along with support from businessman Cyrus McCormick,[7] Omaha banker Augustus Kountze was among the original "special commissioners" appointed by the Legislature to form the company.[3] The company is said to have been organized to "profitably dispose" of the Union Pacific's land grant acreage.[5]

The company owned almost 5000 lots in Omaha; 1000 in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and several hundred in Columbus, Nebraska, along with other land along the Union Pacific mainline.[8][9] Train once explained, "One of my plans was the creation of a chain of great towns across the continent, connecting Boston and San Francisco by a highway of magnificent cities."[10] The company built a hotel it called the "Credit Foncier" in Cleveland, Nebraska in 1868; it was moved to Columbus the next year. George Train, with so much land in the city, predicted a great future for Columbus.[11] Train is credited with writing newspaper articles and delivering speeches in which he promoted the town, calling it, "Columbus, the new center of the Union and quite probably the future capital of the U.S.A."[12]

Train served as president of the company; George P. Bemis, who later became mayor of Omaha, was the secretary.[13] Train built the Cozzens House Hotel in Omaha. He also developed a tract at the southern edge of Omaha, originally called "Train Town" for its owner and still entitled "Credit Foncier Addition" in city records. This yielded Train "a small fortune" as he sold homes and empty lots to new settlers.[14]

Train later moved the headquarters of Credit Foncier to Denver, Colorado, and again to Tacoma, Washington. Along with Omaha, Train promised each city it would become the "gleaming metropolis" of the Union Pacific.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Reps, John W. (1992) [First published 1965]. The Making of Urban America. A History of City Planning in the United States. Princeton University Press. p. 402. ISBN 978-0691006185. 
  2. ^ Morton, A. (1966) The Great American Land Bubble: The Amazing Story of Land-grabbing. Johnson Reprint Corp. p 290.
  3. ^ a b Morton, J.S., et al. (1918) History of Nebraska. Western Publishing and Engraving Company. p 349.
  4. ^ Quiett, G.C. (1939) They Built the West: An Epic of Rails and Cities. D. Appleton-Century Company, incorporated. p 157.
  5. ^ a b McCague, J. (1964) Moguls and Iron Men: The Story of the First Transcontinental Railroad. Harper and Row. p 135.
  6. ^ Holland, P.G. (nd) "George Francis Train and the Woman Suffrage Movement, 1867-70". University of Iowa. Retrieved 4/10/08.
  7. ^ Montgomery, D. (1961) Beyond Equality: Labor and the Radical Republicans, 1862-1872. University of Illinois Press. p 21.
  8. ^ Larsen, Lawrence H.; Cottrell, Barbara J.; Dalstrom, Harl A.; Dalstrom, Kay Calamé (2007). Upstream Metropolis: An Urban Biography of Omaha and Council Bluffs. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-8032-8002-1. 
  9. ^ Curry, M. (1950) The History of Platte County, Nebraska. Murray & Gee. p. 45.
  10. ^ Train, G.F. (1902, 2007) My life in many states and in foreign. Kessinger Publishing, LLC.
  11. ^ "Platte County," Andreas' history of Nebraska. Retrieved 4/10/08.
  12. ^ Howard, R.W. (1962) The Great Iron Trail: The Story of the First Transcontinental Railroad. Putnam. p. 206.
  13. ^ White, J.T. (1893) The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. J. T. White company. p 557.
  14. ^ Stanley, H.M. (1895) My Early Travels and Adventures in America and Asia. C. Scribner's Sons. p 193.