William Barstow Strong

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William Barstow Strong
William Barstow Strong.jpg
Born(1837-05-16)May 16, 1837
DiedAugust 3, 1914(1914-08-03) (aged 77)
Spouse(s)Abbie J. Moore

William Barstow Strong (May 16, 1837 – August 3, 1914) served as president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway from 1881 to 1889.[1][2][3] He is often referred to as either William B. Strong or W. B. Strong.

Life and career[edit]

He was born in Brownington, Vermont on May 16, 1837.[2][4] Strong graduated from Bell's Business College in Chicago, Illinois, in 1855, and soon launched his career in railroading. His first railroad job was as a station agent for the Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad,[5] a position that was introduced to him by his older brother James.

He married Abbie J. Moore, October 2, 1859, in Beloit, Wisconsin. They had three children, a girl and two boys.[6]

He worked his way through several railroad jobs successively for the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway, McGregor Western Railway, Chicago and North Western Railway, Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (CB&Q), and as superintendent of the Michigan Central Railroad in the 1870s. In this position, Strong was succeeded by Henry Brockholst Ledyard in 1876.[7] He returned to the CB&Q after working on the Michigan Central and then joined the management team of the Santa Fe as General Manager, and was promoted to Vice President within a month.[2]

On July 12, 1881, he succeeded T. Jefferson Coolidge as president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (ATSF).[2] Under his tenure, the ATSF expanded to about 7,000 miles (11,265 km) of right-of-way, which at the time made the ATSF the largest railroad in North America.[5] He held the presidency until his retirement in 1889.[2]

The city of Barstow, California, where the ATSF maintained extensive shop and equipment construction and repair facilities, the town of Strong City, Kansas, and Stronghurst, Illinois are named in his honor.[8][9]

Other uses of the name William Barstow Strong[edit]

William Barstow Strong was the name of an observation car owned by the ATSF and operated in business trains in the latter part of the 20th century.[10]

William B. Strong was included in a list of names that traveled aboard NASA's Stardust spacecraft which visited the comet Wild 2 in 2004.[11]

An observation car on the Royal Gorge Scenic Railway in Colorado is named William B. Strong.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ White, John H. Jr. (Spring 1986). "America's Most Noteworthy Railroaders". Railroad History. 154: 9–15. ISSN 0090-7847. JSTOR 43523785. OCLC 1785797.
  2. ^ a b c d e Waters, Laurence Leslie (1950). Steel Trails to Santa Fe. Lawrence, Kansas: University of Kansas Press. p. 54.
  3. ^ The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway and Auxiliary Companies - Annual Meetings, and Directors and Officers; January 1, 1902
  4. ^ "Infoplease.com". William Barstow Strong. Retrieved 2007-01-10.
  5. ^ a b Pearson Education (2005). "William Barstow Strong". Retrieved 2005-06-02.
  6. ^ "Rootsweb - WI Rock-L Archives". William Barstow Strong. Retrieved 2007-01-10.
  7. ^ Burton, Clarence M. & Burton, M. Agnes (1930). History of Wayne County and the City of Detroit, Michigan, Vol III; Henry Brockholst Ledyard. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company. External link in |title= (help)
  8. ^ "Barstow, California - Crossroads of opportunity". Legends of America.com. 2005. Archived from the original on 2005-05-25. Retrieved 2005-06-02.
  9. ^ "Strong City, Kansas". Retrieved 2005-06-02.
  10. ^ "ATSF #89, William Barstow Strong". 2003. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
  11. ^ NASA (July 16, 2001). "Stardust Project - Microchip Names (S)". Retrieved 2005-06-02.
  12. ^ "Heath Gay". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2019-11-19.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Superintendent of the Michigan Central Railroad
Succeeded by
Henry Brockholst Ledyard
Preceded by
T. Jefferson Coolidge
President of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
Succeeded by
Allen Manvel