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The Railroad War That Shaped The Modern West

Los Angeles First Railroad.jpg
The first railroad into Los Angeles, ca. 1880. LA population was under 12,000.

It's only been a couple of years since the country observed the 150th anniversary of THE golden spike ceremony: the completion of the transcontinental railroad, celebrated in Utah.

That line pointed toward San Francisco, already a big, important city. Contrast that with Los Angeles, 1870 population under 6,000. What changed to make L.A. so huge over the coming decades? Another railroad took a different route to the Pacific from the east.

And it was quite a fight with another line, as described in John Sedgwick's book From the River to the Sea: The Untold Story of the Railroad War That Made the West. The author visits with an overview of the Rio Grande-vs-Santa Fe fight and how it unfolded.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. John Baxter is the senior producer, Angela Decker is the producer and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.