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1863

Big Four Take Charge of Central Pacific

CP was led by "The Associates," familiarly known as the "Big Four," who pushed the project to completion with its share of rancor and scandal. Leland Stanford became president and later served as California governor and U.S. senator. He founded Stanford University in honor of his son, who died at 16. Collis Huntington, vice president, secured suppliers for the railroad and attracted investors to fund it. Charles Crocker was head of construction and got the railroad built through torturous terrain. Mark Hopkins handled the railroad's accounts and maintained harmony among the three younger men. The Big Four organized Southern Pacific Company in 1885 and leased the Southern Pacific and Central Pacific, which gradually lost its identity.

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