November 17, 1863

Lincoln Order Establishes Initial Point

Just two days before President Lincoln was to speak at Gettysburg, he paused to issue an executive order that set the railroad’s eastern terminus in the frontier of the United States. In defining the starting point, he recalled his conversations with a young railroad engineer, Grenville Dodge, who was insistent that the railroad begin at Council Bluffs and follow the Platte Valley.

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On the basis of General Dodge’s surveys, Council Bluffs was selected as the eastern terminus to meet up with the anticipated Pacific Railroad.

In 2012, Union Pacific celebrates the shared stories that have shaped our country since 1862. To mark our 150th anniversary, we invite you to explore how the nation’s largest railroad came to be and how UP continues to build America with innovation and tenacity, touching the lives of nearly every citizen.