The Union Pacific Railroad began in 1862 with the Pacific Railroad Act. The Act of Congress initiated the construction of new railroads west of the Missouri River to harness control of western resources during the American Civil War.
The Union Pacific was constructed west from Council Bluffs, Iowa. At the same time the Central Pacific was laid out east from San Francisco. The two lines met up at Promontory Summit in Utah in 1869 to much fanfare.
This detailed relief map of the western United States from Illinois to California was published in 1888 by G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co. It shows cities, towns, forts, boundaries, waterways and mountains. The Union Pacific Railroad and its branches are shown in red.
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