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THEODORE DEHONE JUDAH On the green lawn in front of the station building of the Southern Pacific Railroad in the city of Sacramento, the capitol of California, stands one of the few monuments erected in America to the memory of an engineer.Fittingly, the monument is made of massive granite boulders from the high Sierra Nevada, the snowy summits of which can be seen from the capital city on a clear day.The history of the Central Pacific Railroad begins with Judah, and in the years before his early death that history was largely involved with his efforts in business and legislative matters as well as with the expected engineering problems.Theodore Dehone Judah was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on March 4, 1826, and he died in New York, November 2, 1863, at thirty-seven years of age.
Besides Theodore, there were two other sons, Henry M.Judah was in Buffalo in charge of construction on the Buffalo and New York Railroad, now a part of the Erie System, when he was called to California to take charge of the Sacramento Valley Railroad.The Sacramento Valley Railroad was built from Sacramento along the sloping plain eastward to the town of Folsom. There were no difficulties in the construction and only one small creek had to be bridged.GROUND WAS BROKEN FOR THE RAILROAD JANUARY 8, 1863, AT THE FOOT OF K STREET NEARBY. THE ROAD WAS BUILT PAST THE SITE OF THIS MONUMENT, OVER THE LOFTY SIERRA-ALONG THE LINE OF JUDAH'S SURVEY-TO A JUNCTION WITH THE UNION PACIFIC AT PROMONTORY, UTAH, WHERE ON MAY 10, 1869, THE "LAST SPIKE" WAS DRIVEN.More than two thirds of a century had passed after Judah left the scene of his labors in the mountains of California before his name was perpetuated by the memorial.