Stanford, (Amasa) Leland

Stanford, (Amasa) Leland
born March 9, 1824, Watervliet, N.Y., U.S.
died June 21, 1893, Palo Alto, Calif.

U.S. entrepreneur, a builder of the first transcontinental railroad.

He practiced law in Wisconsin before settling in Sacramento, Calif., where he built a successful retail business in mining supplies and became active in local politics. He served as governor of California (1861–63). He invested heavily in the plan to build a transcontinental railroad, and when the Central Pacific Railroad was organized in 1861 he became its president (1863–93). During his tenure its track was built eastward to join that of the Union Pacific at Promontory, Utah (1869), and he played a major role in further railroad development in California and the Southwest. From 1885 to 1893 he served in the U.S. Senate. He and his wife, Jane, founded Stanford University in 1885.

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Universalium. 2010.