The Western Extension, 1871
We learn that the public spirited and indefatigable directors and Engineer of this international line [Western Extension] purpose having a formal opening from Saint John to Bangor early in October--the 11th, has been named as the day which is to unite NB with the States in the iron bonds of railroad matrimony. . . . The undertaking is regarded as a great commercial enterprise, and it is hoped will realize the fondest hopes of its promoters.
The opening of the Western Extension from Saint John to Bangor, which is to take place on Oct 18, will be an important event in the history of this province. It will then be joyfully connected in the iron banns of railway matrimony with the United States and the network of railways over the western continent. It is said that the President of the United States, Gen. Grant, and also General Sherman, Meade, and other distinguished Americans will be present, as well as Dominion high officials. It is to be regretted that a constitutional omission, prevents the President from leaving U. S. territory during his term of office; he cannot come further east than the line at St. Croix [later named Vanceboro], but will there meet with a hearty reception from Dominion hearts.
Dr. Tupper has purchased a small property in St. Andrews. (According to Willa Walker, it was in 1872 that Tupper purchased Highland Hill)
Description from “Carleton Sentinel” of economic advantages of Western Extension. See photocopy.
In a very few weeks at farthest, passengers may travel from Saint John to Bangor by Railway, and from thence to all parts of the United States, Canada, and to the far off Pacific coast. The opening, will no doubt be a grand affair, and worthy of the occasion. The highest officials in the Dominion and the States are to be present,--the President, Ge. Grant, and Lord Lisgar, Governor General, will preside at the collation, which we learn is to be spread on the Bridge over the St. Croix which is to be covered over for the purpose, leaving room on each side of the ponderous table for the guests. The President sitting at the head on the United States side, and Lord Lisgar at the foot on the Dominion side, each supported by Generals and Cabinet Ministers. We learn that arrangements have been made on a liberal scale to make the occasion an enthusiastic one, long to be remembered as the peaceful union by iron bands of two great countries.
It is not necessary now to refer to the large minds which first conceived the idea of connecting the Province with the United States by Railway, it remained for the energetic E. R. Burpee to push on and carry to a successful issue, the grand undertaking, not only on this side of the Line but in the States. While noticing the construction of Railways in this Province, of which the St. Andrews line was the pioneer and the difficulties and discouragement which beset the undertaking, the Carleton Sentinel thus refers to our line:--”The St. Andrews road has become a monument to the marvellous endurance and faith of its promoters--it has linked the St. Croix to the richest agricultural Counties in Maine and NB, and effected an alliance between the waters of St. Andrews Bay and the River Saint John. It has done more, traversing a tract of country, for the greater part having as little pretensions to promise or to hope as one can imagine, it has made that once desolate district a valley where have been developed sources of continuous and vast traffic for itself, the river, and of wealth as a return to those whose industry and enterprise have made the desert thus to rejoice.”
Account of opening of E&NA. See photocopy. Chairman notes line connects Boston with Halifax, and is now shortest line between London and San Francisco.
The chairman spoke as follows: “Gentlemen, On this boundary line between the two great nations, we cordially welcome the President of the United States and the Governor General of the Dominion of Canada and their peoples at the opening ceremonies of the European and North American Railway, which traverses from Bangor, Maine, to Saint John, NB--which is to connect by rail Halifax with Boston and New York, and which must forever to be shortest connecting link between London and San Francisco. In the comparatively near future, we look for a mighty stream of ocean travel between Europe and Asia across this continent, reaching the pacific, to the line of railway now finishing, and b other lines projected, some of which, it is now certain, will be completed in a few years, and all of which will find the shortest route to Europe on the railway you have been passing over today.”