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Great Desert Railroad Race
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Great Desert Railroad Race

Price per Unit (piece): $20.00


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Approx. 50 Minutes

It was a battle between two kings. The Borax King, Francis Marion Smith and The copper King, William Andrews Clark. The goal was to build a great railroad that would penetrate deep into the heart of America’s most formidable desert and reach the booming gold fields and newly struck borax mines near Death Valley. Smith wanted to beat his rival, Clark and the Las Vegas and Tonopah line which he was starting from the tiny town of Las Vegas and moving through Pahrump Valley toward the boomtowns. Smith was running his Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad through the heart of the Death Valley country. The race began in 1905 and by 1907 it was all over: the race, the gold rush and both railroads were nearly bankrupt. But the Tonopah and Tidewater hung on for another 30 years and outlasted Clark’s line by nearly 20. The Tonopah and Tidewater became one of the West’s most beloved railroads. This is the story of how two men’s ambition changed the face of the great Mojave Desert, bringing civilization and life to the valley named Death.




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