The collection is comprised of records of the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad Company (1901-1976). The construction of this railroad led to the founding of Las Vegas, Nevada and the creation of the Empire Construction Company and Las Vegas Land and Water Company. The records document the company's operations and include correspondence and contracts relating to lots in the Las Vegas townsite, payments and accounts, invoices and other audit materials from 1905 to 1923. The collection also includes the records of the railroad agent at Arden Station, located ten miles south of the Las Vegas Station, which contain correspondence, ledgers, freight and way bills, shipping orders, and telegrams.
Finding Aid PDF
Scope and Contents Note
The San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad Company Records (1901-1976) are comprised of two series. The first series consists of the Los Angeles office files of H. I. (Horace Ingersoll) Bettis, Vice President and General Auditor of the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad and its subsidiary, the Las Vegas Land and Water Company. These records contain correspondence, contracts, title deeds and records of payment for town lots in Las Vegas as well as other financial and audit records from 1905 to 1923. The second series are the files of the railroad agent at Arden Station, located ten miles south of the Las Vegas Station, and contain station correspondence, accounting and car ledgers, freight and waybills, shipping orders, and telegrams. Also included in this series are materials related to the Union Pacific Railroad. Select material has been digitized for preservation purposes and is noted at the file level of this inventory.
Collection is open for research. Arrangements must be made in advance to access digital files; please contact UNLV Special Collections and Archives for additional information.
Materials in this collection may be protected by copyrights and other rights. See Reproductions and Use on the UNLV Special Collections and Archives website for more information about reproductions and permissions to publish.
These records are organized into two series:
Series I. Los Angeles office files of H. I. (Horace Ingersoll) Bettis, 1901-1941;
Series II. Arden Station records, 1904-1976.
Biographical / Historical Note
At the turn of the century, Montana copper-king and senator, William A. Clark, incorporated the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad, intending to connect the Los Angeles port of San Pedro, California with Salt Lake City, Utah. The Oregon Short Line, a subsidiary of E. H. Harriman's Union Pacific Railroad, also intended to develop a Salt Lake-Los Angeles route. After a frantic track-building race, Clark and Harriman resolved their differences and in 1903 signed an agreement on joint ownership of the Salt Lake route. The tracks reached the site of Las Vegas, Nevada from Utah in October 1904 and from California in January 1905. The town of Las Vegas, Nevada was founded at the division point on the railroad; it was surveyed and land plots were auctioned on May 15, 1905. The railroad established a subsidiary company, the Las Vegas Land and Water Company, to administer the townsite and other property, as well as its water. The railroad operated as the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad until 1921, when Clark sold his interest to the Union Pacific Railroad and retired.
Burbank, Jeff, "San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, ONE Nevada Online Encyclopedia," accessed 2019 February 01, http://www.onlinenevada.org/articles/san-pedro-los-angeles-and-salt-lake-railroad
San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad Company Records, 1901-1976. MS-00007. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
This collection is composed of two separate accessions: the San Pedro, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake Railroad and Subsidiaries Collection; accession numbers T-118, 77-222, donated by Robert G. Williams; and the Arden Station Collection; accession number T-183.
Material was processed in the 1980s by staff. In 2016, Joyce Moore revised and enhanced the finding aid to bring it up to current professional standards. In 2019, as part of an archival backlog elimination project, Melise Leech rehoused and arranged the materials, and revised the finding aid to bring it into compliance with current professional standards. Some items in this collection are digital surrogates. In 2019, due to insurmountable preservation issues, Jason Ayala digitized select materials from the collection for preservation purposes and discarded the originals.