The Curse of California

Icon Jun 5, 2010

“The Curse of California” by G. Frederick Keller, published in The Wasp, 19th of August 1882, vol 9, No 316, pp. 520-521. Photo by Rick MacPherson of poster in Oakland Museum, California.

This is only a quick overview for now.

The Curse of California, Southern Pacific Railway.

“Somewhere from within the blank mugs of those railroad barons (or in spite of them) projects the image of the modern faceless corporation… the behemoth, unique, beyond the limit, extension of man.” – Eva’s Outlaws: Californian Train Robbers, “Railroad Monopoly as The Octopus”, published 30th of April 2009.

The text below and accompanying image (external link) is from: National Humanities Center, “The Image of the Octopus, six drawings, 1882-1909” (PDF). 

Nob Hill: the neighborhood of the San Francisco powered elite, showing Mansion of Charles Croker (Southern Pacific Railway magnate).

Wheat Export

Wheat Ware House

U.S. Bonds

Mark Hopkins & Leland Stanford (Southern Pacific Railway magnates)

Stage Lines

Lumber Dealers


Fruit Growers

“Killed by the Railroad Monster”


Mussel Slough: 1880 shoot out between farmers and federal marshals overland disputes with the Southern Pacific Railway; climax of the 1901 Frank Norris novel The Octopus.

The Farmers