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SharePrint Media File

Type: Video

Series Title West Virginia: A Film History

Filmmaker Mark Samels

Company West Virginia Humanities Council

Format DVD


In the spring of 1870, work began on the extension of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad through southern West Virginia. The project was the brainchild of the railroad’s president, Collis Potter Huntington. Born into poverty, Huntington had peddled jewelry in the Midwest and butter in New York before making a fortune selling supplies to miners during California’s Gold Rush.

He is a hard and cheery old man, wrote a colleague, with no more soul than a shark. Huntington’s only weakness seemed to be his growing baldness. He wore black skullcaps everywhere to hide his lack of hair.

Now Huntington’s goal was to build his own transcontinental railroad, and he pursued it ruthlessly.

John Hankey: At a time when people were thinking more in terms of what is in the next county and where can I make my next ten bucks, Huntington was thinking what is in the next state and the next state beyond that and where can I make my next ten million.

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