Guide to the Burlington Northern Railroad Company Records

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Burlington Northern Railroad Company
Title: Burlington Northern Railroad Company Records
Dates: 1876-1971 ( inclusive )
Quantity: approximately 9 linear feet
Location of Collection: See at accession level
Collection Number: 1972.5375_1983.12_1986.19
Summary: Records, including photographs, of the Burlington Northern Railroad and its predecessor companies.
Repository: Museum of History & Industry, Sophie Frye Bass Library
Contact Information: Sophie Frye Bass Library
Museum of History & Industry
P.O. Box 80816
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-324-1126
Fax: 206-780-1533
Languages: Collection materials are in English. 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

The Burlington Northern Railroad was a product of the merger of the Great Northern Railway, the Northern Pacific Railway, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, and the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway in 1970. In 1996, the Burlington Northern merged with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway to become the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway.

Content Description

The Burlington Northern Railroad Company Records is comprised of 3 accessions and includes Burlington Northern Railroad Company record books (1876-1971), Great Northern Railway account books (1922-1924), and a series of Northern Pacific Railway Company notebooks of photographs showing joint facilities with other railroads (1931-1935).

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

The collection is open to the public by appointment.

Restrictions on Use :  

The Museum of History & Industry is the owner of the materials in the Sophie Frye Bass Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from MOHAI before any reproduction use. The museum does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation :  

Burlington Northern Railroad Company Records, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

Arranged in 3 accesssions:

  • Accession No. 1972.5375, Burlington Northern Railroad Company record books and other material, 1876-1971
  • Accession No. 1983.12, Great Northern Railway account books, 1922-1924
  • Accession No. 1986.19, Northern Pacific Railway Company joint facilities notebooks, 1931-1935

Related Materials :  

The Railroad Employee Timetable Collection (Accession No. 1983.75, including several interfiled accessions) includes employee timetables for northwest United States and Canadian railroads, 1862-2000.

The James C. Mattson Collection on Northwest Railroads (Accession Nos. 1985.52, 1989.8, 1989.14, 1995.47, 1990.60, 2002.2, and 2007.48) includes photograph albums and Official List of Officers, Agents and Stations booklets from the Great Northern Railway, Northern Pacific Railway AFE register copies, railroad company annual reports and northwest railroad passenger timetables.

Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

accession no. 1972.5375:  Burlington Northern Railroad Company record books and other material, 1876-1971
10 boxes  ( 5 linear feet)

Documents relating to the Burlington Northern Railroad Company and its predecessor companies: Seattle and Walla Walla Railroad, Columbia and Puget Sound Railroad Company, Pacific Coast Railroad Company and the Oregon Improvement Company. The Pacific Coast Railroad Company series includes records documenting the takeover of the PCRR by Great Northern.

1 5375.1: Record book of the Seattle and Walla Walla Railroad
1 volume
Handwritten book with title page inscribed "Records pertaining to the Seattle and Walla Walla Railroad - H. Villard, Purchaser." This volume appears to be a copy from original records, made for Henry Villard sometime after the Seattle and Walla Walla was purchased by Villard's Oregon Improvement Company and renamed the Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad.
1876 August 14- 1881 February 18
Columbia and Puget Sound Railroad
1 5375.2: Corporate minutes and other records
1 volume
1884 October 18-1891 May
2 5375.3: Corporate minutes and other records
1 volume
1889 November 21-1896 April 23
2 5375.4: Corporate minutes and other records
1 volume
1896 June 19-1901 May 27
3 5375.5: Records and correspondence
1 volume
1901 May 19-1904 March 23
3 5375.6: Records and correspondence
1 volume
1904 March 24-1906 March 3
4 5375.7: Records and correspondence
1 volume
1906 March 9-1912 May 12
5 5375.8: Records and correspondence
1 volume
1912 May 27-1917 January 23
1 5375.23: "Index to the records of the Columbia & Puget Sound Railroad"
1 volume
Handwritten index in alphabetized, bound index book, but with few entries
Pacific Coast Railroad Company (PCRR)
6 5375.9: Corporate minutes
1 volume
1917 April 23-1932 May 17
7 5375.10: Corporate minutes and correspondence
1 volume
1932 June 15-1959 September 11
6 5375.11: Corporate minutes
1 volume
1959 December-1970 February
9 5375.16: Correspondence
1 volume
1947 September 11-1971 February 10
9 5375.17a: Report on Great Northern acquistion of PCRR
Includes correspondence
1950 May 16-1950 July 20
9 5375.17b: Great Northern Board of Directors minutes regarding PCRR 1950 August 10
9 5375.17c: PCRR map - "Condensed profile Seattle to Black Diamond" 1957 September
9 5375.18: Great Northern option and offer to buy PCRR
Includes correspondence
1950 June 26-October 3
9 5375.19: Great Northern takeover documents 1950 September 11-1957 March 19
10 5375.20a: Takeover statements and correspondence 1951 April 16-1970 February 9
10 5375.20b: Application of Bruce Anderson to the Interstate Commerce Commission to become officer of more than one carrier
Related to the Great Northern takeover of PCRR
1968 November 8
10 5375.21: Stock purchase contract and related correspondence -- Great Northern/PCRR 1951 October-1968 February 13
10 5375.22: Agreements between Great Northern and PCRR 1951 November 4-1968 February 13
Oregon Improvement Company / Pacific Coast Company
The Oregon Improvement Company defaulted in 1893 and was reorganized under the name Pacific Coast Company.
8 5375.12: Purchasing agent records for Oregon Improvement Co.
1 volume
1892 March 11-1894 October 11
8 5375.13: Purchasing agent records for Oregon Improvement Co.
1 volume
Includes index
1894 October 5-1897 June 21
8 5375.14: Purchasing agent records for Oregon Improvement Co. and Pacific Coast Co.
1 volume
Includes index
1897 June 21-1898-August 10
8 5375.15: Purchasing agent records for Pacific Coast Co.
1 volume
Includes index
1889 August 11-1899 August 16

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accession no. 1983.12:  Great Northern Railway account books, 1922-1924
Great Northern Railway Company (U.S.)  ( creator)
2 ledger books
1 Great Northern Railway, King Street Station ledger 1923-1924
1 Great Northern Railway ledger 1921-1924

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accession no. 1986.19:  Northern Pacific Railway Company joint facilities notebooks, 1931-1935
Northern Pacific Railway Company  ( creator)
13 volumes

Thirteen 3 ring binders, each 9.25"x14", containing a photographic record of Northern Pacific joint facilities with other railroads. The photographs were taken in 1927-1929 and the notebooks prepared in 1931-1935. Each photograph is labelled with letters and numbers corresponding to features; the accompanying key includes detailed descriptions of each signal, switch, sign and track depicted. The notebooks also include copies of the text of contracts covering joint use of lines

1 Tacoma Division - Tacoma 1931-1935
2 Tacoma Division - Tacoma to Roy via South Tacoma 1931-1935
3 Tacoma Division - Roy to Tenino and Tacoma to Nisqually 1931-1935
4 Tacoma Division - Nisqually to Centralia 1931-1935
5 Tacoma Division - Centralia to Olequa 1931-1935
6 Tacoma Division - Olequa to Woodland 1931-1935
7 Tacoma Division - American Lake Line and Woodland to Vancouver 1931-1935
8 Tacoma Division - Grays Harbor Line 1931-1935
9 Rocky Mountain Division - Butte to Missoula 1931-1935
10 Seattle Division - Tacoma to Orillia 1931-1935
11 Seattle Division - Black River to Seattle 1931-1935
12 Seattle Division - Seattle 1931-1935
13 Seattle Division - Seattle and Everett 1931-1935

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This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

    • Geographical Names :
    • Northwest, Pacific
    • Subject Terms :
    • Railroads --United States--Records
      • Form or Genre Terms :
      • Account books
      • Photograph albums
      • Other Creators :
      • Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation
      • Great Northern Railway Company (U.S.)
      • Northern Pacific Railway Company

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