A Huntington Among the Big Four

As a former Southern Pacific employee and history buff, I was astonished to learn in Zan Thompson's article on Sam Girdler ("A Grand Passion for Restoration," June 10) that Henry E. Huntington was one of the Big Four, along with Mark Hopkins, Leland Stanford and Charles Crocker.

Henry was the nephew of Collis P. Huntington and it was the latter who belonged to the Big Four, and was in fact its driving force. Henry was indeed famous in his own right, opening up Southern California through real estate promotion and operation of light rail lines; Collis was a heavy-duty entrepreneur with his development of the Central Pacific, part of the first transcontinental line, and later the Southern Pacific.

Zan Thompson's article, notwithstanding, was fun to read; there are literally thousands of people restoring special-interest cars and antiques, but the Huntingtons must be smiling down on Sam Girdler from that big roundhouse in the sky because he's taking on a whole railroad!



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