Current Exhibitions / Collections on Loan


  Back to list of portraits
  Back to Portraits of American Railroading introduction
william p ogdenEnlarge William P. Ogden (1805-1877)

Elected the first mayor of Chicago in 1837, William B. Ogden was a shrewd businessman who made his fortune from well-timed Chicago real estate investments. But ultimately he realized the immense promise that his centrally located city had as a railroad hub for the nation, and by the mid-1840s he was focusing much of his time on developing railroads that ran in and out of Chicago. Among the lines over which he presided were the Chicago & Northwestern, the Illinois & Wisconsin, and the Buffalo & Mississippi. In 1850, knowing how much Chicago stood to benefit, Ogden chaired a convention calling for a transcontinental railroad. When the Union Pacific was organized in 1862 to make the transcontinental line a reality, he became its first president.

In this image, Ogden is seated at the center among the partners in one of his railroad enterprises

Alexander Hesler (1823-1895)
Albumenized salt print, circa 1857, after a daguerreotype
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution