|On getting the defaulted Beach contract in 1868, Dodge, Lord & Company arraigned with Thomas J. Peter of |
Cincinnati, one of the firm, whereby Peter became the assignee of Beach. Peter then contracted with the
members of his own firm to build the first twenty five miles of the road, from Topeka to Burlingame, Kansas.
When Thomas J. Peter first went out to Kansas to look over the initial project, he had misgivings about building
a railroad across Kansas. But after seeing vast herds of buffalo stretching across the plains, he concluded that
a soil which supported an infinite number of these animals could likewise support mankind.
Ground was broken for the first construction of the Santa Fe early in November of 1868. There was little
opening ceremony. A party of some twenty citizens assembled in Topeka at a spot where the company's shops
now stand and threw up a pile of dirt. There was some speech making with Senator E. G. Ross as the chief
orator. Col Holliday was to have said at the ceremony that the present people would live to see the road
completed to Santa Fe, New, Mexico. Laughter greeted the remark but it was not the first nor the last time
Col. Holliday's far reaching ambitions would be ridiculed.