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Page:Oregon Historical Quarterly volume 12.djvu/182

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174 . F. G. YOUNG nomadic population on its western borders, determined that all the earlier schemes for a transcontinental highway neces- sarily contemplated its western terminus at the mouth of the Columbia, or at the head of the navigation of that river. The age-long lure of the oriental trade, for which no better passage- way seemed to offer itself than this almost uninterrupted line of waterways across the continent, strongly reinforced the de- sire for the construction of a railway to the Pacific North- west Coast. 5. The Pacific Northwest, however, was destined to be eclipsed. The acquisition of California, just to the south of this region, and the discovery of rich mines of gold there leading to a rapid filling up of that part of the Coast by Amer- ican settlers, about 1850, brought about the side-tracking of the region to the north. The Sacramento Valley and San Fran- cisco Bay were alone, from that time on, seriously considered as the terminus of the proposed first transcontinental railway. The development of the Pacific Northwest tarried. The less glittering prizes offered through farming and grazing could overcome the drawback of isolation only with the few inher- ently restless. The cumulative effect of these conditions of remoteness of this region from settled portions of the country to the east and to the south, and of its slow development by a farming and grazing population, was to confine its progress in securing of transportation for a long time mainly to that of opening rail connections with the larger masses of population in California and on the Atlantic side of the continent. Only just recently has a vigorous beginning been made on the features of a system of transportation for the region itself.