The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum
Leland Stanford

Amasa Leland Stanford (1824 – 1893) was an American tycoon, industrialist, politician and founder of Stanford University. Migrating to California from New York at the time of the Gold Rush, he became a successful merchant and wholesaler, and continued to build his business empire. He served one two-year term as governor of California after his election in 1861, and later eight years as senator from the state. As president of Southern Pacific and, beginning in 1861, Central Pacific (CPRR), he had tremendous power in the region and a lasting impact on California. 

In May 1868, he joined Lloyd Tevis, Darius Ogden Mills, H.D. Bacon, Hopkins, and Charles Crocker in forming the Pacific Union Express Company, which merged with Wells Fargo and Company in 1870.  As head of the railroad company that built the western portion of the “First Transcontinental Railroad” over the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, Nevada, and Utah, Stanford presided at the ceremonial driving of “Last Spike” in Promontory, Utah on May 10th, 1869.