Mark Hopkins

merchant, railroad developer
Born: 9/3/1814
Birthplace: Richmond County, Va.

An astute businessman, Hopkins looked upon the California Gold Rush in 1849 originally for its mining opportunities, but quickly determined that selling supplies to miners would be more profitable. He and Collis Huntington opened an iron and hardware store in 1854 in Sacramento, where the two began networking with political figures of the day, including Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, and Theodore Judah. When Judah devised a plan for a transcontinental railroad, Hopkins, Stanford, Crocker, and Huntington formed the Central Pacific Railroad (1861) to build it. Hopkins served as treasurer, and oversaw the completion of the railroad linking East and West at Promontory, Utah in 1869.

Died: 3/29/1878