Huntington (February 27, 1850–May 23, 1927) was a railroad magnate and
business leader. He was the nephew of Collis P. Huntington, one of The Big
Four, the men instrumental in the creation of the transcontinental
railway. Huntington held several executive positions working alongside his
uncle with the Southern Pacific Railway.
Huntington died in 1900, he left one-third of his estate to Henry.
Yielding to the importunities of E. H. Harriman of the Union Pacific, they
sold control of the Southern Pacific to him in 1902. For several years
prior to Collis Huntington's death, Henry Huntington had become
increasingly concerned with the management of electric Street railways in
California, and turned his full attention to these endeavors after 1902.
He had first become interested in the street railways of San Francisco,
bringing about a great expansion in the system before he sold it in 1898.
Turning his attention to Los Angeles, he began buying transportation lines
there, and transferred his headquarters to the city in 1902. Finding
inadequate local service in Los Angeles and vicinity when he entered the
field, he connected, consolidated, and then extended the existing lines
until, in about ten years, he had created an interurban system surpassing
anything of its kind hitherto known. In addition to this "Orange Empire"
as it was called, he organized the Los Angeles railway system, providing
service within the city.
roads were consolidated into the Pacific Electric Railway Company, which
at its peak operated over 1,200 miles of track, and about 700 route miles
of service. It was the largest intercity electric railway in the United
States, and represented an investment of some $200 million. Huntington
shared ownership of the Pacific Electric with the Southern Pacific and
Harriman until 1911 when disagreements with the latter caused him to sell
the road to the Southern Pacific. He retained control, however, of the Los
Angeles Railway, an 83 mile city system which used a narrow gauge 3'-6"
track (as opposed to the standard gauge for the Pacific Electric). He
controlled the road until his death, when it went into his estate.
[ From the website of the Electric Railway
Historical Association ]