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 William Wheelwright

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William Wheelwright

American promoter and entrepreneur. The son of a seafaring trading family, he pioneered the first railroads and steamship companies in South America. The first railroad was the 51-mile route from Caldera to Copiapó in Chile, constructed between 1849 and 1852. When Chilean officials showed no interest in extending the railroad over the Andes into Argentina, Wheelwright moved to that country and with British financial backing built the Argentine Central Railroad between Rosario and Córdoba, started in 1863 and completed in 1870. He then developed the La Plata portworks with a connecting railroad to Buenos Aires in 1872. Prior to his railroad-building, he had founded, again with British financial backing, the Pacific Steamship Navigation Company, and in 1840, the 700-ton steamers, Chile and Peru, negotiated the Straits of Magellan to begin the service from Callao to Valparaiso. He also developed the first telegraph lines in South America. He died at age 75 in London.

Bio by: Bob on Gallows Hill


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob on Gallows Hill
  • Added: 22 Apr 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 14032526
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Wheelwright (18 Mar 1798–26 Sep 1873), Find A Grave Memorial no. 14032526, citing Oak Hill Cemetery, Newburyport, Essex County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .