b. 1807
d. 1875
Aspinwall, born in 1807, took control of a powerful New York shipping firm during the 1830s. He acquired the US Mail contract between Panama and the Oregon Territory in 1848, and organized the Pacific Mail Steamship Company to provide service for it. The California Gold Rush caused the concern to flourish, and it negotiated for coal for its steamers from Vancouver Island.
In 1850 Aspinwall organized the Panama Railroad Company and pushed a line across the isthmus in five years. The Atlantic terminus, Colon, became known as Aspinwall. After retiring from business in 1856, Aspinwall founded the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and played a role in the establishment of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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