One of the Big Four
who shaped California history and economy in the nineteenth century, Collis Potter Huntington was born in Harwinton, Connecticut, in 1821. Having prospered as a Sacramento
merchant, he helped finance the Central Pacific Railroad during the 1860's. This railroad was linked with the Union Pacific Railroad in 1869 to become the first transcontinental railroad. His railroad empire was extended through Southern California as the Southern Pacific.
Collis Huntington was the uncle of another noted California railroad executive, Henry E. Huntington.