Today, the name Mark Hopkins is most associated with the Mark Hopkins Hotels in San Francisco
, but in the nineteenth century, Hopkins was one of the Big Four
of western railroading.
Born on September 1, 1813 in Henderson, New York and dying in 1878 in San Francisco, California, Mark Hopkins was a merchant of iron and hardware in California during the gold rush period. In 1861 Mark Hopkins formed the Central Pacific Rail road with Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker and Collis Huntington. Mark Hopkins served as treasurer for the Central Pacific Rail road throughout the construction period until his death in 1878.