Irish Prince of the Iron Trails

"Give me enough dynamite and snoose and I'll build a road to Hell!"

-- M. J. Heney

Nature richly endowed Michael James Heney for the times in which he lived. Known as "Big Mike" to his railroad crews in Washington, Canada and Alaska, he was at home in the front-line construction tents. In the financial and social circles of Seattle, San Francisco, New York and London he was called the "Irish Prince." to his many friends he was simple "M. J." Mike Heney had those qualities that assured success on the western frontier at the turn of the century. Vision of the future prompted him to undertake projects shunned by less daring men. Although he lived on 45 years, he founded a city, amassed a fortune and inspired a best selling novel. Without technical training he built two railroads considered impossible by the leading engineers of his day. A ready Irish smile drew people to him and they became friends for life. Wherever "Big Mike" led, his workers followed; each proud to be "one of Heney's men."

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© 1996 Dr. Elizabeth Tower