Central Pacific Railway Co. v. Alameda County,
284 U.S. 463 (1932)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Central Pacific Railway Co. v. Alameda County, 284 U.S. 463 (1932)

Central Pacific Railway Co. v. Alameda County

No. 258

Argued January 7, 1932

Decided February 15, 1932

284 U.S. 463


1. There is a presumption that a highway, once established, continues to exist, and he who would make good a later title upon the ground that, through deviations in places from the original route, there was such an abandonment as to substitute for the old road a different one, dependent for its legality upon other and independent fact and conditions, has the burden of sustaining that proposition. P. 467.

Page 284 U. S. 464

2. Even in the case of highways sought to be established by prescription, where the user must be confined to a definite line, slight deviations are not regarded as material. P. 284 U. S. 467.

3. Section 8 of the Act of July 26, 1866, granting rights of way for the construction of highways over the public lands, was, so far as the then existing roads are concerned, a voluntary recognition and confirmation of preexisting rights brought into being with the acquiescence and encouragement of the general government. Pp. 284 U. S. 468-472.

4. The grant of a right of way over the public lands made to the Central Pacific Railroad by the Acts of July 1, 1862, and July 2, 1864, held subject to the easement of a highway in California established in 1859 under the state law and in use before and when the railway was laid out and constructed, and continuously since. Id.

5. Judicial notice taken:

(1) Of the fact that, where roads have been originally formed by the passage of wagons over the natural soil, the line of travel is subject to occasional deviations owing to changes brought about by storms, temporary obstructions, and other causes. P. 284 U. S. 467.

(2) Of the facts that, long before the Act of July 26, 1866, highways in large numbers had been laid out by local, state, and territorial authorities upon and across the public lands, and that this practice had been so long continued, and the number of roads thus created had been so great, as to compel the conclusion that they were established and used with the knowledge and acquiescence of the national government. P. 284 U. S. 472.

212 Cal. 348, 299 P. 75, affirmed.

Certiorari to review a decree dismissing a bill brought by the petitioners to quiet their title to lands within the right of way of the railway company which were traversed by a public highway.

Page 284 U. S. 465

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