Fred T. Perris, chief engineer and superintendent of construction and bridges of the California system of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company’s lines, and resident at San Bernardino, was born in England fifty-three years ago. He went to Australia in his youth, and was educated for his profession of civil engineer in the city of Melbourne. Coming to America in 1853, he did a large amount of professional work on the Pacific coast for the United States Government and the State of California, in the capacity of Deputy United States Surveyor, and Mineral Surveyor. His first railroad work in this country was done in the ’60s on the Union Pacific, under Samuel B. Reed, during its construction.
Mr. Perris settled permanently in San Bernardino in 1874, and has been actively and prominently identified with Southern California and San Bernardino County in both a professional and official capacity for fifteen years. He has served San Bernardino as City Engineer, and the county as County Surveyor, and is now (1889), a member of the City Board of Trustees. When the question of securing a railroad into this valley and city was agitating the public mind, Mr. Perris was chosen at a mass meeting of the citizens a delegate to go to San Diego and meet G. B. Wilbur and L. G. Pratt, of Boston, and representing Eastern capitalists in railroad matters, to learn their intentions, and invite their attention to this part of the State. The result of his mission was a visit of those gentlemen to San Bernardino and an investigation of the city and valley, which was the inceptive step to securing the present fine railroad facilities.
Over nine years ago Mr. Perris entered the employ of the California Central Railroad Company and built its entire lines, embracing 264 miles of road; he also built the California Southern Railroad from Barstow to San Bernardino, 210 6/10 miles, besides building and equipping the large shops at San Bernardino, and the shops at other points on their roads. Since the completion of the line, he has had charge of the entire California sub-system of the Santa Fe, of which these lines are a part. The excellent condition of these roads and their equipments comprising this system, demonstrate beyond question Mr. Perris’ superior qualifications for the position he occupies and the faithful discharge of its great responsibilities. He is an active and zealous worker and thorough master of the situation.