Promontory in Box Elder County, Utah — The American Mountains (Southwest)
National Historic Site
"The last rail is laid, the spike is driven. The Pacific Railroad is completed." Here at Promontory, Utah, at 12:47 P.M. on May 10, 1869. The driving of a Golden Spike completed the first transcontinental railroad. Climax of a dramatic railroad-building race between the Union Pacific building from the east and the Central Pacific building from the west. This event symbolized attainment of a long sought goal - a direct transportation route to the Pacific Ocean and the China trade. And it achieved the great political objective of binding together, by iron bonds the extremities of Continental United States, a rail link from ocean to ocean."
National Park Service
United States Department of the Interior
Erected by National Park Service.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Transcontinental Railroad marker series.
Location. 41° 37.008′ N, 112° 33.044′ W. Marker is in Promontory, Utah, in Box Elder County. Marker is on County Rd, in the median. Touch for map. at the Golden Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Stephen Tyng Mather (within shouting distance of this marker); The Southern Pacific Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Last Spike Driven (within shouting distance of this marker); Transforming Communication: from Coast to Coast (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Competition 1869 (about 300 feet away); May 10, 1869 (about 500 feet away); May 9, 1869 (about 500 feet away); The Locomotives of Golden Spike - Jupiter (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Promontory.
Regarding Golden Spike. Golden Spike
One of the most dramatic events in the history of human achievement was the meeting of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads at Promontory, Utah on May 10, 1869. The meeting of these two railroads meant the joining of a continent. The 2000 miles from the Missouri River to the Pacific was reduced to six days travel time instead of six months. Additionally, the cost of traveling across the continent was reduced from approximately $1000 down to a mere $70. The public at that time was fully aware of the dramatic implications of the joining of the railroads. The fanfare revolving around the
When it became obvious in early 1869 that the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads would meet in the first half of that year, the newspapers around the country were filled with daily reports about each days progress in terms of rail laid and descriptions about the work. As the gap between the two railroads narrowed, it was apparent that the historic meeting would occur at the Promontory Point area of Utah which was in a level circular valley of about three miles diameter and surrounded by mountains.
In the days leading up to the meeting of the railroads, the rival work gangs of the two railroads competitively laid out rail at a pace that tried to outdo each other. One day the Union Pacific work crews would lay six miles of rails only to be outdone the following day by the mostly Chinese workers of the Central Pacific laying down seven miles of rails. Finally, the construction boss of the Central Pacific, Charles Crocker, boasted that his Chinese workers could lay down 10 miles of rail in one day. So confident was Crocker that this could be achieved that he bet $10,000 that it could be done and Thomas C. Durant, vice-president of Union Pacific took that bet. In an amazing feat, which has yet to be equaled even with today's modern
The meeting of the railroads was originally scheduled for May 8, 1869 but because of a delay in the arrival of officials from the Union Pacific, it was re-scheduled to May 10. A little after eleven in the morning of that day, Governor Leland Stanford of California arrived in his Central Pacific train. Meanwhile the train from the Union Pacific was drawing closer as more rails were laid. At about noontime the trains were close enough that the last tie could be laid down. This tie was made of California laurel and had a silver plate in the middle engraved with the date and the names of the railroad officials of the two companies.
Also see . . .
1. Golden Spike National Historic Site. History:Source National Park Service (Submitted on November 11, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.)
2. The story of Jupiter and N0.119. (Submitted on November 11, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.)
3. Golden Spike National Historic Site. (Submitted on November 11, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.)
4. "Dot, Dot, Dot . . .Done" ::. Courtesy "Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum" - - here are many photos, news clippings, and other items. (Submitted on June 10, 2011.)
Categories. • Notable Events • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on November 12, 2018. This page originally submitted on November 11, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 2,940 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on November 11, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on November 11, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. submitted on February 22, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. 14. submitted on November 11, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.