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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Promontory in Box Elder County, Utah — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Golden Spike

National Historic Site

 
 
Golden Spike Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, July 1997
1. Golden Spike Marker
Inscription. " The last rails 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 ending together, by iron bonds the extremities of Continental United States, a rail link from ocean to ocean."
National Park Service [Emblem]
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 Spike National Historic Site. Marker is in this post office area: Corinne UT 84307, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker.
Golden Spike National Site image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, 1997
2. Golden Spike National Site
The Southern Pacific Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Last Spike Driven (within shouting distance of this marker); Jubilation 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); The Locomotives of Golden Spike - No. 119 (about 500 feet away).
 
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 meeting of the railroads at Promontory, Utah was equivalent to the public reaction to the Moon landing of a hundred years later in 1969.
When it became obvious in early 1869 that the Union Pacific and
Promontory, Utah image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, 1997
3. Promontory, Utah
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 techniques, the Central Pacific workers on April 28, 1869 were able lay the 10 miles of track in just 12 hours. This event helped to heighten the public’s awareness of the impending meeting of the two
Jupiter and N0.119 image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, 1997
4. Jupiter and N0.119
Locomotives actually looked this way in 1869. Not until the turn of the century did they start to go to flat black.
railroads in Promontory, especially since this feat brought them just a few miles from the appointed meeting point of the two railroads. Meanwhile, work crews from the Union Pacific set out to build the work camp at Promontory, which mostly meant construction of saloons and houses of prostitution.
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. National Park Service (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.)
10 Miles of Track image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, 1997
5. 10 Miles of Track
They had crossed 1,776 mile of desert, rivers, and mountains to bind together East and West. (see nearby marker)

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 EventsRailroads & Streetcars
 
Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads meet at Promontory image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, 1997
6. Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads meet at Promontory
The <i>Jupiter</i> and <i>No. 119</i> at Golden Spike National Historic Site image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 27, 2014
7. The Jupiter and No. 119 at Golden Spike National Historic Site
Note the new color schemes.
Commemorative plaques at the Golden Spike National Historic Site image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 27, 2014
8. Commemorative plaques at the Golden Spike National Historic Site
Chinese Commemorative Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 27, 2014
9. Chinese Commemorative Plaque
To commemorated the centennial of the first transcontinental railroad in America and to pay tribute to the Chinese workers of the Central Pacific Railroad whose indomitable courage made it possible.
May 10 1869 - May 10, 1969
Plaque placed by
The Chinese Historical Society of America
Plaque donated by
San Francisco Chinese Community
Civil Engineering Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 27, 2014
10. Civil Engineering Plaque
National Historic
Civil Engineering Landmark
Joining to the Rails
Transcontinental Railroad
May 10, 1869
ASCE 1969
Golden Spike Centennial Celebration Reenactment plaque image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 27, 2014
11. Golden Spike Centennial Celebration Reenactment plaque
Golden Spike
Centennial Celebration
Reenactment
May 10, 1969
Manager • Lawrence D. Wilde, Sr.
Director and Script Writer • Marie Thorne Jeppson
Narrator • J. Wayne Johnson
PARTICIPANTS (Cast)
1869 —— 1969
Edgar Mills • John J. Stewart
The Rev. Dr. John Todd • Alf L. Freeman
Dr. W,H, Harkness • Richard E. Felt
F.A. Tritle • Claude R. Barker
Gov. A.P.K. Safford • Herbert Adamson
Gov. Leland Stanford • San H. Gordon
Dr. Thomas C. Durant • Lawrence D. Wilde, Sr.
L.W. Cole • Myrland H. Balls
Gen. Grenville M. Dodge • Glenn S. Nelson
James H. Strobridge • Fredrick M. Huchel
Samuel B. Reed • A.L. (Gus) Burbank
W.N. Shilling • Heber J. Sessions
W.H. Nottingham • Vaughn Nielsen
J.W. Haines • Arnel Moyes
William Sherman • Vernon G. Poulter
Golden Spike Centennial Celebration Commission
Utah Golden Spike Commission
Golden Spike Association of Box Elder County
Box Elder County Commission
Brigham City Corporation
United States Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Irish Commemorative Plaque image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 27, 2014
12. Irish Commemorative Plaque
To the Irish who toiled
on the Transcontinental Railroad
uniting our Nation
The Hibernian Society of Utah
March 17, 1996
Dedicated May 10, 1996
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 11, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 2,801 times since then and 115 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on November 11, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on February 22, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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