Golden Spike and Promontory, Utah, Oct. 20, 2011

by William Mclaughlin October. 21, 2011 6427 views

Thursday, October 20th, 2011.

Our drive today was 305 miles from Ogden, Utah to Boise, Idaho…but we threw in a 47 mile side-trip giving us a total drive of 352 miles.

Today's sightseeing adventure (pictures above) is all about the historic place at Promontory, Utah where the Union Pacific Railroad driving west met the Central Pacific Railroad driving east for the linkage of America's First Transcontinental Railroad on May 10th, 1869.

Tomorrow our plan is to drive to John Day, Oregon.

The Golden Spike National Historic Site was our sightseeing stop for today.

Promontory, Utah is in the middle of nowhere in northern Utah north of the Great Salt Lake. The National Park Service has done a marvelous job of preserving the site of the historic joining of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads.

Promontory, Utah never had any permanent residents but had temporary buildings (a restaurant and a saloon) and numerous tents during 1869 and 1870.

The “Golden Spike” (aka “The Last Spike”) is the ceremonial final spike driven by Leland Stanford to join the rails of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States connecting the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads on May 10, 1869, at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory. The “Last Spike” now lies in the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University in California.

The actual site with track and replica telegraph pole and telegraph lines that heralded the event across the country at the moment the rails were joined.

Where east…

…meets west.

Final tie…made of Laurel wood.

Plaque commemorating the event.

The National Park Service received two replica steam engines in 1979 of the actual engines that met at Promontory Summit at noon on the 10th of May, 1869. The engines had been requested for the centennial in 1969…but the Federal Government moves slowly:)

This is the replica of UP#119 in the engine house where the engines are kept during the winter.

The engines are fully working replicas with beautifully polished brass, gold leaf and highly polished paint jobs. According to a wiki I just read, these engines were built with 1.5 million dollars in Federal funds in the late 1970s.

The replica of Jupiter, the Central Pacific steam engine that came from Sacramento, California east to Promontory, Utah.

See what I mean by being in the middle of nowhere? Tara took this picture as we departed Promontory Summit to get back to I-84 and resume our trip to Boise.

Crossing the state line from Utah to Idaho.

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