Category: Golden Spike

Thousands gather to celebrate Transcontinental Railroad’s 150th anniversary

PROMONTORY SUMMIT, Utah — Utah is partying like its 1869.

An estimated people from across the world celebrated the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad at the Golden Spike National Historic Site Friday.

Twenty-thousand train chasers, history buffs and one oil painter relived a day that unified America.

“It’s difficult to get so close, but I came here for the train event. I should paint the train,” Colton Wiscombe said.

The large crowd made its way onto Wiscombe’s canvas.

Susan Sodoma and her husband, Peter, dressed up for the occasion.

“We are very interested in the history of this period,” Susan said.

It took railroad workers seven years to build the massive project. On Friday, it took hours in stand-still traffic to reach Promontory Summit.

“This is the most people you’re ever going to see out here. We woke up this morning and we watched the line of cars coming in here. It was a parking lot,” Susan said.

Despite the wait, it was worth it to the thousands who archived the celebration.

“It’s fun. It’s so much fun,“ Susan said.

While the Chinese workers were left out of the first celebration in 1869, 500 of their descendants came to Utah from to be honored in the Driving of the Spike Ceremony.

Max Facts: The 19th century’s greatest engineering feat owed to despised and mistreated workers

The Golden Spike was pounded home by Leland Stanford, former Governor of California, and alternately described as a captain of industry and a robber baron.

Stanford showed the business know-how needed to capitalize on the federal drive for tracks spanning the continent, but most spikes not made of gold were driven by Chinese workers who made less money and were treated more poorly than their white counterparts.

In fact, before he needed them to work on the project that cemented his fortune, Stanford expressed the prejudice common in California at the time.

It was in 1962 when he was governor of California that he wrote: “To my mind it is clear, that the settlement among us of an inferior race is to be discouraged by every legitimate means. Asia, with her numberless millions, sends to our shores the dregs of her population.”

By 1869, those “dregs” had taken on one of the toughest engineering projects ever achieved.

They blasted through miles of rock, piled up giant berms of earth, and built trestle spans above canyons and ravines to form 690 miles of track stretching from Sacramento to Promontory, Utah.

They also died by the hundreds, perhaps thousands, but nobody has a number because their employer didn’t bother to keep track.

After the railroad was complete, and Americans could ride from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the U.S. Congress passed two acts meant to keep the West Coast free of too many Chinese people.

The Page Act barred Chinese women from immigrating because they were presumed to be prostitutes.

The Chinese Exclusion Act did just what the title suggests, excluding men and women not only from China but from all Asian countries.

Utahns gather to celebrate 150 year anniversary of Golden Spike at Promontory Summit

PROMONTORY SUMMIT — Actors, historians and members of the public are gathering at Promontory Summit to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike.

Friday’s events are the latest in a round of celebrations marking the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad.

Fox 13’s Lexie Johnson spoke to actors participating in the reenactments as well as a historian and others, see the video above for a look at the festivities.

 

‘Big Boy’ helps kick off Golden Spike’s 150th anniversary celebrations

OGDEN, Utah – Celebrations 150 years in the making kicked off commemorating the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869.

On Thursday, Union Pacific brought together two iconic locomotives for the historic weekend.

An estimated 7,300 people traveled to Ogden with some coming as far away as Europe and Asia. Four hundred descendants of Chinese railroad workers also came for the celebration.

Carlo Lobos arrived three hours early to get the front row to see Big Boy 4014. The largest steam engine ever made fully restored for this anniversary.

“Am I seeing this? Yeah, I’m seeing this,” Lobos said in disbelief.

“Train Chasers” each carry their own locomotive love affair.

“I have models of it,” Lobos said. “A hat of it.” Lobos traveled from California specifically for the Ogden event.

“This one was made just for this occasion,” former Union Pacific employee Tom Savio said, pulling out an engraved pocket watch from his overalls.

Savio attended the 100-year anniversary in Ogden.

“It is beyond anything that I have ever seen,” Savio said.

Big Boy joined the “Queen of Steam” to reenact the famous image in Promontory Utah.

“The railroad created our economic explosion; the railroad made us into an industrial power,” Utah Rep. Rob Bishop said.

The Transcontinental Railroad was the greatest building project of the 19th Century. It’s compared to having the same impact on the country as the internet today.

“We ought to understand the lessons from that history: that we can do difficult things, significant things during difficult times,” Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said.

A project that unified a divided country in 1869. A celebration to unify a divided country in 2019.

“I must say that I was very touched by it,” Savio said.

‘Big Boy’ helps kick off Golden Spike’s 150th anniversary celebrations

OGDEN, Utah – Celebrations 150 years in the making kicked off commemorating the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869.

On Thursday, Union Pacific brought together two iconic locomotives for the historic weekend.

An estimated 7,300 people traveled to Ogden with some coming as far away as Europe and Asia. Four hundred descendants of Chinese railroad workers also came for the celebration.

Carlo Lobos arrived three hours early to get the front row to see Big Boy 4014. The largest steam engine ever made fully restored for this anniversary.

“Am I seeing this? Yeah, I’m seeing this,” Lobos said in disbelief.

“Train Chasers” each carry their own locomotive love affair.

“I have models of it,” Lobos said. “A hat of it.” Lobos traveled from California specifically for the Ogden event.

“This one was made just for this occasion,” former Union Pacific employee Tom Savio said, pulling out an engraved pocket watch from his overalls.

Savio attended the 100-year anniversary in Ogden.

“It is beyond anything that I have ever seen,” Savio said.

Big Boy joined the “Queen of Steam” to reenact the famous image in Promontory Utah.

“The railroad created our economic explosion; the railroad made us into an industrial power,” Utah Rep. Rob Bishop said.

The Transcontinental Railroad was the greatest building project of the 19th Century. It’s compared to having the same impact on the country as the internet today.

“We ought to understand the lessons from that history: that we can do difficult things, significant things during difficult times,” Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said.

A project that unified a divided country in 1869. A celebration to unify a divided country in 2019.

“I must say that I was very touched by it,” Savio said.

The return of ‘Big Boy’: historic locomotive arrives in Utah

ECHO, Utah — Hundreds of people gathered in the town of Echo in Summit County to see the return of a part of history.

The recently restored locomotive known as “Big Boy” made its first stop in Utah Wednesday morning to kick off the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike being driven.

Kids from elementary, middle and high schools in the area showed up to see the massive train and hear its loud whistle.

Leslie Holdaman even brought his kids all the way from Mesa, Arizona to see the train.

“I’ve always been fascinated with trains, and the fact to see this piece of history back on the rails and running, it’s a once in a lifetime chance,” Holdaman said.

Big Boy is one of the world’s largest locomotives, and it is making its return to the railroad for the first time in six decades. It is considered the largest steam locomotive ever built, weighing about 1.2 million pounds.

The locomotive made its way from Evanston, Wyoming this morning, stopping in Echo before moving on to Ogden.

The historic event is leading up to the big celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike with a festival happening at Promontory this weekend. The Golden Spike marked the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, connecting both sides of the country.

“This is iconic,” said Krachel Murdock, Summit County’s community and public affairs coordinator. “It’s part of America’s past, and it’s fun to be able to relive it.”

People at the event said they were glad to be a part of such a historic moment.