May 10, 2013
A GOLDEN SPIKE MARKED COMPLETION OF 1ST TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD 144 YEARS AGO
Promontory Point, Utah (JFK+50) California Governor Leland Stanford struck a "golden spike" with a silver hammer 144 years ago today, May 10, 1969, here at Promontory Point officially marking completion of America's 1st transcontinental railroad.
Two locomotives faced each other on the last track, one from the Central Pacific Railroad Company which had built eastward from California and the other from the Union Pacific Railroad Company which had built westward from Nebraska.
The transcontinental railroad made it possible to travel from coast to coast in a matter of days instead of months.
"The Last Spike"
Painting by Thomas Hill (1881)
The CPRR and UPRR were backed by 30 year U.S. government bonds which were issued based on the level of difficulty of the terrain on which track was built.
The GAUGE, or distance between the tracks, was set at 4 feet 8 1/2 inches which became known as STANDARD GAUGE.
The Central Pacific route, which started at Sacramento, California and passed through the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains, stretched 690 miles upon completion.
The Union Pacific route, which started at Council Bluffs, Iowa, was 1,087 miles upon completion.
THEODORE JUDAH, the 1st chief engineer of the Central Pacific RR, is considered to be the "architect of the transcontinental railroad."
Theodore P. Judah
Portrait by Carleton Watkins
The Original Golden Spike
Cantor Arts Museum
Photo by wjenning
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