October 23, 2021

Golden Spike National Historic Site (23 January 2021)

Since moving to Salt Lake City, this is one of the places I wanted to visit. Sometime, over the last 10 years, I read Stephen E. Ambrose’s Nothing Like It In The World, about building the transcontinental railroad between 1863 and 1869. This year, we decide to drive the 1.5 hours for a visit. Even with the bad weather on the way and the cold, blustery winds at the site, it was well worth the trip. We will go back in better weather, but this time we almost had the entire site to ourselves. The Golden Spike National Historic Site is almost 50 miles from the nearest town, so it is quite isolated.

When we arrived, the on-duty Park Ranger, told us we should head over to the Engine House Maintenance Building, as it would be closing in 15 minutes. We immediately got back in the car and headed for the Engine House.

The Engine House is where maintenance is being done on the 2 reproduction engines involved in the May 10, 1869 ceremony joining the tracks. In 1862 Congress authorized the Central Pacific to build a railroad eastward from Sacramento, California, while the Union Pacific was to build westward from Omaha, Nebraska. The Central Pacific began work in January 1863 and completed 690 miles of track; the Union Pacific, began in December, 1863 and completed 1086 miles of track.

Just outside the visitor center, the snow had been cleared so we could visit the spot where the joining ceremony had taken place. We went out to take a photo of the exact spot.

We will return when it warms up, as there are other places to visit in this site (Big Fill, Big Trestle Site, Chinese Arch, Last Cut, Promontory Point and the Spiral Jetty.

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