Golden Spike National Historic Site

In Promontory, Utah is the location of the driving in of the golden spike connecting the railroads from the east coast to the west coast (i.e., transcontinental railroad). On May 10, 1869, the railheads of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads were joined together in the “wedding of the rails” at Promontory Summit. As part of the ceremony, three spikes were driven in: one gold, one silver, and one a mix of gold, silver, and iron. Two locomotives met face-to-face: the No. 119 for the Union Pacific and No. 60 (otherwise known as Jupiter) for the Central Pacific.

My photos include pictures of the Jupiter and the No. 119. The Jupiter is a wood burning engine while the No. 119’s engine runs on coal. The site brings these trains together at set times during the day. First they drove in the Jupiter for the crowd to look at. Then about 30 minutes later the No. 119 was guided in and brought together facing the Jupiter. I’m fairly sure they stagger their arrivals so that the crowd has more opportunity to observe the trains in action.

Around the Golden Spike National Historic Site are historical markers explaining more about the trains and history of the railroads and this site. There is an enjoyable visitor’s center with a store selling many items including books, DVDs and t-shirts. The visitor center also shows a movie on the history of the railroads and golden spike. There are historical items on display.

The Golden Spike National Historic Site is about 30 minutes west of Brigham City, Utah in the desert near Morton-Thiokol Inc. (now Thiokol Chemical Corporation), known for production of jet propulsion rocket engines. Although it is a bit of a drive into the desert, away from Interstate 15, the side trip is worth it. It is interesting to consider the uniqueness of this site in American history.

Some of my pictures have sun glare. Others are not lined up well. And still more capture the images of unknown visitors. My best pictures are those with family members which I purposely excluded on this website for privacy. The pictures I have included hopefully are worthwhile to view.

I struggled to get photos without other individuals in them. There were many photographers trying to take images of the trains making it difficult to not capture them in my shots. Some are seen in the images I have presented.

Curiously, not much attention was actually given to the railroad tie location where the spike (or, that is, spikes) was driven in. Maybe I am the odd one finding that more interesting than the trains?

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