Tuesday, June 1, 2010

GOLDEN SPIKES

This weekend DH and I visited family and cemeteries all over Utah. My car had almost seven hundred miles roll under its wheels and about as many bugs die on its windshield. I learned a Coney Dog (hot dog covered with chili and melted cheese) should not be eaten in a car since any food from this sloppy concoction that doesn’t make it to the mouth is worn for the rest of the day.


But this post is about a trip to see history. About sixty miles north of Salt Lake City, Utah and about thirty miles west of Interstate Fifteen---


 (through the car window--and if you look you can see the remains of a few suicidal bugs)
out in a very empty place near The Great Salt Lake is the Golden Spike National Historic Site.

On 10 May 1869, a single telegraphed word, "done," signaled to the nation the completion of the first United States transcontinental railroad. German, and Italian immigrants, of the Union Pacific Railroad had pushed west from Omaha, Nebraska. At Promontory they met crews of the Central Pacific, which had included Chinese laborers, who had built the line east from Sacramento, California.


Two replicas of the steam engines which were in use at that time are at the site for all to behold.


The Jupiter matches the engine that came from the Pacific and uses wood for fuel.

Engine 119 is like the one that came from the east and burns coal since it was available from that part of the country.

There are platforms where visitors can see inside the cabin to view the shiny instruments, levers and switches

used by the engineers to make the locomotives go.

Both engines were powered up to rumble up and down the tracks with all the bells and whistles.

A reenactment of the Golden Spike Ceremony was presented complete with plenty of information. We learned there was not just one golden spike, but two...

one from the east and one from the west--

plus two more spikes: one silver from the Comstock Lode in Nevada and a spike blended of iron, silver, and gold represented Arizona. These spikes were dropped into a pre-bored laurel wood railroad tie during the ceremony.

 
The actual last spike--an ordinary iron spike--was driven into a regular tie.

A special silver hammer was used for that moment in history.

The location is a little off the beaten path but well worth the trip to see history come alive.

13 comments:

Krista said...

One of my blog friend's parents go to the celebration in costume every year. I haven't been there since I was a kid. I should take my kiddies there sometime.

Linda Sue said...

COOL! I have a photo of my great grandfather at that gig!

frayedattheedge said...

I would love to visit - I remember travelling on steam trains as a very small child, when we went to Glasgow at Christmas to go to the circus, and when we went to Prestwick (on the west coast) for our summer holiday

The Weaver of Grass said...

I really enjoyed this post as it brought back memories of travelling from Denver to Salt Lake City on Amtrak and then visiting the Salt Lake - such an amazing area. Thank you for the memories.

hanna-happenings said...

What passionate people :)How fun!

I´m hosting this weekword, please join, it´s "now".

Elizabeth said...

Quite a trip!
very different from round here, Leenie!

Mama Zen said...

How fun! That would be something to see.

Jill said...

In my round-the-USA-on-a-Greyhound trip in 1977 I passed by the lake on my way to Salt Lake City from San Francisco. I remember how wide and open this area was - nothing that vast here. I vistied many amazing places in that four weeks and every one has left a lasting impression on me. Just did not make it to Yellowstone! I am sure I have seen this ceremony featured in a film. Sounds like you had a epic trip.

Pearl said...

I really need to take my kids to that. All 3 really love trains, and seeing that recreation would be awesome!

ELIZABETH said...

Who knew that you might need a bib on a car trip *wink*
Love the visit to the trains/

DayPhoto said...

This was really neat! Thank you so much!

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

Kilauea Poetry said...

Wow..these are fabulous replicas! So colorful- speaks of by gone days..I love the whole series Leenie! Bugs..least they aren't terrorists (lol). My husband gave me some chocolate for a long drive to the doctors yesterday- I wore it well..right on the back of my pants!!

Janie said...

I've been to the Golden Spike site, and I agree, it's well worth a visit. Nice photos!