PROMONTOIRE – Two years ago, tens of thousands of people from around the world gathered in a remote and desolate area of Box Elder County to celebrate one of the most significant engineering feats in world history .
And although the fanfare will not touch on what was seen 24 months ago, the anniversary of the completion of the first railway covering the continent will be commemorated again this year, starting on Friday.
Brandon Flint, superintendent of Golden Spike National Historic Park at Promontory, said in a press release that the park will host a series of events May 8-10 to honor the 152nd anniversary of the railroad, including reenactments of the original 1869 completion ceremony, steam locomotive demonstrations, a recreation of the historic “champagne photo” taken at the end of the line, and special exhibits featuring historical artifacts found along the railroad.
The festivities will take place at 9:30 am, 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm on Friday; and at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm on Sunday and Monday.
Flint said in order to meet CDC, state and local COVID-19 guidelines, a ticket will be required to attend a program. Tickets are available at recreation.gov. Flint said each vehicle, regardless of the number of occupants, will need to have a single ticket. Park entrance fees and reservation fees, totaling $ 20, will be collected with each ticket. Tickets will not be available at the park.
The annual anniversary celebration was canceled last year due to COVID-19. The year before, in May 2019, the 150th anniversary, or sesquicentenary, of this momentous event was celebrated at both Promontory and Ogden. Ogden City officials said about 100,000 visitors came to the city over the three-day celebration. According to the Spike 150 organizing team, another 40,000 visitors attended the Promontory Summit events.
After six years of work, carried out largely by poor immigrants and others living on the fringes of society, the world-changing railway was completed when the Union Pacific No. 119 and Jupiter locomotives from Central Pacific met face to face at the Promontory Summit on May 10, 1869. The completion of the line changed America forever and continues to have a lasting impact in northern Utah, particularly in Ogden.
Built between 1863 and 1869, the railroad linked America by connecting the Pacific coast to San Francisco Bay with the existing eastern United States railroad, according to the National Parks Service. The railroad revolutionized American society, solidifying a reliable transportation system that transported goods and people at speeds unimaginable at the time. Before the completion of the railroad, travelers from east to west had to either navigate around the depths of South America or take the dangerous boxcar across the plains – journeys that took months. Once the railroad was finished, the journey between the east and west coasts only took a few days.
When the last “Golden Spike” was driven onto the track in 1869, it is estimated that only 500 people were there to see it. When the tip was put in place, a telegraph operator transmitted a message to both coasts of the United States that simply said “Done.”
Flint said organizers were excited to commemorate May 10 again this year, saying he hoped people will take advantage of the rare opportunity to stand at the site of such a significant event in American history.
“It’s a great opportunity to be outside and relive some of the history,” he said in the statement. “Visitors can stand where the golden point has been sunk uniting the country by rail … and get a close-up view of replicas of Victorian-era locomotives as they pass. .