Friday, May 10, 2019

Golden Spike 150 -- May 10, 2019

150 years ago today, on 10-May-1869, the transcontinental railroad was completed when the tracks of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads met at Promontory Summit, Utah.  This article, from the 11-May-1869 New York Herald, describes the scene.  

I found the list of places connected confusing because it included, along with New York and San Francisco, a place called Plaister Cove.  I think they are referring to Plaister Cove, Nova Scotia.  

The Last Rail Laid and the Last Spike Driven.
San Francisco and New York Linked to Each Other.
Celebration of the Event Throughout the United States.

Official Announcement or the Completion of the Road -- The Point of Junction.
Promontory Summit, Utah, May 10, 1869.

The last rail is laid -- the last spike driven. The Pacific Railroad is completed.

The point of Junction is 1,080 miles west of the Missouri river and 690 miles east of Sacramento City.

LELAND STANFORD, Central Pacific Railroad.
T. C. DURANT, SIDNEY DILLON, JOHN DAFF, Union Pacific Railroad.

Hour at Which the Last Spike Was Driven -- Places Connected With.
Promontory Point, Utah, May 10, 1869.

The last spike in the Pacific Railroad was driven to-day at five minutes past three o'clock P. M., New York time. The following places were thus connected with Promontory Point: -- San Francisco, Chicago, St. Louis, New Orleans, New York, Boston and Plaister Cove.

The Celebration at Promontory.
Promontory, Utah, May 10, 1869.

The long-looked for moment has arrived. The construction of the Pacific Railroad is un fait accompli. The inhabitants of the Atlantic board and the dwellers on the Pacific slope are henceforth emphatically one people. I write on Promontory Summit, amid the deafening shouts of the multitude, with the tick, tick of the telegraph close to mv ear. The proceedings of the day are:
1. Prayer by Rev. Dr. Todd, of Pittsfield, asking the favor of Heaven upon the enterprise.
2. Laying of two rails, one opposite the other one, for the Union Pacific Railroad and one for the Central Pacific Railroad.
3. Presentation of spikes to the two companies -- on the part of California by Dr. Harkness, on the part of Nevada by Hon. F. A. Fritle, and on the part of Arizona by Governor Safford.
4. Response by Governor Stanford on the part of the Central Pacific Railroad.
5. Response by General G. M. Dodge on the part of the Union Pacific Railroad.
6. Driving of the last spikes by the two companies; telegraph to be attached to the last spike of the Central Pacific Company, and the last blow to announce to the world by telegraph the completion of the Pacific Railroad.
7. Telegram to the President of the United States.
8. Telegram to the Associated Press.


If there was no jammed crowd upon Broadway yesterday it was not because of any indifference on the part of our metropolitan population at the completion of so gigantic a work as the Pacific Railroad. Everybody felt happy over the event and expressed their pleasure in that quiet, thoughtful and dignified manner peculiar to the citizens of the greatest city in the New World. Nevertheless, yesterday flags were flying from all the public and many private buildings in New York. By order of Mayor Hall 100 guns were fired on the City Hall Park. The booming of the cannon and clouds of smoke that rose upwards with each discharge attracted a goodly number of persons to the spot; but this was the only crowd -- if it could be called such -- seen in the city yesterday. On Wail street some excitement was manifested. The bulls, aided by the news of the road being completed, managed to toss the stocks of several roads tolerably high. This morning New York woke up calm and serene. The Pacific Railroad is a matter of course. Every preparation is complete to receive and ship the products of nations from and to the Orient.

Congratulatory Messages.

At precisely 3:16 P. M. Mayor Hall received the following telegram:
Promontory Point, May 10,1869.
To Hon. A. Oakley Hall, Mayor, New York City
The last spike in the rail connecting the Atlantic and Pacific by rail has been driven at 3:10 P. M. to-day.
A. S. BROWN, Manager.

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