In 1869 at a then-unknown place upon the high desert in the wide open prairie - East met West and our country was joined together by the railroad. It changed everything. What had taken six months by ox and mule, now only took six days by rail.
Troops and settlers sped west populating the country side which belonged to the Indians and buffalo. Trade and cities sprang up and expanded commerce and the push for Manifest Destiny. The wealth of ore and minerals and hides and fur moved East. And the West became our Territories and States.
The idea to connect the country from coast to coast was first proposed in 1832. Thirty-seven years later it happened when the locomotives of the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific met nose to nose at Promontory Point.
We drove out to the Promontory Point Historical Center, leaving in the middle of the morning and arriving a little after 11:00. It was fairly easy to find and a nice drive out there, though a little drizzly at times.
As we approached the turnoff and the last mile or so over to the Visitor Center, we were very surprised. There must have been a hundred people doing the same thing we were!
We learned the workforce from the Central Pacific which left Sacramento was comprised in a large part of over 10,000 Chinese. The Union Pacific left Omaha and had a mix of American unemployed along with Italian, Irish and German workers.
The Central Pacific's Jupiter and the Union Pacific's No. 119 met at Promontory Point on May 10, 1869. Replica's of the two locomotives are the central attraction.
Then we gathered for festivities.
The park ranger talked about the locomotives while they went through some drills.
And the ceremonies centered around driving the Golden Spike signaling the completion of the railroad.
You can the railroad tie on the tracks
May God continue the Unity of our Country as this
Railroad unites the two great Oceans of the World.
Together, the Central Pacific and Union Pacific, laid over 1,776 miles of track through mountains, desert and prairie. It was quite a feat.
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