April 21, 2018

Today in History: Transcontinental Railroad Completed

New Map Of The Union Pacific Railway, The Short, Quick And Safe Line To All Points West
Today in History–May 10–the Library of Congress features the U.S. transcontinental railroad, celebrated on this day in 1869 when a symbolic golden spike was driven into the ground at Promontory Summit, in Utah Territory—approximately thirty-five miles away from Promontory Point, the site where the rails of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific were joined. This railroad connected the United States from coast to coast, reducing a four-month journey to just one week. Learn more by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to access more related primary sources.

Pacific Railway Act

The Senate passed the Pacific Railway Act June, 20, 1862

House of Representatives passed the Pacific Railway Act June 24, 1862

Transcontinental Railroad

The lead up to the transcontinental railroad (Library of Congress secondary source)

Building the transcontinental railroad (book excerpt, full book also available)

After Lewis & Clark section (online exhibition including documents and maps related to the transcontinental railroad)

Letter from the president of the Union Pacific, requesting that President Lincoln send a letter to be read at a ground-breaking ceremony

Transcontinental Railroad historical newspaper coverage

European and Asian laborers working on the last mile of the Pacific Railroad from Harper’s Weekly

Railroad Communication with the Pacific: Central Pacific Railroad [supplement] The Galaxy, Volume 4, Issue 8, Dec 1867

Historic Moments. V. Driving The Last Spike Of The Union Pacific Scribner’s magazine, Volume 12, Issue 2, August, 1892

Union Pacific primary sources

Union Pacific maps

Union Pacific image set from American Memory (advisory: first image in set is gruesome)

More Union Pacific images

Union Pacific manuscripts – mixed formats

Union Pacific books & articles

Union Pacific Grand March (sheet music)

Central Pacific primary sources

Central Pacific maps

Central Pacific image set from American Memory

More Central Pacific images

Central Pacific manuscripts – mixed formats

Central Pacific books & articles

PSN railroad posts

The B & O Railroad

Rails & Robbers

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