First Transcontinental Railroad

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United States Gotoarrow.png Migration Gotoarrow.png Railroads Gotoarrow.png First Transcontinental Railroad

Transcontinental Railroad Sesquicentennial 2019[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

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The section of railroad built between 1868 and 1869 from Omaha, Nebraska on the east to Sacramento, California on the west has become known as the First Transcontinental Railroad. The eastern segment was built by the Union Pacific Railroad company. At the same time the Central Pacific Railroad was building the western line. The two lines met at Pronontory Point, Utah, on May 10, 1869, where a connecting spike was driven. The following article will list a few of the attendees at the ceremony. Hugh F. O'Neil. List of Persons Present, Promontory, Utah, May 10, 1869. Utah Historical Quarterly 24 (Fall 1956): 157-164. FHL 979.2 H2u

The transcontinental railroad was first seriously considered by the United States government in the late 1840s after gold was discovered in California. They saw it as a way to bridge the distance between the east and west coasts, and to open up Western lands for settlement. Though the project appealed to both government and comercial entities, as well as the private sector, it was delayed by a number of issues. These included financing, where to run the route, and who would build it for starters. Then in the early 1860s the whole project was put on hold until the Civil War ended in 1865.

When the railroad was completed between Omaha and Sacramento, rails did not completely span the continent until the year after the spike was driven. A trestle had to be built between Council Bluffs, Iowa and Omaha, Nebraska to connect to eastern rail lines that reached Atlantic ports. Also a line had to extend beyond Sacramento to San Francisco, California at the Pacific Ocean.

Related Articles

  • Bernice Gibbs Anderson.The Driving of the Golden Spike.The End of the Race. Utah Historical Quarterly 25 (Fall 1956): 149-152. FHL 979.2 H2u
  • The Proceedings at Promontory Summit [From the Deseret News, MAy 19, 1869] Utah Historical Quarterly 24 (Fall 1956):152-156. FHL 979.2 H2u
  • Hugh F. O'Neil. List of Persons Present, Promontory, Utah, May 10, 1869. Utah Historical Quarterly 24 (Fall 1956):157-164. FHL 979.2 H2u
  • Paul L. Hedren.A Footnote to History: The U.S. Army at Promontory, Utah, May 10, 1869. Utah Historical Quarterly 49 (Fall 1981):363-373.FHL 979.2 H2u

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Related Wiki Articles[edit | edit source]

Websites[edit | edit source]

Books[edit | edit source]

  • Ambrose, Stephen E. Nothing Like It In the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869. New York, New York: Touchstone, Rockefeller Center, 2000.
  • Andrist, Ralph K. The Long Death: The Last Days of the Plains Indians. New York, NY Macmillan Company 1964.
  • Bain, David Haward. Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad. New York: Penguin Putnam Books, 1999.
  • Francaviglia, Richard V. Over the Range. A History of the of the Promontory Summit Route of the Pacific Railroad. Logan,Utah: Utah State University Press, 2008.
  • Williams, John Hoyt. A Great and Shining Road: The Epic Story of the Transcontinental Railroad.
  • Railroad History by Richard Jensen, Research Professor of History, Montana State University, Billings. This site contains a bibliography of books relating to railroads in the United States. It also includes links to websites where the books can be purchased.

National Archives[edit | edit source]

Library of Congress[edit | edit source]

Pictures[edit | edit source]