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Golden Spike National Historic Site – Ogden, Utah

Northern Utah

Golden Spike Naitonal Historic Site – Ogden, Utah

On May 10, 1869, officials of the Central Pacific Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad met here to drive four symbolic spikes (two of them gold) celebrating the completion of the first transcontinental railroad.  With the single telepraphed word, “done”, signaled to the naiton that the transcontinental railroad was completed. 

On the crews there were 8,000 to 10,000 Irishy, German and Italian immigrants that had make the railline possible.  These crews worked for teh Union Pacific.  The Central Pacific had over 10,000 Chinese laborers, who built the line east from Sacramento, California.

Union Pacific’s No. 119 and Central Pacific’s “Jupiter” engines lined up facing each other on the tracks, separated only by the width of one rail. Leland Stanford, one of the “Big Four” of the Central Pacific, had brought four ceremonial spikes. The famed “Golden Spike” was presented by David Hewes, a San Francisco construction magnate. It was engraved with the names of the Central Pacific directors, special sentiments appropriate to the occasion, and, on the head, the notation “the Last Spike.” A second golden spike was presented by the San Francisco News Letter. A silver spike was Nevada’s contribution, and a spike blended of iron, silver, and gold represented Arizona. These spikes were dropped into a pre-bored laurelwood tie during the ceremony. No spike represented Utah, and Mormon Church leaders were conspicuous by their absence.

This line didn’t last a long time, since in 1903-04 construction of the Lucin Cutoff siphoned most of the traffice from Promontory’s “Old Line” and the last tie of laurel was destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.  Then, in 1942, the old rails that ran for teh 123 mile Promontory Summit line were salvaged for war efforts in ceremonies marking the “Undriving of the Golden Spike”. 

A Memorial marker of the “Last Spke” had been placed along the right-of-way in 1943.  Following the end of WWII local residents began marking the event.  In 1957 Congress established a seven-acre tract as the Golden Spike National Historic Site., in 1965 Congress enlarged the site to is current 2,176 acres and is administered by the National Park Service.

Today steam engines run daily from May to August and from Christmas to New Year’s Day for the public.  The Park Service can direct visitors to walking and driving tours along the old grades, as well as to photo and other exhibits celebrating the transcontinental railroad.

Promontory Summit is the location of the National Park site.  It is located approximately 40 miles northwest of Odgen.  Going north on I 15 a few miles past the Brigham City Exit you will see the signs directing you west on Utah Highway 83 to the Golden Spke Historic Site.  Just a word of caution, when you come to Corrine you may want to make sure you have checked your gas gauge since there are no places to get foor at the site (other than vending machines and modern plumbing) but no gas station.

The main building at the site contains a theater, displays, ticketing and administrative offices along with a gift shop.

You will enjoy seeing the steam engines, “Jupiter” and “No. 119″.  Both of the original engines were creapped in the early 1900’s but these replicas are there for you to enjoy.

Central Pacific Railroad Each Saturday during the summer the engines are drawn up facing each other as they were in 1869 and the Golden Spike Ceremony is re-enacted by local volunteers in period costume who take the roles of the prominent guests who were present at the event.

The “Railroaders Festival” is held each year on the second Saturday in August. In addition to the regular re-enactment of the ceremonial driving of the the golden spike, the Railroaders’ Festival features a number of other activities including Handcar races and rides, contests, an Old Time Fiddlers’ Concert, Buffalo Chip Throwing and other wholesome family activities.

Golden Spike is in the MOUNTAIN time zone and does change to daylight savings time.

Visitor Center hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. Closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas. Outside attractions are open during daylight hours.

Please call (435) 471-2209 ext. 29 for latest information.

ENTRANCE FEES ~ Private, noncommercial vehicle (See Pass Information below.)

Vehicle $7.00 (summer)/$5.00 (winter) – 7 Days 

Fee is good for all persons riding in a private, noncommercial vehicle.

Individual $4.00 (summer)/$3.00 (winter) – 7 Days

Admits one individual when entering by bicycle or motocycle.