Union Pacific launched a two-year celebration in May commemorating the Great Race to complete the transcontinental railroad nearly 150 years ago. Its crews built railroad tracks west of Omaha, NE, while Central Pacific constructed east of Sacramento, CA. A symbolic golden spike was driven at a ceremony when the railroads met in Promontory Summit, Utah, May 10, 1869.
“The driving of the final rail spike defined Union Pacific as the economic engine that connected people, moved goods and transformed America’s progress,” said Scott Moore, Union Pacific senior vice president/corporate relations. “We look forward to honoring the communities and railroad development that played critical roles in our country’s growth and way of life.”
Union Pacific representatives presented Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg with a commemorative golden spike in nearly the exact location where 1860s California Governor Leland Stanford broke ground for CP in Sacramento. The presentation was webcasted on Facebook Live, launching Union Pacific’s two-year celebration of the Great Race to Promontory.
The company introduced an interactive website illustrating the journey through 46 communities profoundly impacted by the railroad. The site features rare photographs and animated maps illustrating how America was built. Union Pacific also launched the following series of activities and celebrations that bring each community’s history to life:
Community Traveling Exhibit – A traveling history display documenting each community’s connection to the transcontinental railroad’s construction with photographs and descriptions. Education materials will be available to schools and other organizations hosting the exhibit.
Commemorative Golden Spike – An encased golden spike for community partners along the transcontinental route. A plaque inside the box reads, “Towns developed, and the bond between UP and the early settlements grew. As we celebrate the 150th Golden Spike anniversary, UP is proud of these long-standing community relationships.”
Race to Promontory: The Transcontinental Railroad and the American West – A landmark art exhibition in partnership with the Joslyn Art Museum highlighting Union Pacific’s collection of original photographs documenting the transcontinental railroad’s construction. Union Pacific has the world’s largest collection of these photographs, some of which have rarely been seen by the general public. Exhibitions are planned for California, Utah and Omaha, Nebraska.
Steam Train Visits – A Union Pacific steam locomotive and heritage train will travel over the transcontinental railroad for community celebrations prior to the actual 150th anniversary May 10, 2019.
Union Pacific will host activities and events in the following communities as part of its two-year celebration.
Central City, NE
Grand Island, NE
North Platte, NE
Wood River, NE
Green River, WY
Rock Springs, WY
Salt Lake City, UT
Battle Mountain, NV