Coasting with Culture
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Coasting with Culture's 2017 Utah, Idaho & Wyoming Tour
Part 2, Golden Spike National Historic Site

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5/27/2017 - The first full day of the tour would focus on the cultural side of Utah with our first stop involving an hour or so drive Northwest
of Salt Lake City to Promontory Summit, home of the Golden Spike National Historic Site. This is the same location in which the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads came together to form the first transcontinental railroad across the United States. The site is now a national park with a visitor center and trails for hiking and driving to enjoy the views. One of the highlights of the visitor center is the reenactment of the ceremony of the driving of the final spikes for the connection of the railroad which we were able to watch.


Inside of the visitor center, there are several exhibits with multiple artifacts from the building of the railroad.


In a display case, they have a replica of the Golden Spike which was the ceremonial spike driven into the railroad tie. The actual Golden Spike can currently be found at Stanford University.


 They also feature a display with replicas of all four of the ceremonial spikes that were placed on the tie for the symbolic last spikes driven, and description cards with more details of the origin of each spike. Each spike came from different states and made of metal such as silver (like the spike from Nevada), gold (like the last spike, which came from California), or a blend of the two as well as iron (from Arizona).


Another exhibit space showcases tools from the actual track laying process describing how they built the railroad, as well as other additional artifacts.


In the same room there was a miniture replica of the ceremony for the driving of the last spike connecting the two railroads.


Back outside of the visitor center, there were several plaques comemorating the railroad, as well as plaques that paid tribute to those who worked to make the creation of the railroad possible.


One of the highlights of visiting the historic site is being able to see the spot where the final spikes were driven to connect the two railraods, maked by the special stained railroad tie on the ground.


One detail that was pointed out by the park ranger that we did not notice immediately was the difference in the railroad ties. Both railroad companies had different styles of railroad ties because of the type of trees available from where they traveled through to get to this point. The more rounded ties were from the Union Pacific Railroad which came from the East, while the more square ties came from the Central Pacific which came from the West.


As part of the reenactment of the Golden Spike Ceremony, they have replicas of both trains that can be seen in the famous photo of the ceremony. The first one to arrive was the Jupiter which was operated by the Central Pacific Railroad. While the original had come from the west, for the ceremony on this day they would back it up as both engines are stored in the same shed.


After a while, they brough the other engine, the 119 which was operated by the Union Pacific Railroad from the East.


And once both engines arrive, they begin the reenactment of the ceremony with volunteers who play the parts of different people who spoke
at the ceremony, reading the speechs that each person gave, and also had a guy who played the messenger that telegraphed the events of the ceremony.


Part of the ceremony included the presidents of both railroads placing the special spikes into the ceremonial tie, and then they were also given a special hammer to gently tap the spikes to symbolicly drive the ceremonial spikes.

Afterwards, the actual last spikes would be driven in as seen in the video below.


Once the ceremony is through, the cast offers an opportunity for taking pictures with them, as Nicole took advantage of while holding one of the ceremonial spikes!

As a group, we quite enjoyed our stop and getting to see the Golden Spike Ceremony Reenactment!


Up next, we head back towards Salt Lake City, but first take a little side journey on one of the historic site's driving trails for some incredible views, then head into a nearby small town for lunch and a nice walk.
 
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Part 6 - Snow King Mountain (Coming Soon)
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Part 7 - The Great Salt Lake (Coming Soon)
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Part 8 - Lagoon Amusement Park (Coming Soon)
Part 3 - Driving Trail & Brigham City (Coming Soon)
Part 9 - Smith's Ballpark (Coming Soon)
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Part 5 - Yellowstone Bear World (Coming Soon)

And that concludes our arrival day into Utah! Join us for the next update as we head North for a glimpse into the past at the site of one of the most significant transportation projects in the history of the United States. ​

 
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Jump to another part of this trip report:
HOME
Part 6 - Snow King Mountain (Coming Soon)
Part 1 - Arrival Day
Part 7 - The Great Salt Lake (Coming Soon)
>> Part 2 - Golden Spike National Historic Site <<
Part 8 - Lagoon Amusement Park (Coming Soon)
Part 3 - Driving Trail & Brigham City (Coming Soon)
Part 9 - Smith's Ballpark (Coming Soon)
Part 4 - Temple Square (Coming Soon)

Part 5 - Yellowstone Bear World (Coming Soon)