I stand astride America’s Transcontinental Railway, looking east, then west.
Initiated by Lincoln, overseen by Johnson, and completed under Grant, the undertaking called for the Union Pacific Railroad to work westward from Omaha and the Central Pacific, eastward from Sacramento. They met, as most schoolchildren learned in my day (do they study this anymore?), at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory, in 1869, where a laurel tie was laid and ceremonial golden spike was driven to link the two coasts. With that linking, a cross-country journey abruptly dropped from six weeks to five days. Moving people and freight and the telegraphy that paralleled the tracks changed America forever. The immensity of the undertaking (the equivalent of a 19th century NASA moon shot) captured Continue reading “Promontory Summit & the Golden Spike”