Monday, May 11, 2009

Promontory Point

One hundred and forty years ago and one day, the two coasts of the United States became connected by rail. It was May 10th, 1869.

At that time, the state of Utah was still a territory and a spot called "Promontory" was about to receive the attention of the world and mark a place in American history.

It was there where the final rail was laid linking the Union Pacific tracks out of Omaha with the Central Pacific tracks out of San Francisco.

Five years of labor had gone before to bring the two to Promontory, Utah.

Leland Stanford, President of the Central Pacific, took a silver plated sledgehammer in his burly hands and took aim at the gold spike in the final rail.

America was listening for that clank. Telegraph operators were at the ready. The Railroad's future was bright. Two engines were puffing in anticipation. The Union Pacific number 199 and the Central's number 60, better known as the Jupiter, waited to touch iron noses. All was set Sanford swung the silver hammer at the bright golden spike…

...and he missed.

Somehow, now that seems appropriate. The railroads future was never perfect. Progress took a different route and a new track eventually bypassed Promontory. Then, as irony would have it, the old rails were needed for steel during the 2nd world war and they were removed. Promontory today has no tracks, only a memory in May.

1 comment:

Topher08 said...

I enjoyed this post and especially enjoyed you mentioning that the Railroad President missed on his first attempt in striking the golden spike during the ceremony.
Take Care.

Free Blog CounterEnglish German Translation