Located in Brigham City, Utah, the Golden Spike National Historic Site celebrates the joining of the Central Pacific and the Union Railroads at the Promontory Summit in May of 1869. Visitors can expect an engaging educational experience as they learn about the people and the place that formed the very first Transcontinental Railroad.
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The Golden Spike is the site where the United States completed its first Transcontinental Railroad in the summer of 1869. By hammering in this final “golden spike” with a special silver hammer, the Central Pacific Railroad (stretching from California to Iowa) and the Union Railroad (stretching from Iowa to New York were officially joined together. This created a non-stop connection, coast to coast, from California to New York stretching almost 3,000miles.
The completion of this railroad meant that the once mysterious and “dangerous” West was connected to the East coast. This made the entire country much more accessible to everyone and allowing for a much more connected country. It also meant easier trading as well as safer and shorter travel.
Currently, the railroad is approaching 150 years of age and it is still going strong. The tracks still carry thousands of passenger and cargo trains each year, and the historic site of the Golden Spike receives more than 60,000 visitors a year alone.
There are all kinds of attractions for visitors of all ages at the Golden Spike Historical Site, including re-enactments, steam engine demonstrations, and even the Visitors Center & Engine House which is filled with various trains and steam engines from the era.
Re-enactments: Everyday during the peak summer season, trained volunteers reenact the official driving of the Golden Spike, or the final spike uniting the railroads, at the very spot where it originally happened. Various volunteers also portray members of society who were in attendance at this prominent ceremony on the 10th day of May 1869. The enactments start on the first of May and run through September. They start at 11:00 a.m. and finish around 1:00 p.m. Reservations are not required, and visitors of all ages are welcome to attend.
Steam demonstrations: These demonstrations are truly a sight for any train lover. The carefully designed replica locomotives actually move along the train tracks every day of the week from May to October. Don’t miss the chance to see Jupiter and Engine No. 119 in action.
Visitor’s Center & Engine House: This area of the historical site houses the replica locomotives as well as all kinds of fun information about the historical site. There are antiques, artifacts, and much more from around the late 1800’s for guests to enjoy. Anyone interested in volunteering to keep the locomotives running are also invited to apply for the volunteer program.
Winter Steam Festival: Every year around the holidays, the Golden Spike historic site and its staff bring out one of their incredible steam engine replicas to operate on the tracks for a few days. Guests are invited to witness a functional locomotive run on steam in the extremely cold and dense air of Utah. Be sure to visit the Golden Spike calendar for more information.
Education & Programs
The Golden Spike Historical Site invites teachers and their students to attend an educationally engaging field trip year-round. Students will be allowed to dress in clothing from the time-period while learning all about the site, its surroundings, and its prevalence in American history. Be sure to make a reservation online at least two weeks in advance.
Golden Spike National Historic Site, P. O. Box 897, Brigham City, UT 84302, Phone: 435-471-2209