The Golden Spike

150 years ago on May 10, 1869, America was united with a ceremonial “Golden Spike”. It marked the completion of a dream fulfilled by four businessmen, three of whom are known to be Masonic brothers.


The visionary Sacramento businessmen were: Leland Stanford (who later would serve as California’s governor and founder of Stanford University; Collis P. Huntington; Mark Hopkins; and Charles Crocker.


As the “Golden Spike” ceremony took place before cheering crowds at Promontory Summit, northwest of Salt Lake City, the Union Pacific Railroad from the east joined with the Central Pacific Railroad from the west as the first transcontinental railroad in the USA was completed.


These four Sacramento businessmen had seemingly done the impossible and, as the “Golden Spike” united the tracks, it would mark the beginning of a new era. No longer would pioneers or travelers have to endure a long and arduous crossing of the American prairies and the Rocky Mountains on horseback or by wagon train.


Although Congress had allowed funds to survey possible routes for a transcontinental railroad as early as 1832, any plans of constructing the railroad lines were put on hold with the outbreak of the Civil War.


The ceremonial “Golden Spike” joined 2,000 miles of track within budget and ahead of schedule and would change forever the way Americans would travel to the West.



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ILLUMINATING THE LEGACY OF THE WEST

Grace Dee May Museum at the Historic Shrine Auditorium

665 W. Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007

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