Promontory Point

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PROMONTORY POINT, Utah, was the site of the dramatic completion, on 10 May 1869, of the first transcontinental railroad, which linked the Union Pacific on the east and the Central Pacific on the west. A giant crowd gathered to witness the final ceremonies. Following prayers and brief but grandiloquent speeches, the president of the Central Pacific, Leland Stanford, using a silver sledgehammer, nervously drove the last spike, made of gold, into a polished California laurel tie. A Western Union telegraph apparatus was connected along with the spike, so that Stanford's final strokes were instantly heralded in all cities of the United States. Two locomotives, Jupiter and 119, crept forward until their noses touched, and a cheering crowd confirmed a single-word telegram: "Done."


Bain, David Haward. Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad. New York: Viking, 1999.

Winther, Oscar Osburn. The Transportation Frontier: Trans-Mississippi West, 1865–1890. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1964.

Oscar OsburnWinther/w. p.

See alsoCentral Pacific–Union Pacific Race ; Railroads ; Transcontinental Railroad, Building of .