It’s been almost 150 years since the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad, just over 50 miles from Cache Valley at Promontory Summit.
Celebrations for the historic May 10 anniversary have already begun, and as the big day approaches, there is even more to look forward to.
“It’s obviously one of the 19th century’s biggest achievements,” said Spencer Stokes, one of the Spike 150 commissioners.
The Spike 150 Commission was created in 2017 by Gov. Gary Herbert and the state legislature to organize events to commemorate the anniversary across the state. Throughout the year, 150 Golden Spike-related events will be held.
In planning these events, inclusion was an important focus. The governor wanted to ensure all the groups who helped build the railroad were remembered in the celebrations.
“There were many, many people that were disenfranchised and you don’t see them in the photo,” Stokes said. “But this is our opportunity, 150 years later, to give them their due.”
The following is a schedule of events for the celebration weekend at the Golden Spike National Historic Site, 6200 North 22300th Street West, Corinne:
FRIDAY, MAY 10
8 a.m. — Golden Spike National Historic Site Opens to the Public
8:15 a.m. — Replicas of the Jupiter and #119 steam engines from the iconic picture of the railroad’s completion in 1869 arrive.
11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. — Sesquicentennial Celebration Ceremony with remarks by dignitaries including representatives from the Railroad Worker Legacy, United States Congress, the National Park Service, the State of Utah, the Western Governors’ Association and the Union Pacific Railroad. A keynote address by presidential scholar Jon Meacham on the historical importance of the Transcontinental railroad and the “As One” performance.
The “As One” performance will be broadcast on KSL from noon to 1 p.m.
1:30-7 p.m. — Spike 150 festival. Activities include music, performances, storytelling, historical reenactments, train demonstrations, frontier village, innovation summit, reenactments and steam train demonstrations.
SATURDAY, MAY 11
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. — Spike 150 festival. Activities include: music, performances, storytelling, historical reenactments, train demonstrations, frontier village, innovation summit, reenactments, and steam train demonstrations.
SUNDAY, MAY 12
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Spike 150 festival continues.
More information about the specific festival activities can be found at spike150.org/events/#schedule.
The public can access the Golden Spike National Historic site by private car or chartered bus. Cars require a ticket purchased online in advance. On May 10 the fee is $20 per ticket, on May 11 and 12 tickets are $10 for each day. There is no additional fee to enter the historic site.
Food and drinks will be available for purchase onsite.
Other sesquicentennial celebration events will be held across the state throughout the summer. Here are some of the happenings in Cache and Box Elder counties. A complete list of statewide events can be found online.
March 23- June 1 — “The Spike at 150: Myths and Realities” is on exhibit in the Brigham City Museum of Art and History, 24 N. 300 West, Brigham City. This exhibit explores the history of the building of the transcontinental railroad through examining myths and legends surrounding its construction. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Entrance is free.
March 23 to June 1 — “Zhi Lin: Tracing Chinese Workers’ Footsteps to Promontory Summit” is on exhibit in the Brigham City Museum of Art and History. This exhibit features work by an artist who has spent more than a decade tracing the history of Chinese workers in the west.
May 1 to Aug. 24 — A Cache Valley Railroad exhibit will be on display at the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum, 160 N. Main St., Logan. Within three years of the driving of the Golden Spike, the railroad made it to Cache Valley. This exhibit explores the growth and decline of train routes in the valley and how the railroad impacted the economy. The exhibit will be open Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout May. From June through August, the exhibit will be open Tuesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Entrance is free.
May 2, 7 p.m. — USU Spike 150 Lecture: Why Promontory – The Joining of the Rails, USU-Brigham City Auditorium, 989 S. Main St., Brigham City. This lecture by Dr. F. Ross Peterson will also be available to stream live online at aggiecast.usu.edu.
May 4, 1 p.m. — Brigham City Horse Parade, Brigham City Main Street. To kick off the week of Golden Spike celebrations, this parade will showcase life in 1869 with authentic period dress and equipment from each of Utah’s 29 counties.
May 4, 6 p.m. — Sesquicentennial Kickoff Hoedown, Box Elder County Fairgrounds Event Center, 320 N 1000 West, Tremonton. This free event will feature live music and dancing. Food available for purchase.
May 7-9 — “The Crossing: Box Elder’s Golden Treasure,” Old Barn Theater, 3605 Bigler Road, Fielding. This free performance will feature vignettes of the Bear River Crossing to Brigham City and highlight the history of the railroad, the crossing at Hampton Ford, Native American life, stagecoach travel, and the Bushnell military hospital. Performances are at 7 p.m. on May 7 and 8 and at 10 a.m. on May 9. To reserve tickets, call (435)452-1674.
May 10-11 — Uniting A Nation Golden Spike Shooting Competition, Three Mile Creek Shooting Range 3100 S. 2015 West, Perry. This shooting competition will feature theme-based targets and prizes. Tickets are $10. Youth under 16 are free with a paying adult. Events will be held at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day. Pre-register online at www.perrycity.org or by calling 35-723-6461.