Promontory Point Salt Lake

Added By: Pat Marsh
History is not dead.

During my work trip to Salt Lake Utah, I was able to see two amazing sites. The Spiral Jetty and Promontory Point. Both of these locations have such a rich history to them. Promontory Point is a place I remember learning about in school. Just north of Salt Lake his is where two iron horses joined a nation and helped carry it through 35 years of prosperous commerce.

The story told by the ranger staff when you visit this location is so elaborate and colorful that it will completely take you back to this time in history.


It took 7 grueling years to complete, but on May 10, 1869, two iron horses known as the #119 of the Union Pacific and #60 “Jupiter” of the central Pacific halted nose to nose. Along with those two belching beasts, countless dignitaries and over 4000 workers converged on this spot where the final spike was driven into the ground. This spike linked the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroad into one transcontinental railway.

At first there were no plans for pomp and circumstance, but the San Francisco businessman David Hewes thought otherwise. He collected $400 of his own gold and donated it to make a “Golden Spike”.

This gold plated spike finished the job so many others began. Marked by a solid oak tie and plaque today this spike is the most widely known spike of the four used that day.

Salt Lake

For 35 years the railroad flourished; towns such as Ogden, UT and  Salt Lake City prospered with the introduction of the new railway. Sadly, the innovative engineering of the Industrial Revolution made the railway obsolete. A more efficient path was created in 1904 and these rails would soon lay dormant forever.  


Salt Lake

In the park you will find it a joy to walk through many displays to commemorate that day. As I was walking through, I found that the last rail from the east was forged in Joliet, IL

at the Joliet Iron Works (near my home town of Lockport). From 1864-1938 this was the second largest steel works in the USA at the time. GO STEELMAN!

Salt Lake


Promontory Point signifies the beginning of transcontinental railway expanding commerce and travel in the United States. This piece of history offers an incredible opportunity. Look back at our country testing the limits of technology and perseverance. Stop to talk to the friendly and informative park staff at the Golden Spike Visitor Center. sign the guest book, and get a collectible to remember your visit.

Don’t forget to get a burger at “Golden Spike Burgers” in Corinne (41.551211°,-112.109753)


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