Skip to Content
  • Language
  • End User
  • Educational Use
  • Time Required
(1)
(6)
(3)
(7)
(7)
(1)
(6)
(3)
(6)

Found 7 Collections

 

Examining the Transcontinental Railroad - Nn

Railroads started well before 1869, but it was not until that year that the nation was bound together by a commitment to build the first transcontinental system. On May 10, 1869, the driving of a golden spike, signaled the ceremonial end to a process that had been going on for 6 years of construction, engineering, and human toil. Two companies, one starting in Omaha, Nebraska and the other in Sacramento, California competed to lay track towards each other to join the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads. Their reward for each mile was government money and lots of it. By the time that they met at Promontory Summit, Utah, vast sums of money and untold human labor and sacrifice had been expended on this incredible technical endeavor. A single track united the continent's Wester and Eastern regions. Travel from East to West used to take months by wagon train, could now be measured in mere days. This collection utilizes Primary Source student review strategies from the Library of Congress' Primary Source Analysis Tools

Brian Ausland
14
 

NavNorth - Examining the Transcontinental Railroad

Railroads started well before 1869, but it was not until that year that the nation was bound together by a commitment to build the first transcontinental system. On May 10, 1869, the driving of a golden spike, signaled the ceremonial end to a process that had been going on for 6 years of construction, engineering, and human toil. Two companies, one starting in Omaha, Nebraska and the other in Sacramento, California competed to lay track towards each other to join the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads. Their reward for each mile was government money and lots of it. By the time that they met at Promontory Summit, Utah, vast sums of money and untold human labor and sacrifice had been expended on this incredible technical endeavor. A single track united the continent's Wester and Eastern regions. Travel from East to West used to take months by wagon train, could now be measured in mere days. This collection utilizes Primary Source student review strategies from the Library of Congress' Primary Source Analysis Tools

Brian Ausland
14
 

Golden Spike Anniversary Topical Collection

This collection was created by Jared Tupuola, a Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center intern. Jared dove into the histories of Chinese laborers and the Golden Spike Anniversary, the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. 

"On May 10, 1869, the Central Pacific and Union Pacific rail lines were connected in a highly publicized ceremony attended by railroad laborers, major financial supporters and the press. Led by industrial tycoon, Leland Stanford, the event commemorated the birth of the First Transcontinental Railroad. The completion of the railroad made national news and was lauded as a great economic and cultural success for the U.S. 

Despite the attention given to the event, there remained one group of contributors who were almost entirely left out of being recognized for their integral work to the project; Chinese railroad laborers. Although making up the vast majority of the physical work force behind the railroad, Chinese labor contributions were largely disregarded. This instance was not unique to many early Chinese Americans who faced discrimination, animosity, and degradation not only in rail work, but in almost every industry and facet of life. The hardships for early Chinese in America were exacerbated by the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 which not only prevented further immigration from China to the U.S., it also birthed an impetus to drive out Chinese communities already established.

Through this collection, the work, lives, and experiences of Chinese laborers and migrants are presented as an opportunity to learn more about how some of America's earliest Chinese residents navigated America in the late 19th Century. This collection provides art, ceramics and information that expounds upon the realities of Chinese American life and the First Transcontinental Railroad while ensuring that the Chinese contributions are not forgotten.  By no means an exhaustive resource, this collection allows for an introduction into Chinese contributions to the Transcontinental Railroad and encourages further exploration into the topic."

Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center
77
 

Golden Spike Anniversary

On May 10, 1869, the Central Pacific and Union Pacific rail lines were connected in a highly publicized ceremony attended by railroad laborers, major financial supporters and the press. Led by industrial tycoon, Leland Stanford, the event commemorated the birth of the First Transcontinental Railroad. The completion of the railroad made national news and was lauded as a great economic and cultural success for the U.S. 

Despite the attention given to the event, there remained one group of contributors who were almost entirely left out of being recognized for their integral work to the project; Chinese railroad laborers. Although making up the vast majority of the physical work force behind the railroad, Chinese labor contributions were largely disregarded. This instance was not unique to many early Chinese Americans who faced discrimination, animosity, and degradation not only in rail work, but in almost every industry and facet of life. The hardships for early Chinese in America were exacerbated by the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 which not only prevented further immigration from China to the U.S., it also birthed an impetus to drive out Chinese communities already established.

Through this collection, the work, lives, and experiences of Chinese laborers and migrants are presented as an opportunity to learn more about how some of America's earliest Chinese residents navigated America in the late 19th Century. This collection provides art, ceramics and information that expounds upon the realities of Chinese American life and the First Transcontinental Railroad while ensuring that the Chinese contributions are not forgotten.  By no means an exhaustive resource, this collection allows for an introduction into Chinese contributions to the Transcontinental Railroad and encourages further exploration into the topic.

Jared Tupuola
78
 

Transcontinental Railroad: the 19th Century "Network" of the Future

In 1862, the Pacific Railroad Act chartered the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroad Companies, and tasked them with building a transcontinental railroad that would link the United States from East to West. Over the next seven years, the two companies would race toward each other starting from Sacramento, California in the West and Omaha, Nebraska to the East, both teams struggled to overcome  great engineering obstacles and physical risks to their workforce before the two lines were joined at Promontory, Utah, on May 10, 1869. This "network" connecting our nation and  continent, was a huge technological step forward for our country that incited many other technologies and industries.

Jodi Halligan M.Ed
13
 

Building the Transcontinental Railroad

At our core, we are railroad people. The railroads, for better or worse, shaped the cities in which we live and the spatial relationships between the rural and urban areas of the United States. Railroad language creeps into our vocabulary. We are always getting derailed, or off-track, or, if angry, we are steamed or getting ready to blow our stacks! Our understanding of time and of time zones and our ability to trace the minute shifts of seconds and minutes is a product of being a railroad nation. And, until recently, as one of the largest employers in the United States, many people have a personal family connection to working on the railroads. Railroads started well before 1869, but it was not until that year that the nation was bound together by a transcontinental system. On May 10, 1869, the driving of a golden spike, signaled the ceremonial end to a process that had been going on for years. Two companies, one starting in Omaha and the other in Sacramento competed to lay track. Their reward for each mile was government money and lots of it. By the time that they met at Promontory Point, Utah, vast sums of money and untold human labor and sacrifice had been expended on this incredible human endeavor. A single track united the continent. What used to take months by wagon train, could now be measured in mere days. It changed everything, forever. 

California State Railroad Museum
13
 

Road to the West: Railroads

This subject goes over the construction of the railroads in the United States in the 1860's and the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad

Richard O'Brien
9