150 years ago Andrew Russell photographed the glory, and horror, of the railroad push west | Spike 150

150 years ago Andrew Russell photographed the glory, and horror, of the railroad push west

Los Angeles Times - May 23, 2019

The famous image was taken 150 years ago: On May 10, 1869, photographer Andrew Russell captured the triumphant moment when the East and West halves of the Transcontinental Railroad met and shook hands prior to the tapping of the golden spike into the ground at Promontory Summit, Utah, opening up the nation’s westward expansion. Russell was a painter and a Civil War photographer from New Hampshire commissioned by Union Pacific to bring the railroads and the American West to a larger audience. His images reveal the tension between the technological advances and economic potential the railroad represented versus the consequences to the land and the displacement of native peoples that would result.

< Back to All Articles
Footer Banner

Join the Spike 150 list to get Transcontinental Railroad 150th Celebration activity and event updates.

Footer Banner Image