Volunteer | Spike 150
Spike 150 Primer Spike 150 Primer

Welcome aboard!

You have accepted the challenge and the joy of being a volunteer to tell the story of America’s first transcontinental railroad.

To be a volunteer guide or docent for Spike150 and its affiliated organizations, complete the Iron Spike requirements.

There are four levels:

Iron Spike

Requirements

Estimated Completion Time | 2 – 4 Hours

 

WATCH KUED PROMONTORY VIDEO

Watch Video

READ PAGES 3-15
“THE TRANSCONTINENTAL
RAILROAD &THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE WEST”

Read

— READ PAGES 310-323
“DASH TO PROMONTORY.” —

Read

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Gold Spike

Requirements

READ ONE OF THE FOLLOWING BOOKS

You may choose to purchase these books, from your local bookstore or from online, or check them out from your local public or academic library.

Ambrose, Stephen E. | Nothing Like It In The World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869. New York: Simon& Schuster, 2001.

Bain, David H. | Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad. New York: Penguin Books, 2000.

Dearinger, Ryan. | The Filth of Progress: Immigrants, Americans, and the building of canals and railroads in the West. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2016. Chapters 4-6.

White, Richard. | Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America. New York: W.W. Norton& Company, 2011.

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Silver Spike

Requirements

IN ADDITION TO IRON SPIKE COMPLETION ESTIMATED COMPLETION TIME | 6 – 10 HRS

 

READ PAGES 349-362
“GROWING UP RAILROAD: REMEMBERING ECHO CITY.”

Read

READ
“UTAH EDUCATION NETWORK – TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD.

Read

READ PAGES 41-57
“CHINESE LABORERS AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE CENTRAL PACIFIC.”

Read

READ PAGES 352-363
“ROLLING TO THE 150TH: SESQUICENTENNIAL OF THE TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD.”

Read

READ CHAPTER 6
“REPUBLIC OF NATURE: AN ENVIRONMENTAL HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.”

Reprinted with permission from the University of Washington Press

Read

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Junior Spike

Requirements

READ AT LEAST THREE OF THE FOLLOWING BOOKS

You may choose to purchase these books, from your local bookstore or from online, or check them out from your local public or academic library.

Fraser, Mary Ann. | Ten Mile Day: And the Building of the Transcontinental Railroad. New York: H. Holt, 1993.

Graham, Ian. | You Wouldn’t Want to Work on the Railroad!: A Track You’d Rather Not Go Down. New York: Franklin Watts, 2001.

Perritano, John. | The Transcontinental Railroad. New York: Children’s Press, 2010.

Wolfe, Linda Gunter. | Travel By Rail: Changing Lives in Early America. Indianapolis, IN: Bear Wallow Books, 2015.

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Track

TIMELINE OF THE

Transcontinental
Railroad
1853-1854

Transcontinental Surveys. The U.S. Government sent out several surveys to determine which route would be best possible route for the Pacific road.

1853

Utah Territory Legislative Resolution. This resolution supported railroad routes through the territory to help the economy in the area and connect with the East and West. Utah recommended a route south of the Great Salt Lake.

1850s-60s

U.S. Government and Secretary William H. Seward establish laws to keep incentive for Chinese foreign laborers to aid in the labor strapped USA.

July 1860

Theodore Judah explores and surveys the Sierra Nevada Mountains, choosing Donner Pass for the railroad line. A route through the Sierra Nevada Mountains is found, making the idea of a transcontinental railroad a possibility. He eventually creates a map he lobbies Congress with, showing hot the road can be built.

November 1860

The first Board of Directors of the Central Pacific Railroad Company is organized with Theodore Judah, Collis P. Huntington, Mark Hopkins, James Bailey, Charles Crocker, and Leland Stanford. These men are the financial backers to get the railroad up and out of Sacramento heading east.

July 1, 1862

President Abraham Lincoln signs the Pacific Railroad Bill passed by Congress. The Central Pacific Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad are to build from Omaha, Nebraska, to Sacramento, California. The U.S. government approves and financially helps to pay for the railroad to connect the east and the west.

January 1864

First documented evidence of the Central Pacific’s hiring of Chinese workers in California.

July 11, 1864

Union Pacific Vice President Thomas Durant lobbied Congress to amend the 1862 Pacific Railroad Bill, to double the land grant, give Central Pacific Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad rights to all natural resources on the line, and removes limitations on individual stock ownership.

Summer 1868

Likely the peak of Chinese employment on the Central Pacific, reaching perhaps towards 15,000 workers.

Summer 1868

Brigham Young signs contract with Union Pacific to grade, cut, fill, and tunnel the railroad from Echo, Utah, to the Great Salt Lake (distance of 90 miles). Brigham Young contracts with Central Pacific officials to grade, cut, and fill the railroad from Humboldt Wells, Nevada to Ogden, Utah (distance of 200 miles).

April 28, 1869

Based on a bet with Union Pacific, the Central Pacific, marshaling thousands of Chinese workers with eight Irish rail layers (with other supporting Irish), laid ten miles of track in one day. This they did 3.5 miles from Promontory Summit, making it impossible for the UP to meet or beat this new record.

May 10, 1869

Union Pacific and Central Pacific meet at Promontory Summit, Utah. The first transcontinental railroad is completed, cutting the amount of time it takes to cross the U.S. from months to days.

1864-73

Crédit Mobilier Scandal. UP and CP create corporation to cheat more money out of the U.S. and the construction of the railroad to benefit a relatively small number of investors. Congress investigated this from 1872-1873, and discovered the rampant corruption and scandal.

1875

Chief Sagwitch said, “The railroads pass through my country and have scared the game all away…. and all I want is peace and to be allowed to make a farm in a small, very small, portion of the country I have always lived in and still want to line in.”

1882

Chinese Exclusion Act becomes federal law. Bans Chinese immigration and forbids naturalization of those already in the U.S. and many Chinese leave the USA. Japanese, Italian, and other minorities instead work on the railroad maintenance.

November 18, 1883

Railroads adopt standardized time with four time zones across the continent.

1902-1904

The 102-mile-long Lucin Cutoff was built across the Great Salt Lake shortening the trip by 43-miles or 21-27 hours. The northern route around the Great Salt Lake changes.

September 8, 1942

Spikes, ties, and rails removed and re-purposed from the Promontory Unit of the Southern Pacific Railroad (formerly Central Pacific) for WWII war effort.

— A special thanks to —
Valerie Jacobson,  Brad Westwood, Wendy Rex-Atzet, Chris Merritt, and Holy George

 

 

 

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