Golden Spike (1869): Topics in Chronicling America
In 1869, the Pacific and Union railroad tracks were joined by a golden spike, completing the Trancontinental Railroad. This guide provides access to material related to "Golden Spike" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.
Chronicling America is a searchable digital collection of historic newspaper pages from 1789-1963 sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.
Included in the website is the Directory of US Newspapers in American Libraries, a searchable index to newspapers published in the United States since 1690, which helps researchers identify what titles exist for a specific place and time, and how to access them.
The crowd cheers as Governor Leland Stanford drives the Golden Spike at Promontory Summit, Utah to complete the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. More than one thousand people, including immigrant laborers, gathered to witness the joining of the Pacific and Union tracks, which provided the United States with coast-to-coast transportation and communication. Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
July 1, 1862
Congress passes Pacific Railroad Bill, authorizing construction of a continuous cross-country railroad and telegraph line.
May 8, 1869
Hammering of last spike delayed due to weather.
May 10, 1869
Governor Leland Stanford drives in golden spike to unite Central and Union Pacific tracks in Promontory Summit, Utah. More than 1,000 people attend ceremony.
Cities across the country commemorate completion of transcontinental railroad project with parades, galas, and fireworks.