On May 10th, 1869 the transcontinental railway was completed, and the meeting point of the East and West going railways was right here in Utah. This year marks the 150th anniversary of this historic event and there are several celebrations planned throughout the state. You can find more information about events and celebrations at Spike150.org, or plan a visit to the Golden Spike National Historic Park and see where it happened.
In honor of this anniversary, visit the library to peruse unique books from our Special Collections area about Golden Spike and the history of trains and railroads in Utah.
GOLDEN SPIKE: NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
By Robert M. Utley
Part of the “Historical Handbook Series” published by the National Parks Service and U.S. Department of Interior, this small book packs a lot of history into its 60-ish pages. It details how the Promontory site was chosen and the record breaking 10 miles of track laid in a day the push to complete the railroad was happening.
RAILWAY REFLECTIONS: A HISTORICAL REVIEW OF UTAH RAILROADS
By Gilbert H. Bennett
This unique book is a collection of paintings by artist Gilbert H. Bennett. It takes the reader on a historical journey through railroading history in Utah, beginning at the Golden Spike. The beautiful full color prints of the oil and watercolor paintings are beautiful and add a great visual to a fascinating history.
IRON HORSES TO PROMONTORY: GOLDEN SPIKE EDITION
By Gerald M. Best
Chock full of illustrations, some historic photographs, and scans of newspaper clippings, this book is perfect for the history buff with a propensity towards the visual. The high quality photos are pretty remarkable, and make the already interesting piece of history more robust and accessible.
CROSSROAD OF THE WEST: A PHOTOGRAPHIC LOOK AT FIFTY YEARS OF RAILROADING HISTORY IN UTAH
By Blair Kooistra
Another photographic collection, this book goes beyond the Golden Spike and delves into more modern railroading developments and uses. It includes breathtaking full color photos of more recent trains and rail lines, including Kennecott’s specially designed train cars and the Rio Grande’s Carbon County coal train. This is a must read for any true railfan.
THE GOLDEN SPIKE
Edited by David E. Miller
The Western History Center at the University of Utah compiled this book of well researched historical articles from colleges and organizations around the state. They published it in conjunction with the centennial or 100 year anniversary of the Golden Spike.
If you’d like to know more about the Transcontinental Railroad and this fascinating time in our nation’s history, there are some very thorough and well researched books about this topic available on our e-book and audiobook service, Libby. Here are a few that come highly recommended: