An engineering feat's 150th anniversary

From the Wall Street Journal

Salt Lake City--Immersed in our fast-paced world of hyper-interconnectivity, we often forget that people’s lives were markedly different not so long ago. Written communication was slow and sporadic before the telegraph changed things in the mid-19th century. And until the final third of that century, more than half of the continental U.S. was largely uninhabited by anyone except American Indians. The Transcontinental Railroad, completed in 1869, was what really made America a nation from sea to shining sea.
Linking of America's first Transcontinental Railroad in Utah was an earth-shaking event that we can only appreciate if we put ourselves in the shoes of the people who lived then, as explained in this fine Wall Street Journal piece. Just a few years after the end of the Civil War, the driving of the "golden spike" linking the two rail lines emanating from opposite directions had to be as "awesome" as going to the moon was to past generations.
See "Hell on Wheels," a TV historical and fictional series about the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad.

The Golden Spike

The Golden Spike

The final linking

The final linking

The route.

The route.

Chinese workers built the western leg east from the Pacific

Chinese workers built the western leg east from the Pacific

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Irish, freed slaves and Civil War veterans built from the Missouri River west.

Irish, freed slaves and Civil War veterans built from the Missouri River west.

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An engineering accomplishment extraordinaire!

An engineering accomplishment extraordinaire!

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Filed under: History

Tags: Transcontinental Railroad

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