Golden Spike weekend drew in 38K; exceeded expectations, event officials say

Golden Spike weekend drew in 38K; exceeded expectations, event officials say

(Steve Griffin, KSL)

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SALT LAKE CITY — More than 38,000 people from throughout the United States and six countries attended events related to the Golden Spike 150 celebration at Promontory Summit on and around May 10, officials said Tuesday.

“The celebration at Promontory Summit exceeded our expectations,” Golden Spike 150 president Aimee McConkie said, in a statement. “It was truly an inspirational tribute to the collaborative spirit that brought us the transcontinental railroad.”

Officials stated there were people from 49 states at the event, as well as travelers from China, Japan, Canada, Germany and Switzerland. That’s in addition to visits from U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Irish ambassador to the U.S. Daniel Mulhall, author Jon Meacham, Union Pacific president Lance Fritz and Chinese Historical Society of America president Connie Young Yu — all speakers who traveled to Utah for the main ceremony May 10.

An estimated 20,000 people attended the primary celebration. That ceremony also included remarks from Utah politicians and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Russell M. Nelson.

“The event was a remarkable way to honor this landmark moment in our history and reflect upon what it meant in 1869, what it means today and how it will affect our future,” Gov. Gary Herbert added in a statement.

Although the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad has come and gone, it wasn’t the end of Golden Spike 150 celebrations in Utah this year. On Monday, the Salt Lake Bees wore special jerseys honoring the anniversary.

Some of the original artifacts from the transcontinental railroad are on display at the Utah State Capitol, including the Pacific Railway Act of 1862 bill signed by President Abraham Lincoln, which commissioned the railroad, as well as the golden Arizona and Nevada spikes that were ceremoniously driven on May 10, 1869, to signify the completion of the railroad.

Train meet-ups and historical reenactments will be held all summer at the Golden Spike National Historical Park at Promontory Summit and the National Model Railroad Association 2019 National Train Show will be at the Mountain America Exposition Center in Sandy from July 7-13. There are also art exhibits and exhibits about immigrant workers related to the transcontinental railroad on display at various locations across the state.

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Carter Williams is a reporter who covers general news, local government, outdoors, history and sports for


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