On my final morning I left my digs at West Yellowstone early in the morning, on my way to Salt Lake City for my flight home but I had one more stop before I headed west to the Golden State. This trip was bookended with our railroading history. One one end was the Union Pacific Steam stronghold and the largest steam engines that ever rode the rails and on the other end I was going to one of the most revered locations in United States railroading history.
I headed off the highway, north of the Great Salt Lake, to a destination that has been described as “45 minutes from nowhere”. Here I was in high desert and the temperature was heading into the low 70’s, a heat I hadn’t felt all trip.
My destination was where the Transcontinental Railroad met and was completed in 1869, known today as the Golden Spike National Historic Site. This was where the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific finally united the country from coast to coast thus making overland travel by wagon a thing of the past.
I had only a limited time here because I had to return my Jeep and make my flight so I did not have time for any field sketches. I took plenty of photographs and my feature sketch is based on one of these photographs.
A drawing based on the famous photograph by A. J. Russell “East and West Shaking Hands at Laying of Last Rail”, May 10, 1869 at Promontory Summit, Utah.
The Golden Spike at Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Museum. The spike was a gift to Leland Stanford and lends its name to the National Historic Site. The sketch was drawn from life in Palo Alto, Ca.