Introduction

January 29-May 31, 2019

Highway to the Pacific cover

On May 10, 1869, the last rail was laid, a golden spike was driven, and the Union Pacific Railroad, proceeding west from Omaha, and the Central Pacific Railroad, proceeding east from Sacramento, met at Promontory, Utah, having built together the first transcontinental railroad in the world. Our current exhibit of original pamphlets, maps, photographs, government surveys, and other materials tells the story of this “highway to the Pacific,” as promoters often called it.  A great technological achievement, the railroad was the subject of intense political debate before construction began, finally emerged out of the turmoil of the Civil War, and played a leading role in the long-term development of the American west.   

Introduction