This day in history - September 8, 1883 - Completion of Northern Pacific's Transcontinental Railroad

in Home Edders5 months ago

Most people have heard of the golden spike ceremony held in Utah when the first transcontinental railroad was completed.

But few have heard about the second.

This event grabbed my immediate attention when researching events because about 30 years ago, I read a very good book on the history of the Pacific Northwest, which included the image of an advertisement in a Swedish-language newspaper (in Minneapolis, if my memory serves me correctly) trying to get workers to sign on for helping in the completion of the second transcontinental railroad - the Northern route, which ran through Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and finally Washington State. (It connected East through Wisconsin and Chicago.)

(The Northern Pacific route -

The connection of west and east was actually made on August 23, 1883, at Hell Gate Canyon, some 55 miles west of Helena, Montana. The ceremony wasn't held until September 8, at Gold Creek.

("Villard Golden Spike Excursion" passes through Fargo, ND, on the way to the ceremony - as captured by F.J. Hayes - NDSU Archives)

The laborers were largely Chinese from the western end and Irish and Swedish from the eastern end, hence the ad that I read years ago.

Here is a video about how the celebrations were carried out in St Paul, and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

There is plenty more reading about this event in the sources below.
And for the superachievers in the home ed community, here's a feature-length video from PBS that might be of interest.


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