After you drive down a long two-lane road across grasslands and nothingness, you reach Golden Spike National Historic Site. It is comprised of a visitor center and a railway behind the visitor center. The history of this small place has great meaning.
By the beginning of the Civil War, almost 31,000 miles of railway connected the eastern states, more than all in Europe. But America needed more. They wanted to connect the east to the west, by railroad. In California, Theodore Judah was already planning the route it would take through the Sierra Nevadas. By 1862, Judah had persuaded the wealthy Sacramento merchants to form the Central Pacific Railroad.
That year the Union Pacific was also formed. The Union Pacific would start in the east and move to the west. The Central Pacific would work from the west and move eastward. The Union Pacific made quicker progress because the could just bring supplies to the end of the railroad and drop if off. The supplies for the Central Pacific needed to be shipped around Cape Horn.
On May 10, 1896, the task they many people though was impossible, was completed. The last tie was made of laurel wood and the four last spikes were, the Golden spike, which was a solid gold spike, then there was the Nevada spike which was likewise solid silver. Next was the Arizona spike, an iron spike with silver bottom and gold top then was the second golden spike which is now lost. This was a great feat and has a great part in American history.
While at the site, we completed the Junior Ranger Program and watched them fire up the steam engine and take it for a ride.