Under blue skies, thousands gathered Friday at Promontory Summit nearly 100 miles north of Salt Lake City to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad.
On a high plateau surrounded by rolling green hills, people from around the world assembled to watch re-enactments of the driving of the final spike and of the telegram message sent across the country when the railroad was completed on May 10, 1869: D-O-N-E. Done.
The celebration included speeches and musical performances set against the backdrop of the two replica steam engines — the Jupiter and No. 119 — facing each other on the site where the rails from the eastern and western United States originally met.
This year, speakers paid special tribute to voices not heard in previous celebrations: a diverse pool of railroad laborers. In particular, were the Chinese workers without whom the railroad could not have been completed, and Native American tribes who saw their way of life brutalized as a result of the railroad’s construction.
Events will continue at Promontory through the weekend. As of publication (5/10/19, 7 p.m. MT), tickets are still available for Sunday at Spike150.org.