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Topics in Chronicling America - Golden Spike, 1869

The crowd cheers as Governor Leland Stanford drives the Golden Spike at Promontory Summit, Utah to complete the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. More than one thousand people, including immigrant laborers, gathered to witness the joining of the Pacific and Union tracks, which provided the United States with coast-to-coast transportation and communication. Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection ( Use the suggested "search strategies" and "important dates" to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.
Picture of a steam engine

Jump to: Sample Articles

Important Dates:

  • July 1, 1862. Congress passes Pacific Railroad Bill, authorizing construction of a continuous cross-country railroad and telegraph line.
  • May 8, 1869. Hammering of last spike delayed due to weather.
  • May 10, 1869. Governor Leland Stanford drives in golden spike to unite Central and Union Pacific tracks in Promontory Summit, Utah. More than 1,000 people attend ceremony.
  • May 1869. Cities across the country commemorate completion of transcontinental railroad project with parades, galas, and fireworks.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] spike, railroad, Iron Road, Pacific Railroad, Overland Road.
  • Search phrases such as Union Pacific Railroad with the proximity search to find the words Union, Pacific and Railroad all within 5 words of each other.
  • It is important to use a specific date range if looking for articles for a particular event in order to narrow your results. For best results, limit your search to articles published between the years 1862 to 1869.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  July 13, 2016
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