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Golden Spike commemoration

The U’s Marriott Library celebrates Spike 150 with free exhibition.


“Path to the Pacific: Building the Transcontinental Railroad”
On display through Aug. 15
Level 3, Marriott Library

“Following in the Footprints of Chinese Railroad Workers”
On display through Sept. 27
Level 5, Marriott Library

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The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library is presenting a special exhibition “Path to the Pacific: Building the Transcontinental Railroad” through Aug. 15, 2019.

The public is welcome to enjoy a display of rare books, archival materials and two gallery walls showcasing photographs and artistic works depicting key locations and events in the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.

PHOTO CREDIT: Marriott Library

“Path to the Pacific: Building the Transcontinental Railroad.”

The Transcontinental Railroad, also known as the Pacific Railroad, was completed on May 10, 1869, with the driving of the Golden Spike at Promontory, Utah. This milestone event was captured in A.J. Russell’s iconic photograph “East and West Shaking Hands.” Joining the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, the railroad improved trade, travel and communication across the continent and allowed travelers to make what was previously a six-month journey in just six days.

“The materials held in Special Collections speak to the history, culture and people of the west,” said Alison Elbrader, reference librarian for Special Collections and exhibition curator. “This exhibition from Special Collections touches on aspects of the completion of the railroad—one of our nation’s greatest accomplishments and also one of our most remarkable stories.”

A related exhibition, “Following in the Footprints of Chinese Railroad Workers,” documents the contributions of Chinese workers. This exhibition is sponsored by the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association and will be on display through Sept. 27, 2019.

The Marriott Library is delighted to join the celebrations across the state to mark the 150th anniversary of this monumental achievement of engineering and human effort and invites the public to enjoy the free exhibitions.