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Golden Spike Monument’s western-state tour kickoff event

The Golden Spike Monument on display at the Utah State Capitol.

The 43-foot-tall Golden Spike Monument, a golden public art piece, will be on display on April 24, in Presidents Circle from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. The event kicks off its western tour, called the Driving of the Spike: Jupiter Tour.

A formal program will begin at 11:30 a.m. with remarks by University President Taylor Randall, a descendant of a Chinese railroad worker, Utah State Senator Karen Kwan, University Board of Trustee and Golden Spike Foundation Vice-Chair Steve Price, and Utah’s State Historic Preservation Officer Chris Merritt, followed by a festive confetti send-off.

Some 155 years ago, leaders and visionaries were inspired to unite our country’s east and west coasts by rail, opening the door to new possibilities for businesses and individuals. The completion of the transcontinental railroad is considered one of the greatest civil engineering projects of the 19th century. Railroad workers laid nearly 2,000 miles of track through some of the most forbidding landscapes in the United States.

The monument’s design was inspired by the golden spike that was ceremoniously driven into a laurelwood railroad tie on May 10, 1869, in Promontory, Utah, to signal the completion of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad.

The Driving of the Spike: Jupiter Tour, brings attention to the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad’s portion of the transcontinental railroad, from Sacramento to Utah. Unable to find enough workers in California, the Central Pacific Railroad recruited thousands of Chinese laborers from the Chinese province of Guangdong.

The monument at a “whistle stop” event in Cheyenne, WY.

Utilizing mostly hand tools and a dangerous mix of nitroglycerin and black powder, these workers chiseled and blasted through the granite fortress of the Sierra Nevada mountains to build 15 tunnels. They endured frostbite and avalanches that came with the harsh winters. More than one thousand Chinese workers are estimated to have lost their lives while building the railroad.

“This historic event helped transform our country and was made possible by a diverse group of brave and determined workers,” said Doug Foxley, chair of the Golden Spike Foundation, who commissioned the piece. “The purpose of the Golden Spike Monument is to educate and inspire people to learn from the past and honor the memory of thousands of workers who built the transcontinental railroad. We’d encourage members of the U of U community to consider the monument from an array of lenses, including visual arts, engineering, history, and culture and society.”

Rendering of the installed monument at Golden Spike State Monument in Brigham City, Box Elder County

The kickoff event is the opportunity to view the Golden Spike Monument up close on a flatbed trailer, providing a unique visual vantage point for experiencing the monument before installation at Golden Spike State Monument in Brigham City, Box Elder County.

You can find more information on the Driving of the Spike: Jupiter Tour, at Follow the tour on Instagram @spike150utah.

Driving of the Spike: Jupiter Tour schedule:

  • April 24, 4-6:00 p.m. | Whistle Stop – Wells City Park, Wells, NV
  • April 27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. | Whistle Stop – California State Railroad Museum, Sacramento, CA
  • April 30, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. | Whistle Stop – Utah State University, Logan, UT
  • April 30, 6-6:30 p.m. | Honk & Wave – Tremonton, UT
  • May 3, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. | Whistle Stop – Ogden Union Station, Ogden City, UT
  • May 2, 6 and 7 | School Assemblies – Every elementary school in Box Elder School District
  • May 10, 12:30-9:00 p.m. | Whistle Stop – Millcreek Common, Millcreek, UT
  • May 11, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. | Whistle Stop – Golden Spike National Historical Park, Promontory, UT