By Wendy Simmons-Johnson, Regional Director at Commonwealth Heritage Group, Inc.
The 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike (joining of east-meets-west railroads) is on May 10, 2019! In the early 2000s, Commonwealth Heritage Group, Inc. conducted a park-wide, multi-year inventory project at Golden Spike National Historic Site (NHS). Although the NHS had been under National Park Service management since 1967, there had been no systematic, thorough, and intensive inventory of its many archeological resources until this project. The project also addressed the resources on two parcels of land along the railroad at either end of the NHS, which are managed by the Bureau of Land Management and are considered Areas of Critical Environmental Concern.
Sixty-nine sites were recorded within the park, including 20 railroad maintenance camps or stations. The remaining historic sites were trash scatters or sites unrelated to the railroad, and four prehistoric sites were identified. Reports were completed for each year’s survey, as well as a final synthesis report, From Lampo Junction to Rozel: The Archaeological History of the Transcontinental Railroad across the Promontory Mountains, Utah. The final report includes a history of the railroad, railroad operations across the Promontories, and those who built the railroad.
In celebration of the 150th anniversary, the Spike 150 initiative aims to inspire, educate, and reflect on the Transcontinental Railroad legacy through a series of celebratory activities and events. Find out more about Spike 150 and upcoming events at visit https://spike150.org/#.