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1869 Display Advertising for the CPRR, UPRR, and Connecting Passenger, Express, Freight, and Pacific Steamer Services.
Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser
Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser, 1869.

September 7, 1869

With the driving of the "Last Spike" at Promontory Summit, U.T., on May 10, 1869, the Central Pacific and Union Pacific were finally joined after almost six years of construction to complete the first link between the Atlantic and the Pacific to be made entirely by rail.  One week later on May 17th, full scheduled transcontinental rail passenger, freight, and express service officially opened to the public for the first time with the commencement of daily east and westbound Express train service by the CPRR over its entire 690 miles of track between Sacramento and Promontory to meet the UPRR's 1,086 mile line to Omaha.  (A short time later the official interchange between the lines was moved 61 miles further East to Ogden.)

Exhibited below are ten examples of early newspaper display advertising from 1869 for the CPRR, UPRR, and a number of the passenger, freight, express, and steamer services which connected to the newly opened transcontinental railroad.  Such commercial notices appeared daily in many newspapers around the nation including the Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser in which these were published on September 7, 1869.  The companies represented in these advertisements include the Central Pacific Railroad, Union Pacific Railroad, California Pacific Railroad, Napa Valley Railroad, Chicago & North-Western Railway, Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, Michigan Central Railroad, Wells, Fargo & Company, Merchants Despatch Fast Freight Line, Peoples Despatch Fast Freight Line, and Pacific Mail Steamship Company.

Also appearing here is an advertisement for the Bank of California in San Francisco which was founded in 1864 by the colorful but ill-fated William C. Ralston, who, in 1875, also built the original Palace Hotel.  Ralston lost it all in August, 1875, when his bank collapsed as the result of a mining stock fraud involving largely worthless mines along and near the grades of the CPRR, UPRR, and Virginia & Truckee Railroads.  (Just hours after the Bank's directors forced him to relinquish his control of the institution on August 27, 1875, the 49-year old Ralston died in a suspected suicide while swimming in San Francisco Bay.  A reported 50,000 San Franciscans lined the streets of the city for miles to watch the passage of his funeral cortege from Union Square.)

Among the brief TELEGRAPHIC reports from San Francisco included in the Spetember 7 issue was news that the construction of already CPRR owned Western Pacific Railroad from Sacramento to Oakland (via Stockton - Lathrop - Niles - Alameda) had been completed, the first through train with passengers from New York had arrived in San Francisco via Alameda, recently defeated SF Mayor Frank McCoppin suspected fraud in the recent elections in the city, and that the press was denouncing dime novelist Ned Buntline for his slanderous assertion that "seven-tenths of the adult population of California, male and female, die of drunkenness." —BCC

Note: Included at the end of this page is a verbatim transcript of the account of the driving of the "Last Spike" at Promontory Summit on May 10, 1869, as it appeared in the May 11, 1869, issue of the Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser.

Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser, 1869.
Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser, 1869.

Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser, 1869.

Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser, 1869.

Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser, 1869.

Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser, 1869.

Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser, 1869.

Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser, 1869.

Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser, 1869.

Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser, 1869.

Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser, 1869.


Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser, 1869.

Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser, 1869.

Courtesy of the Bruce C. Cooper Collection.

Images courtesy of:

Four months earlier the following account of the "Last Spike" ceremony held at Promontory Summit on May 10, 1869, appeared in the

Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser, 1869.
Salt Lake Daily Telegraph and Commercial Advertiser

May 11th, 1869

The Pacific R.R. Finished

The long looked-for day has arrived. The inhabitants of the Atlantic seaboard and the dwellers on the Pacific slopes are no longer separated as distinct peoples–they are henceforth members of the same great family–united by great principles and general interests.

At noon yesterday the great event was achieved, and the celebration of the occasion was unmarred by the slightest accident or circumstance to cause it to be remembered by any with either sorrow or pain. The weather was propitious and the best of order prevailed.

Promontory Summit

There was nothing in the design of either the Union or the Central company to give to Promontory Summit the world-wide notoriety that it has to-day, but accident or providence, is mattereth little for our purpose now. Looking at it with certain predilections and with the unchanging confidence that everything is "all for the best," we are satisfied that the great struggle had a fitting termination and a fitting place.

The spot hereafter to live in the local history of the Pacific Railroad is probably without a similitude between the turbid Missouri and the placid waters of the Pacific. The meeting occurred in the center of a small narrow valley, probably not over a mile wide, bounded north and south by low rounding mountains. There was an air of calm about the country that seemed to whisper, "Peace, be still," to the rivals who had resolutely and manfully struggled for greater possessions.

Early in the morning, the engines and trains of each company faced each other in silence, like rival armies on the morrow of a battle, each hoisting the flag of truce and prepared to smoke the pipe of peace. Those who had expected trouble were woefully disappointed. We heard not an angry word nor saw an eye betokened displeasure. From the least to the greatest the air of each was, the contest is over.

The Meeting

In situation, the last rail was laid 1,085 4/5 miles west of Omaha and 690 miles east of Sacramento. When all was ready the multitude was called to order by General J.S. Casement, and the program of the ceremonies was read by Edgar Mills, Esq., banker, of Sacramento.

The Rev. Dr. Todd, of Pittsfield, Mass., offered an appropriate prayer.

Dr. Harkness, of Sacramento, on presenting to Governor Stanford a spike of pure gold, delivered the following speech: "Gentlemen of the Pacific Railroad: The last rail needed to complete the greatest railroad enterprise of the world is about to be laid- the last spike needed to unite the Atlantic and Pacific by new line of travel and commerce is about to be driven to its place. To perform these acts, the east and west have come together. Never, since history commenced her record of human events, has she been called upon to note the completion of a work so magnificent in completion–so marvelous in execution. California, within whose borders and by whose citizens the Pacific Railroad was inaugurated, desires to express her appreciation of the vast importance, to her and her sister states, of the great enterprise which, by your joint action, is about to be consummated. From her mines of gold she has formed a spike–from her laurel woods she has hewn a tie, and by the hands of her citizens she offers them to become a part of the great highway which is about to unite her in closer fellowship with her sisters of the Atlantic. From her bosom was taken the first soil- let hers be the last tie and last spike. With them accept the hopes and wishes of her people that the success of your enterprise may not stop short of its brightest promise."

The Hon. F.A. Trittle, of Nevada, in presenting Dr. Durant with a spike of silver said: "To the iron of the East and the gold of the West, Nevada adds her link of silver to span the continent and wed the ocean."

Governor Safford, of Arizona, in presenting another spike said: "Ribbed with iron, clad in silver, and crowned with gold, Arizona presents her offering to the enterprise that has banded the continent and dictated the pathway to commerce."

Gov. Stanford's Speech

"Gentlemen– The Pacific Railroad Companies accept, with pride and satisfaction, these golden and silver tokens of your appreciation of the importance of our enterprise to the material interests of the sections which you represent on this occasion, and the material interests of our whole country, east and west, north and south. These gifts shall receive a fitting place in the superstructure of our road, and before laying the tie and driving the spikes, in completion of the Pacific Railway, allow me to express the hope that the great importance which you are pleased to attach to our undertaking, may be, in all respects, fully realized.

"This line of rails connecting the Atlantic and Pacific, and affording to commerce a new transit, will prove, we trust, the speedy forerunner of increased facilities.

"The Pacific Railroad will, as soon as commerce shall begin fully to realize its advantages, demonstrate the necessity of rich improvements in railroading as to render practicable the transportation of freight at much less rates that are possible under any system which has been thus far anywhere adopted.
The day is not far distant when three tracks will be found necessary to accommodate the commerce and travel which will seek transit across this continent. Freight will then move only one way on each track, and at rates of speed that will answer the demands of cheapness and time. Cars and engines will be light or heavy, according to the speed required and the weight to be transported.

"In conclusion, I will add that we hope to do ultimately what is now impossible on long lines, transport coarse, heavy and cheap products, for all distances, at living rates to the trade.

"Now, gentlemen, with your assistance we will proceed to lay the last tie and drive the last spike."

Gen. G.W. Dodge, Chief Engineer of the U.P.R.R., then spoke: "Gentlemen- The great Benton proposed that some day a granite statue of Columbus would be erected on the highest peak of the Rocky Mountains pointing westward, denoting this as the great route across the continent. You have made that prophecy to-day a fact. This is the way to India."

Mr. Coe, of the Pacific Union Express Company, made a facetious speech in presenting Gov. Stanford with a silver hammer, with which to drive the spikes.
S.B. Reed, Esq., superintendent of construction for the U.P., and J.H. Strowbridge, Esq., superintendent for the C.P., placed the last tie in position on which the rails from east and west met. This tie was eight feet long, eight inches in face and six inches thick, of California laurel, finely French polished, bearing a silver escutcheon with the inscription– "The last tie laid on the completion of the Pacific Railroad, May 10th, 1869."

The names of the directors and officers of the C.P. Company and the presenter of the tie, were also engraved on the same plate.

Dr. Durant took his position by the north rail and Gov. Stanford stood by the south, and when the signal was given both gentlemen struck the spikes. By arrangement with W.B. Hibbard, Esq., superintendent of the Western Union Telegraph Company, a wire was attached to the gold spike, so that when it was struck by Gov. Stanford, that instant the electric spark communicated with the cities east and west, and announced that the work was done.

The cheering throughout the ceremonies showed the interest experienced by the spectators; but on the completion of the work there was the wildest enthusiasm and cheering. Cheers were proposed by the Union representatives for the Central Pacific Company, the Central Pacific representatives proposed the same for the Union, Dr. Durant and Gov. Stanford struck hands and greeted each other with the warmest cordiality. The Doctor, in the warmth of his soul in greeting the Governor, shouted, "There is henceforth but one Pacific Railroad." Gov. Stanford was equally enthusiastic.

Cheers were shouted for the President of the United States, the Engineers and Contractors, and Mr. Dillon made a happy hit in proposing cheers for the laborers who did the work. The excitement was intense. Mr. Mills read the following dispatched:

Promontory Summit, May 10th, 1869 12 p.m.

To His Excellency, Gen. U.S. Grant
President of the United States
Washington D.C.

Sir–We have the honor to report the last rail is laid the last spike is driven–the Pacific Railroad is finished.

Leland Stanford, President C.P.R.R. Co. of Cal.
T.C. Duant, Vice-President U.P.R.R.

Promontory Summit, May 10th, 1869, 12 p.m.

To the Associated Press:

The last rail is laid, the last spike driven, the Pacific Railroad is completed. Point of junction, 1,086 miles west of the Missouri River, and 690 miles east of Sacramento.

Leland Stanford, Pres. C.P.R.R.
T.C. Durant, Vice-Pres. U.P.R.R.

During the ceremony, the news had traveled to New York and before the audience was dispersed the following dispatch from leading Californians in the east was received:

New York, May 10th, 1869.

The Presidents of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads, at the junction.

To you and your associates we send our hearty greetings upon the great feat this day achieved in the junction of your two roads and we bid you God speed in your best endeavors for the entire success of the transatlantic highway between the Atlantic and the Pacific for the new world and the old.

S. Stephen, J. Field, Eugene Casserly, James W. Nye, William Stewart, D.O. Kills, Eugene Kelly & Co., Lees & Walker, J.W. Seligman & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Louis McLane, Chas. McLane, Wm. F. Coleman, Jno. Rensley.

In addition to the names of the gentlemen mentioned, there were present a large number of influential citizens of both the eastern and western states- Judge Sanderson, of the Supreme Court of California, Dr. Stillman, San Francisco, Dr. Harkness, Sacramento, J.W. Haynes and Wm. Shermon, Esq., of Nevada, and F.A. Tritle, Esq., Nevada, Government Commissioners: Chas. Marsh, Esq., Director of the C.P.R.R.; General Houghton, of Sacramento, and Gov. Safford, of Arizona; E. Blackburn Ryan, Esq.

Among the other gentlemen connected with the U.P. were Hon. John Duff, director, Silas Seymour, consulting engineer; H.M. Hoxis, assistant general superintendent; T.E. Sickles, engineer; contractors- Major General J.S. Casement, Dan Casement, Colonel Hopper, Major L.S. Best, Captain J.W. Davis. Deputation from Salt Lake- Hon. William Jennings, vice president Utah Central Railroad; Bishop Sharp, Colonel F.H. Head, superintendent of Indian affairs, Col. Feramorz Little. From Cache Valley, Prest. E.T. Benson. From Ogden President F.D. Richards, Bishop West, Major Farr and T.B.H. Stenhouse.

There was a large number of persons from various parts of the country; D.K. Allen, Esq., of Corinne; W.W. Foote, Esq., of Mississippi; George C. Yates, Esq., of Tennessee; Clinton Butterfield, Esq., of Chicago; Joseph Harrison, Esq., of Burton-on Trent, England; Hon. Edw. Creighton, of Omaha, Mr. J.S. Megeath, Mr. Alexander Majors, numbers of Gentlemen from Ohio, and a fine sprinkling of ladies. The press of San Francisco was represented by Fred Macrellish of the Alta; Mr. Bell of the Bulletin; Mr. Parsons of the Times; Dr. Adonid of the Herald; and other gentlemen whose names escape us. The eastern press was cared for by some gentlemen present.

The day throughout was pleasant and agreeable and the whole proceeding, much enlivened by the presence of several hundred of the 21st U.S. Infantry under Col. Cogswell. The Band played several enlivening airs.

Mssrs. Hibbard, Fredricks and Kearney of the telegraph force are deserving of the best thanks of the press throughout the Union for their indefatigable labors and many courtesies.

The Celebration In This City

At an early hour this morning, the city was all alive with people from the town and country, to participate in the celebration upon the completion of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads which now spans the Continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific; the last piece laid being a silver mounted tie, secured by a gold spike. Here and there, during the forenoon, happy groups of friends meeting friends, were assembled together, to exchange congratulations, and to discuss the great benefits that will accrue to the nation, and to the world, from the completion of this, the mightiest achievement of the age.

At noon yesterday, the signal was given by Mr. Myers, Telegraph Operator, that the last spike was driven. At the same instant, the stars and stripes were run up on the numerous flag staffs, and a salute was fired by Wadsworth's artillery, commanded by Col. Gamble, in honor of the two Railroads; and one each for the U.P.R.R., the C.P.R.R and the Utah Central R.R. Nine were also fired for the present Administration, in Washington, D.C.

During the time the Ogden brass band, under the direction of Capt. Pugh, discoursed some of their sweetest strains, and the citizens generally testified their joy by various demonstrations.

At 2 o'clock p.m. under the direction of Col. Fife, marshal of the day, a large congregation assembled in the Tabernacle.

On the stand were; Jas. McGaw, F.A. Brown and Joseph Parry, Esqrs., committee of arrangements. We also noticed Elder John Baker, chaplain, Col. Fife, W.W. Burton, Fitzgerald Noble, K.A. Darling and E.W. Thomas, Esqrs.
After music by the band and prayer by the chaplain, Professor W. Burton delivered the following address: "The greatest railroad that the world has ever known is this day completed. The Union and the Central Pacific roads have met. The last rail is laid and the last spike driven. The consummation of this great achievement has not only absorbed the best energies of a great nation, but the attention of the world.

"When the project was first spoken of, as a possibility, a few great minds nourished the young idea and gave it their support, and it finally resulted in an organization, embracing the talent and energy sufficient for the accomplishment of one of the greatest tasks ever undertaken by man.

"This organization of the master spirits of the age has won and is receiving the admiration and applause of an astonished world. The track has been laid over the great deserts of our continent, and portions of the Rocky Mountains, nature's greatest barriers, have been torn asunder, broken in pieces and trampled under foot by the 'Iron Horse.'

"This track spans the continent, opens communication for the commerce of earth's two greatest oceans, and associates us socially and commercially with every grand division of the earth, thereby tendering to the world an opportunity of a better acquaintance with the people of Utah and their peculiar institutions, which will undoubtedly measurably correct the base calumnies that have been circulated from the pulpit and the press.

"This land, but a few years ago, was covered with sagebrush, half devoured by the crickets and the grasshoppers. Then nothing could be heard but the yell of the rude Indian and the howl of the wolf. Now behold our fields of smiling corn, and our trees for fruit and shade, and listen to the sweet strains of music discoursed by our brass band. Who is it that produced this mighty change? The misrepresented citizens of Utah, through the blessings of God. Jesus said that a corrupt tree could not bring forth good fruit.

"Then come, ye Christians of every land, and come and see and taste the fruit that the Mormon tree has borne. Our general surroundings, the peaceable inclination and sterling industry of our citizens cannot fail to make a favorable impression upon the mind of every intelligent visitor from every clime. We hail this with unspeakable joy the dawning of this most glorious day, which shall shed the light of truth upon mankind, and burst asunder the shackles that have bound a world in ignorance."

Music by the Band

James Taylor, Esq., the orator of the day, delivered his oration, of which the following is a brief synopsis: "Fellow-Citizens: We have met together to-day to celebrate an important event. Nations meet to celebrate their achievements in science, art, literature, their improvements in implements of warfare. But we meet to celebrate the connection of the two lines which span the continent and unite the Atlantic and Pacific States. No wonder that we meet together to celebrate such an important event, when it places us in communication with all nations and extends our commerce to all the world. But a few years since but forty miles of the track was laid, and now we witness and hail with joy and gratitude its completion, which will furnish facilities for quick and easy transit across the continent, and the world an opportunity to visit our peaceful vales and become better acquainted with us and the working of our institutions."

The speaker referred to the views formerly entertained by capitalist in Britain and America that it was almost impossible to construct a work of such magnitude throughout this country. But after the settlement of the valleys by the Mormons, their views were dissipated, and the work is now accomplished.

The speaker referred to the ancient inspired writers and showed that it was necessary that a work of such magnitude be achieved in order to fulfill these predictions.

The speaker read the following computation: Length of line constructed, 1,900 miles; number of ties, four and a half million, making about 176,000 cords of wood; number of rails used in the construction, 741,000, which, if laid in a straight line, would reach almost half way through the globe; weight of iron used in the construction of the line, exclusive of nails, spikes, nuts, etc. 272,857 tons; probably cost, upward of one million dollars; expended for powder and glycerin alone, about half a million dollars. The completion of the road unites the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans, and gives the country a railroad 3,420 miles in length.

The speaker paid a high compliment to President Brigham Young, and to the energy and enterprise of those who had taken part in building the great highway of the nations.

The assembly were then entertained with instrumental music.

Fitzgerald Noble, Esq., of the U.P.R.R. delivered a brief but interesting address, in which he congratulated the citizens of the territory on the completion and uniting of the two railroad lines. He firmly believed that, had not the Mormons come to this country, built settlements, raised the staff of life, and fed the neighboring Territories, the great highway would not have been built for years to come. He hoped the uniting of the U.P. and the C.P. Railroads would be the means of uniting this the C.P. Railroads would be the means of uniting this nation in the bonds of charity, love and friendship.

The various speakers were frequently and heartily applauded.

Three cheers were given for the Presidents, Directors and officials generally of both lines, followed be music, toasts, and sentiments.

Among the toasts given we noticed the following:-"May the citizens of the United States be united by the bonds of fraternal love as the two oceans are by Atlantic and Pacific Railroads.

President Grant–the General of the age, the choice of the people. May he answer their best expectations.

President B. Young–a great man in a great nation, the leader of a great people, the pioneer of the great west. The better he is known the more he is esteemed.
The two greatest events of the day- the uniting of the U.P. and C.P. railroads at the Promontory, and the issuing of the Salt Lake Telegraph at Ogden."

The assembly was dismissed with prayer by the chaplain.

In the evening public buildings are many private residences were brilliantly illuminated.

The Celebration in Salt Lake City

At a late meeting of the municipal council of Salt Lake City, it was determined that on the day on which the last rail on the great highway across the continent should be laid, the event should be celebrated in a manner becoming the accomplishment of so stupendous a work of American enterprise, genius and energy. Accordingly the following resolutions, presented by Alderman S.W. Richards, were unanimously adopted;–Be it resolved by the City Council of Salt Lake City, that a committee be appointed to make suitable arrangements for celebrating, in this city, the approaching event of laying the last rail of the Great Pacific Railroad, thereby connecting the eastern and western portions of the continent, and constituting one of the most remarkable epochs of the age- one of unparalleled interest in the universal development of our Territorial, State and National greatness.

Resolved-That a committee be appointed to be present at Promontory Summit to witness the occasion as representatives of this city, expressive of our earnest and joyful appreciation of the accomplishment of this great national enterprise to world wide in its influence.

Resolved-That telegraphic communication be made to all the principal cities of this Territory announcing the completion of the road immediately upon receipt of such inelegance in this city.

Alderman S. W. Richards, Alderman A. H. Raleigh and General R. T. Burton, were appointed said committee of arrangements.

The following named gentlemen were appointed a committee to represent Salt Lake City at Promontory Summit: Hon William Jenings, Vice President of Utah Central R. R., Col F. H. Head, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Feramore Little, Esq., Director of the Utah Central R.R., Col. John Sharp, Assistant Superintendent of the Utah Central R.R., and C. R. Savage, Esq.

On the 7th inst. the following message was dispatched to both T.C. Durant, Esq. Vice President U.P.R.R. and Gov. L. Stanford, President C.P.R.R.

"Salt Lake City joins in celebrating the completion of the Great Pacific Railway. Please inform as the precise time."

S.W. Richards; A.H. Raleigh; R.T. Burton, Committee of Arrangements

The last spike connecting rail of the Pacific Railroad will be laid on Monday next noon.

Leland Stanford.

Agreeable to the program laid down by the committee, the deputation from the city at Promontory Summit telegraphed yesterday the time of the laying the last rail, when Major Ladd's artillery, previously stationed for the purpose on the Arsenal Hill, at the Court House and City Hall, belched forth from their iron mouths a grand salute. Flags were unfurled to the breeze from the public buildings, principal offices, banks, stores and private residences. Capt. Croxall's brass band, from the top of the new Tabernacle, and other bands stationed in prominent localities in the city, discoursed soul-stirring strains of music.
At half-past one p.m., yesterday, the citizens assembled in the new Tabernacle by thousands, and resolutions, speeches and appropriate sentiments, interspersed with delicious music from the bands present, were the order of the day.

His Excellency, Gov. C. Durke, Hon. Geo. A. Smith, Judge C. Wilson, Hon. John Taylor and other prominent citizens delivered eloquent addresses, after which the memorial of the Utah Legislature of 1851-2, calling upon Congress to build the "Great Highway" and urging its earliest practicable construction, was read.

The utmost enthusiasm was manifested by the vast assembly, and the gentlemen who spoke were loudly cheered; but upon the reading of the memorial of the Utah Legislature of 1851-2, calling upon Congress to build a railroad across the continent, the cheering was perfectly deafening, and the immense vaulted roof of the new Tabernacle rang with round after round of applause.

Last evening the city was brilliantly illuminated by calcium and other lights, of varied colors. The City Hall, Court House, Theatre, Eagle Emporium, Exchange Buildings and nearly all the principal buildings and residences, were in a perfect blaze of light. East Temple Street was decorated with illuminated mottoes, and thousands of citizens were in the streets, going from point to point, to witness the gorgeous display.

A more brilliant, enthusiastic affair, than the celebration held in honor of the completion of the great railroad across the continent, at Salt Lake City yesterday, can scarcely be imagined. Great credit is due to the Committee and to the Marshal of the Day for their able management of the entire proceedings. Order and harmony were noticeable features throughout. The inhabitants of Salt Lake City and vicinity may justly feel proud of their celebration–it was one of the most brilliant, patriotic, enthusiastic and successful affairs ever witnessed in the Capital of Utah.


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