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Reports of May 11, 1869, published
in the May 12, 1869 Newspaper
THE PACIFIC RAILROAD
Further Particulars of the Ceremonies at Promontory, Utah — Sentiments and Speeches — The Future Policy of the Road — Enthusiasm at the Conclusion of the Work.
Special Dispatch to the New York Times.
Promontory, Utah, Tuesday, May 11.
In presenting the silver spike to Dr. Durant yesterday, in performance of his part in the exercises attending the laying of the last rail of the great Pacific Road, Hon. T.A. Tuttle, of Nevada, offered the following sentiment:
"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 oceans."
Hon. A.K. Safford, Governor of Arizona, offered a spike of iron, silver and gold, as an offering from Arizona, with the following sentiment:
"Ribbed with iron, clad with silver and crowned with gold, Arizona presents her offering to the enterprise that has banded the Continent and dictated the pathway to commerce."
"Officers of the U.P.R.R. at laying of Last Rail." Promontory Summit, Utah, May 10, 1869.
A.J. Russell Imperial View #226, detail. Courtesy National Park Service. [Next Picture] — [Top]
SPEECH OF GOVERNOR STANFORD.
Governor Stanford then responded as follows in behalf of the Union Pacific Road:
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 to 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 ties 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 out 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 such improvements in railroading as to render practicable the transportation of freights at much less rates than are possible under [any system] which has been thus far [anywhere been adopted. ... ] 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 distance, at living rates to trade. Now, gentlemen, with your assistance, we will proceed to lay the last tie and rail, and drive the last spike.
SPEECH OF GENERAL DOGDE.
General G.M. Dodge. Chief Engineer of the Union Pacific Railroad, in responding for California, Nevada and Arizona, said:
"The great Benton prophecied that some day a granite statue would be erected on the highest peak of the Rocky Mountains pointing westward, denoting the great route across the Continent. You have made the prophecy today a fact."
THE LAST TIE.
The Superintendents of Construction, S.B. Reed, of the Union Pacific Railroad, and S.W. Strawbridge [Strobridge], of the Central Pacific, placed the last tie beneath the rails. This tie was of California laurel, French polished, and on the centre a silver plate bearing the following inscription: "The last tie laid on the completion of the Pacific Railroad, May 10, 1869," with the names of the directors and officers of the Central Pacific Company. The Union Pacific Company presented a silver hammer for the purpose of driving the spikes.
THE LAST WORK.
All being prepared, Governor Stanford stood on the
south rail, Dr. Durant on the north rail, and, on the signal of "OK" from
the telegraph offices, both gentlemen struck the spikes, and the work was
done. The vast multitude cheered lustily, and Dr. Durant and Governor Stanford
cordially greeted each other and shook hands. The Doctor proposed three
cheers for the Central Pacific Company, which was followed by the Governor’s
proposing three cheers for the Union Pacific Company. The utmost cordiality
reigned, Durant exclaiming, "There is henceforth but one Pacific Railroad
(cheers) of the United States." Cheers followed for the engineers, contractors
and the laborers who have done the work.
DISPATCH TO PRESIDENT GRANT.
The order of exercises was read by Edgar Mills, banker, of Sacramento; also the following message:
Promontory Summit, May 10, 1869 — 12 noon. To his Excellency General U.S. Grant President of the United States, Washington, D.C.:
Sir: We have the honor to report tat the last rail is laid, the last spike is driven, the Pacific Railroad is finished.
President Central Pacific Railroad Co.
Vice-President Union Pacific Railroad Co.
There is a large concourse of distinguished gentlemen from the Pacific and Atlantic States. From the East: Rev. Dr Todd and Thaddeus Clapp, Pittsfield Mass.; Dr. Durant, Vice-President, Sidney Dillon, Jno. Duff, Directors; General G.M. Dodge, Chief Engineer; S. B. Reed, Superintendent of Construction; Colonel Silas Seymour, Consulting Engineer; T.D. Sickles, Engineer; H.M. Hoxie, Assistant General Superintendent; Chief Contractors General J.S. Casement, Colonel Dan Casement, Colonel Hopper, Major Luther, S. Bent, General J.H. Ledlie, of the Union Pacific Railroad; from the Pacific, Ex-Governor Stanford, Chas. Marsh, Director; Judge Sanderson, Supreme Court, California; J.W. Haynes, J.A. Tuttle, Wm. Sherman Grant, Commissioner; Dr. Stillman, Dr. Harkness, General Houghton, Edgar Mills, Governor Safford, of Arizona; [Starwbridge, Stevenson, Ives and Corning, of Central Pacific Railroad. Ogden and Salt Lake sent delegations; from the former, President F.D. Richards, on of the Apostles; Bishop West, Mayor Farr, T.B.H. Stenhouse; Salt Lake City, Colonel Jennings, Vice-President Utah Central Railroad; Bishop Sharp, Colonel Head, Superintendent Indian Affairs, and Colonel Feramose Little.
RECEPTION OF THE NEWS IN SAN FRANCISCO — INNAUGURATION OF THE OVERLAND TRADE WITH CHINA AND JAPAN.
San Francisco, Monday, May 10.
At 11:45 o’clock (San Francisco time) the last tie and last rail were laid, and the last spike driven on the Pacific Railroad. A telegraph wire, running from the City Hall under the streets of the city and out to Fort Point, was attached to a fifteen-inch gun and at the first stroke on the last spike (telegraphed from Promontory Point) the gun was fired by electricity, and by the same agent all the fire-bells in the city were rung. The news of the completion of the road created great enthusiasm in all the cities of this State. The first invoice of tea from Japan for St. Louis, over the Pacific Railroad, was shipped today — thus inaugurating the overland trade with China and Japan.
THE CONGRATULATORY DISPATCH TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR.
Special Dispatch to the New York Times.
Washington, Tuesday, May 11.
The following dispatch, received yesterday by the Secretary of War from C.M. Dodge, Chief Engineer of the Pacific Railroad, was accidentally omitted from our dispatch yesterday:
TELEGRAPH OFFICE WAR DEPARTMENT,
WASHINGTON, MONDAY, MAY 10, 1869.
By telegraph from
PROMNTORY SUMMIT, Utah, May 10.
To General John A. Rawlins, Secretary of War:
At 12 o’clock M. today the last rail was laid at this point, 1,086 miles from Missouri River and 690 miles from Sacramento. The great work, commenced during the Administration of Lincoln, in the middle of a great rebellion, is completed under that of Grant, who conquered the peace. — C.M. DODGE, Chief Engineer.
THE UNITED STATES MAILS — FINAL ARRANGEMENT.
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, May 11.
The Post Office Department has received a telegraph from Promontory Point, stating that the mails have been delivered at that place to the Central Pacific Road, and that the through line has been regularly established. The Butterfield Company were last week informed that their contract would cease on the junction of the roads. The cost by the Butterfield route for transporting the mails was $1,100 a mile, and by the railroad $200 a mile per annum.
Courtesy Bruce C. Cooper.
Transcription courtesy Mara Levy.