PROMONTORY SUMMIT -- Moments ranging from the celebratory to the somber will mark the annual anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on Thursday, May 10.
Visitors will re-create the joyful "Champagne Photo" taken when the railroads met head to head on May 10, 1869; they will also observe a moment of silence, followed by "Taps," in memory of the hundreds of workers who lost their lives building the railroad.
The anniversary celebration runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Golden Spike National Historic Site, 32 miles west of Brigham City.
The day begins with the arrival of replica locomotives Jupiter and No. 119 at the Last Spike Site. The engines will conduct steam demonstrations throughout the day.
The famous 1869 photograph will be re-created on the tracks at 10 a.m. Everyone wearing period clothing may participate in one shot, then all of those present may take part in the second shot.
The anniversary program begins at 11:30 a.m. with guest speaker Scott Moore, vice president of public affairs for the Union Pacific Railroad in Roseville, Calif. A memorial wreath will be presented and the moment of silence observed.
Volunteers in 1860s garb will re-enact the driving of the last spike at 12:20 p.m. and 2 p.m.
The historic site marks the anniversary of the completion of the railroad every year on May 10 because the event changed the country. "It was a great feat," said Tammy Benson, chief of operations.
"It changed the way we look at commerce, it changed the way we moved people across the country," Benson said. Instead of making a six-month wagon trek to get from Nebraska to California, for instance, folks could take a seven-day trip by rail from New York to California.
Admission is free; the event is held rain or shine and typically draws 2,000 to 3,000 visitors.
Bleacher seating is available at the site, or guests may bring their own lawn chairs and blankets. Food may be purchased from a vendor or visitors can pack along their own picnic lunches.
The historic re-enactments continue at 11 a.m. and 1:20 p.m. every Saturday and federal holiday throughout the summer, until Oct. 8. The site is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with daily steam demonstrations by the locomotives. Regular admission is $7 per vehicle.
For more information, call 435-471-2209 or visit www.nps.gov/gosp.