May 10: A Golden Spike Connects the Nation

On this date in 1869, a golden spike was driven to connect the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads in a ceremony at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory. We’ve assembled a collection of railroad photographs, illustrations, maps, and literature for teaching about the history of railroads in US.

Golden Spike Banner

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Phileas Fogg and Party Travel by the Pacific Railroad

In Chapter 26 of Around the World in 80 Days, Jules Verne describes a trip across the continent via the Pacific Railroad, including the account of a three-hour delay due to a herd of buffalo crossing the tracks. Lit2Go Duration: 8 minutes, 42 seconds.

Waiting at Live Oak

This short poem by John Willis Menard describes a seven-hour wait at a train station in Live Oak, Florida. Lit2Go Duration: 1 minute, 14seconds.

Railroad Transportation Photo Galleries

The Railroad Transportation section of the ClipPix ETC website offers galleries including cabooses, funicular railways, passenger cars, signs, tracts, and stations.

Allegheny Portage Railroad

Thirty-five years before the golden spike signaled the completion of a railroad across the Rocky Mountains, the Allegheny Portage Railroad crossed tho Allegheny Mountains via an unusual combination of barges and inclines, cutting travel between Philadelphia and the Ohio River from weeks to just days. From the ClipPix ETC website.

From Mandarin to St. Augustine

Harriet Beecher Stowe (better known as the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin) describes the two-jour journey from Mardarin to St. Augustine, Florida, via a horse-drawn rail car in this short excerpt from Palmetto Leaves.. Lit2Go Duration: 3 minutes, 40 seconds.

Rambles in Florida

R. E. C. Stearns describes a journey westward across Florida toward the Cedar Keys. 13 minutes.

Rail Transportation Illustrations

Over 200 classic rail travel illustrations including carriages, rails, signs, stations, signals, and equipment from the ClipArt ETC website.

Transportation Maps

The Transportation Maps gallery of the Maps ETC website includes many railroad maps.

Union Station, Washington, D.C.

A small gallery of Union Station photos from the ClipPix ETC website.

Into the Miraculous Sea

Chapter 22 of Florida Trails describes a rail journey through the Florida Keys. Lit2Go Duration: 13 minutes, 17 seconds.

Florida Railroad 3D Stereoviews

A small gallery of Florida railroad stereoviews from the Exploring Florida website. Red/blue 3D glasses required.

Florida Railroads Photo Galleries

The Exploring Florida website includes two galleries of railroad photos. The first features historic photos and the second photos of the renovation of the Live Oak Station.
Gallery 1 | Gallery 2

Growth of Florida's Railroads PDF

Two-page PDF from the “Florida Then and Now” collection of reading passages on the Exploring Florida website.

Florida County RR Maps

Railroad maps for each of Florida’s 67 counties showing routes as of 2009. Available on the Exploring Florida Maps website.