Golden Spike Displayed For First Time In Texas
For Release: March 3, 2006College Station, TX - A piece of national history can be viewed for the first time in the state of Texas. The historical Golden Spike is now on display through the end of March at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. The Golden Spike joined the transcontinental railroad connecting the United States. Also known as the Last Spike, it was symbolically driven on May 10, 1869 at Promontory Point, Utah.
The Golden Spike was tapped into a prepared hole by Leland Stanford at the ceremony joining the Central Pacific and Union Pacific rails. Governor Stanford drove the Last Spike into a polished California laurel tie before an audience of approximately 3,000 government and railroad officials and track workers in the desert at Promontory.
The spike was the inspiration of David Hewes, prominent building contractor and financier of San Francisco and the brother-in-law of Mrs. Stanford. Immediately after the ceremony, the spike and laurel tie were withdrawn and an iron spike and regular tie substituted. Mr. Stanford presented the Last Spike to Mr. Lewes, who in turn presented it to the Stanford Museum in 1892.
Resembling an ordinary railroad spike in size and design, the Last Spike was manufactured by the William T. Garrett Foundry of San Francisco in 1869. The spike is 17.6 carat gold, alloyed with copper, and weighs 14.03 troy ounces. Clearly visible on its head are the dents made by Governor Stanford when he tapped it with a silver hammer. It is engraved on the top and on all four sides. On the head are the words “The Last Spike.”
The Golden Spike will be on display as part of the exhibit “Trains: Tracks of the Iron Horse” at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum through March 31. This extraordinary exhibit includes an array of contemporary and historic railroad artifacts that are both informative and entertaining in telling the history of railroads in the United States.
The Museum at the George Bush Presidential Library hours are Monday – Saturday, 9:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Sundays from 12:00 until 5:00 p.m. Museum admission is $7.00 for adults, $5.00 for senior citizens 62+ and active and retired military with ID, as well as groups of 20 or more with advance reservations. Children 6 and older are $2.00; TAMU and Blinn College students as well as children under 6 are free.
For more information, be sure to check out our website http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu.