Friday, October 16, 2009

Golden Spike visit

Yesterday we finally went to see the Golden Spike National Historic Site. I grew up in Utah and I'd never been there -- maybe because it's truly out in the middle of nowhere and not just somewhere you can drop by on your way to somewhere else.

We've hit the in-between fall weather, where the mornings are chilly and then it warms up by afternoon. T. insisted that he was freezing when we left.

Needless to say, coat, hat, and gloves came off before too long.

We spent some time in the visitor center, looking at the exhibits about trains and the construction of the railroad. Not ever having spent much time near railroad tracks, I thought it was fascinating to see how they're put together. Then we watched a movie. They have several to choose from, and the kids unanimously voted for the Charlie Brown one, which had a surprising amount of detail for a kids' show and also kept T. laughing and interested.

We went out to see the place where it happened:

Not a great photo, but T. is looking at the replica of the polished laurelwood tie that was ceremonially placed for the four ceremonial spikes to go into. (Then, of course, they were all removed and a real tie and real spikes were used to finish the railroad.)

All these tracks have been rebuilt for the historic site. The original tracks were taken up in the 40s to use the steel for the war.

We found out that just days before, the trains had been put inside for the winter. Usually they are out on the tracks. We did get to go in the engine shed and look at the trains, though. The photos didn't come out well here either, because of the lighting, but here is the Jupiter replica, with the No. 119 replica behind it. The original trains are long gone, but these were built to be almost exactly like the originals. The only differences are safety features.

It was an educational trip and worth the drive. Some other time it would be fun to go in the summer when they do a reenactment of the 1869 ceremony.


Reg said...

It is trips like this that make me want to homeschool! I love all the little pieces of history you can find in your states. Oklahoma has amazing history too!

Cori said...

Looks like fun! It's another one of those historical places that is close but that I've never visited. And glad it warmed up for T.!

Christine said...

We used to go every year to the "Golden Spike" when I was little. It took many years for me to understand what it was all about. Fun for your family.