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Transcontinental Railroad 150th Anniversary

Throughout the spring of 2019, the Center and its partners will be commemorating the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad at Promontory Point, Utah, in 1869.

Stanford Historical Society

Transcontinental Railroad Symposium at Stanford, April 6

In a morning symposium, the Stanford Historical Society will reflect on the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad and its legacy at Stanford. Presenters will include a variety of Stanford faculty experts who will discuss the impact of the railroad on American lives, fortunes, and society.

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Commemoration in Sacramento on May 18

The Stanford Historical Society will lead a commemoration of the Gold Spike’s 150th anniversary, which will include presentations on the impact of the Transcontinental Railroad on the American West, an official proclamation, and a reception.

Related article: Stanford Historical Society plans railroad sesquicentennial events (Stanford News Service, Oct. 23, 2018)

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Film Series at Stanford

Over the course of six weeks, the Stanford Historical Society and Stanford Continuing Studies will present a series of films, each introduced by historians, film scholars, and researchers, that will attempt to put these historical events in perspective. A discussion will follow each screening.

Monday, April 15

“The Iron Horse” (1924), directed by John Ford

Monday, April 22

“Union Pacific” (1939), directed by Cecil B. DeMille

Monday, April 29

“Iron Road” (2009), Canadian mini-series

Monday, May 6

American Experience: “The Transcontinental Railroad” (2003), PBS

Monday, May 13

“Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968), directed by Sergio Leone

Monday, May 20

“The Railroad” segment of “How the West was Won” (1963); “Hell on Wheels” (2013); “Charlie Brown, this is America: The Transcontinental Railroad” (1988)


Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project

150th Anniversary of the Golden Spike: Chinese Railroad Workers and the Transcontinental Railroad

On April 11 at Stanford, the organizers of this research project at Stanford will explore their newly recovered history of the Chinese immigrant workers who helped build the Transcontinental Railroad.

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Image: Ceremony of the driving of the "Last Spike" at Promontory Summit, UT, on May 10, 1869, joining the rails of the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad. Painting by  Thomas Hill (1829–1908). Source: Wikimedia Commons