The Race to Promontory: The Transcontinental Railroad and the American West
10/6/2018 - 1/6/2019
The Race to Promontory: The Transcontinental Railroad and the American West celebrates the “Meeting of the Rails” at Promontory Summit, Utah, on May 10, 1869, through the photographs and stereographs of Andrew Joseph Russell (1830–1902) and Alfred A. Hart (1816–1908). Organized in partnership with Union Pacific, and drawn entirely from the collection of the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa, these images represent the largest collection in the world of original photographs of the construction of the transcontinental railroad, documented from east to west by Russell, working for the Union Pacific Railroad, and west to east by Hart, for the Central Pacific.

What's pictured: Alfred A. Hart (American, 1816-1908), Locomotive on Trestle, near American River, 1865, albumen stereograph, Courtesy Union Pacific Railroad Museum

Race to Promontory will feature 37 framed albumen prints by Russell, including plates from his album, The Great West Illustrated, as well as rare, unpublished images from the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, and 108 stereograph cards by Hart. The exhibition will also include archival material from the UP Museum including popular reproductions, maps, and publicity relating to the events at Promontory Summit. Highlighting the Joslyn installation will be the three original ceremonial railroad spikes that were presented during the festivities at Promontory Summit on May 10, 1869. Reunited for the first time in 150 years, the Gold Spike, the Silver Spike, and the Arizona Spike were given to railroad officials to celebrate the laying of the last rail and have not been displayed together since that momentous day.

Exhibition-Related Events & Programs

Saturday, October 13; 1–3 pm