1883: An Extravagant Ceremony Marks the Completion of the Northern Pacific Railway

September 8, 1883

The Northern Pacific Railway, the first of the northern transcontinental railroads, was officially completed in an extravagant ceremony near Gold Creek in the southwestern part of the Montana Territory (now the state of Montana). This railway line, spanning across the northern tier of the western United States, provided what would become a vital route linking the Great Lakes region with the Pacific coast. 

A total of four trains transported 300 public officials and other dignitaries representing the United States; England; and the German Empire to the ceremony in the vicinity of Gold Creek. Those individuals helping to drive in the final spike for the occasion included Ulysses S. Grant, who was the 18th president of the United States when construction on the line began in 1870.

Photo Credit: Public Domain

For more information on the Northern Pacific Railway, please check out http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/01010.xml

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