Golden Spike
Cultural Landscape Report
NPS Logo



View northeast from the top of the locomotive Jupiter, Central Pacific Railroad, that is facing the Union Pacific's engine 119 during the Last Spike Ceremony, May 10, 1869. Photograph by A.J. Russell, official photographer of the Union Pacific Railroad. Source: A.J. Russell photo No. 223.







Management Summary
Historical Summary
Scope of Work and Methodology
Description of Study Boundaries
Summary of Findings


Federal Support and Initial Construction of the Transcontinental Railroad: 1840-1867
Development and Completion of the Transcontinental Railroad: 1868-1869
The Wedding of the Rails at Promontory Summit: May 10, 1869
The Transcontinental Railroad and Promontory Station: 1870-1904
The Promontory Branch Line: 1905-1942
Southern Pacific's Efforts to Abandon the Promontory Branch and the "Undriving" of the Last Spike
Creation and Administration of the Golden Spike National Historic Site: 1957-2000
Site Development since 1965


Existing Land Use and Spatial Organization
Buildings and Structures
Archaeological Sites


Natural Features and Systems
Land Use
Buildings and Structures
Cluster Arrangement
Small-Scale Features
Archaeological Sites
Views and Vistas
Statement of Significance



Cultural Landscape Character Areas
Management Philosophy
Recommendations for Treatment



Appendix A: List of prior actions that have affected cultural resources within Golden Spike National Historic Site

Appendix B: Annual Maintenance of Railroad Grade

Figure 1. Golden Spike National Historic Site area map
Figure 2. Chinese construction camp at end-of-track, eastbound construction train just west of Powder Bluff, Nevada
Figure 3. "Mormon village ... Echo Canyon
Figure 4. "Railroad Camp near Victory [Rozel]." 1869
Figure 5. Overlooking north-northeast along the completed Big Trestle
Figure 6. Detail of west abutment — Union Pacific's Big Trestle
Figure 7. Union Pacific's Camp Dead Fall — east slope of the Promontories
Figure 8. Image early in the day — May 10, 1869. Looking southwest along the grade
Figure 9. Looking east along the completed grade — May 10, 1869
Figure 10. Promontory Summit immediately prior to the Last Spike ceremony
Figure 11. Historic base map — May 10, 1869, Promontory Summit
Figure 12. Historic base map — May 10, 1869: West Slope
Figure 13. Historic base map — May 10, 1869: East Slope
Figure 14. Looking east along the railroad grade through Promontory Summit — ca. late 1869 or 1870
Figure 15. Looking northwest to the tent city that developed north of the railroad tracks at Promontory Summit
Figure 16. Historic base map — 1870: East Slope
Figure 17. Promontory ticket and telegraph office
Figure 18. The old Golden Hotel — used as the Houghton Store after 1909
Figure 19. The obelisk placed by the Southern Pacific in its original location
Figure 20. Historic base map — 1942: West Slope
Figure 21. Historic base map — 1942: East Slope
Figure 22. Existing Conditions: Last Spike Site/Headquarters Area
Figure 23. Existing Conditions: West Slope
Figure 24. Existing Conditions: East Slope
Figure 25. View to northwest toward the reconstructed rails and replica engines at the Last Spike Site
Figure 26. View to northeast — memorial plaques at rear of Visitor Center
Figure 27. View to southeast towards the engine house
Figure 28. View to northwest toward park service bone yard, Promontory school and windmill
Figure 29. View to northeast along CP grade — west auto tour — replica of historic "10 miles of track laid in one day" sign
Figure 30. View to southwest towards Last Spike Site and Visitor Center from county access road
Figure 31. View to west along CP constructed grade in the summit area
Figure 32. View to east from the vicinity of the Last Spike Site along reconstructed UP siding to the box elder trees inside the park boundary
Figure 33. Looking southwest from west slope auto tour (CP grade) across unfinished UP grade
Figure 34. View to south towards the Visitor Center from the Last Spike Site
Figure 35. Modern culvert in Visitor Center area
Figure 36. Detail of restored stone culvert in CP grade — west slope
Figure 37. Detail of wood culvert in CP grade — west slope
Figure 38. View to the southwest of Trestle No. 1
Figure 39. View to west. Archaeological remains of domestic shelters built by railroad construction workers — west slope
Figure 40. Illustration of masonry foundation
Figure 41. Photograph of unidentified railroad construction camp showing individual sod-covered shelters
Figure 42. Photograph of the UP's Big Trestle and surrounding area showing the access tracks through the sagebrush
Figure 43. Copy of a portion of the 1886 GLO survey plat of T10N, R6W
Figure 44. View to the east of the parallel grades of the CP (left) and the UP (right), east slope
Figure 45. View to the west of the parallel grades of the CP (right) and the UP (left), west slope
Figure 46. View to the east along the reconstructed tracks near the Last Spike Site
Figure 47. View to the southwest — Union Pacific's "Last Cut."
Figure 48. View to the north — Central Pacific's "Big Fill.
Figure 49. Detail of the remains of a square telegraph pole — east slope of the Promontories
Figure 50. View to north — contemporary scene at Last Spike Site Visitor Center
Figure 51. View to southwest — from Last Spike Site to Visitor Center
Figure 52. The summit area, showing the proposed administrative boundary expansion

Cultural Landscape Report
Golden Spike National Historic Site
Box Elder County, Utah

Carla Homstad and Janene Caywood
Historical Research Associates, Inc.

Peggy Nelson
Landscape Systems

Contract No. 1443-CX-1200-94-024

National Park Service
Intermountain Region
P.O. Box 25287
Denver, Colorado 80225

<<< Previous <<< Contents >>> Next >>>
Last Updated: 27-Jul-2003