Governor Herbert announces ‘copper spike’ celebrating historic railroad milestone

May 9, 2019, 8:04 AM
golden spike ceremony transcontinental railroad...
A scene at the Golden Spike ceremony photographed May 10, 1869 at Promontory Summit in Box Elder County. Southern Pacific photo X1071 from an original photograph owned by the Iowa Historical and Art Department. Deseret News Archives

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert says it’s about time Utah gets its own “golden” spike to help recognize the Beehive state’s role in the joining of the transcontinental railroads from the east to the west. Wednesday, he signed a bill that made a commemorative 10-ounce copper spike Utah’s official spike.

copper spike transcontinental railroad

Gov. Herbert poses with the copper spike commissioned to celebrate Utah’s role in the joining of east and west with the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. Photo: Carter Williams,

“We are the epicenter of where it joined together at Promontory Summit.  They drove the golden spike in Utah. We’ve had four of them that have been done; two from California, one each from Arizona and Nevada, but not one from Utah.  So it’s about time we had our own spike as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the driving of the golden spike. There’s no better time than to do it now and we thank those who helped make that happen,” noted Herbert in remarks made on Wednesday.

copper spike transcontinental railroad

An image of the Utah copper spike during an unveiling event at O.C. Tanner Jewelry in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill to designate the spike as Utah’s official spike for the transcontinental railroad. Photo: Carter Williams,

The spike was made out of Utah copper, designed by noted jeweler O.C. Tanner.  It’s a commemorative 150th-anniversary spike to be put on display, and will stay in Utah.

“This spike represents Utah and the significant role we played here in the joining of the transcontinental railroads from the east and the west at Promontory Summit.  I think we forget the magnitude and significance of this event.  We know about it from the history books, but it joined the country together in times of significant divisiveness.  We were in the middle of a civil war,” Herbert said.

The governor says the significance of copper represents one of Utah’s biggest contributions to the U.S. The state is home to one of the world’s largest open pit copper mines.

He says trains have always played a very important role in transportation in Utah, past, present and future.

The 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad is Friday with celebrations planned throughout the state and even the nation.

Golden Spike stamps

The U.S. Postal Service will put its stamps of approval on the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad by issuing three new Forever Stamps featuring the Jupiter and No. 119 locomotives and the golden spike. Source: U.S. Postal Service

On May 10, 1869, just four years after the end of the Civil War, the first Transcontinental Railroad was officially completed at Promontory, Utah. At the ceremony, four ceremonial spikes — two gold, one silver and one blended from iron, silver and gold — were ceremoniously driven into the railway ties, joining the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad.

The last of the four, made of 17.6 karat gold and engraved with the names of railroad officers and directors, was gently tapped into place for show, then removed to be kept for posterity. (It is currently in the hands of the Cantor Arts Museum at Stanford University.) The event was one of the first “nationwide” news events, as a telegraph operator flashed the word “done” across the country when the final tap happened.

Thursday, the “Big Boy” and “Engine 844” will re-enact the historic moment in Ogden. Then on Friday, more ceremonial re-enactments and celebrations will take place at Golden Spike National Historic Monument, near present-day Corinne.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

crowded zion national park...
Mark Jones

Seasonal shuttle service, camping availability announced at Zion

Fall shuttle service into Zion National Park ended Sunday. It will resume for 10 days beginning on Dec. 23 and running through Jan. 1, 2023.
1 day ago
Groundbreaking dates for four temples in Latin America have been announced this week by the First P...
Mark Jones

Church announces locations for six previously announced temples

Locations for six previously announced temples were announced Monday by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
1 day ago
vail resorts...
Elizabeth Weiler

Vail Resorts facing million dollar lawsuit after a Utah bowling alley incident

PARK CITY, Utah — After a bowling incident during a company party, a jury is ordering Vail Resorts’ Mountain activities to pay over $2 million for a personal injury that caused extensive surgeries.  In April, according to a case overview, Jupiter Bowl hosted a team party for Vail employees. During the party, Vail Resorts’ employees […]
1 day ago
Utah Naloxone...
Devin Oldroyd

Utah Naloxone and law enforcement reach milestone in preventing overdose deaths

Utah Naloxone reports over 600 lives in Utah have been saved thanks to law enforcement's use of naloxone (Narcan®).
1 day ago
Photo of a Utah highway petrol vehicle...
Mark Jones

More than 1,500 motorists stopped for speeding over Thanksgiving weekend

The Utah Highway Patrol says more than 1,500 motorists were pulled over for speeding during the Thanksgiving weekend.
1 day ago
Primary Children's Medical Center has canceled some scheduled surgeries and other procedures this w...
Simone Seikaly

Citing rising RSV cases, Primary Children’s delaying some surgeries

Primary Children's is delaying pre-scheduled and non-emergency procedures that would require an inpatient stay.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Governor Herbert announces ‘copper spike’ celebrating historic railroad milestone