SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — More than 150 years after the Transcontinental Railroad’s completion, Utahns are gathering for a special ceremony this week, with a massive 43-foot-tall monument of the golden spike coming to the Utah State Capitol.
The Golden Spike Monument was created as a way to pay homage to the tens of thousands of workers who labored to construct the railroad but went largely unacknowledged until recently. The arrival of the monument is being marked with two days of celebration from Oct. 23-24.
The monument is also reminiscent of the ceremonial spike used to mark the completion of the railroad in 1869, connecting the country from coast to coast.
Commissioned by the Golden Spike Foundation, along with sculptor Douwe Blumberg of Kentucky, the monument reportedly took a team of 25 people to create over a span of 28 months, which included casters, welders, sandblasters, and artisans.
Standing tall at exactly 43.3 feet — incidentally the square root of 1869 — the Golden Spike Monument is said to weigh more than 8,000 pounds despite its “lightweight” aluminum interior. Upon closer inspection, the exterior is decorated in brilliant gold hues with a mosaic of faces representing the workers who took part in the railroad’s completion.
The monument’s visit to Utah is part of a national tour with nine stops down the original route of the Transcontinental Railroad, which began in Lexington, Kentucky, earlier this month.
Once the tour is officially completed, with the final stop in Utah, the monument will be placed as a fixture at the Golden Spike Historical National Park in Brigham City.
Utahns will be celebrating the monument’s arrival at the Utah State Capitol on Oct. 23 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.