So-Called Dollar - 1869 Pacific Railway Completion SC$1 NGC MS65 Brown
Following in the shadow of Abraham Lincoln, who signed the Pacific Railway Act of 1862 that chartered the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroad companies, the newly inaugurated Grant oversaw the progress of the two entities as they raced toward each other –one from the east and the other from the west.
By early 1869, the companies were working only miles from each other not without dispute as to where they would connect. Millions of dollars were at stake. In March, Grant declared he would withhold federal funds until the two railroad companies agreed on a meeting point. They decided on Promontory Summit, north of the Great Salt Lake; some 690 track-miles from California (the origination point for the Central Pacific) and 1,086 miles from Nebraska (the origination point for the Union Pacific). On May 10, after several delays, a crowd of workers and dignitaries watched as the final spike was driven linking both railroads. Telegraph cables immediately went out to President Grant and around the country with the news that the transcontinental railroad had been completed. (The Netflix series “Hell on Wheels” is a great documentary on the plight of the Union Pacific railroad).
The coast-to-coast railroad connection revolutionized the settlement and economy of the American West. It brought the western states and territories into alignment with the northern Union states and made transporting passengers and goods coast-to-coast considerably quicker and less expensive.
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