< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >
Workers drive last spike into transcontinental tracks to Seattle on January 6, 1893.
HistoryLink.org Essay 1322
: Printer-Friendly Format
On January 6, 1893, amid cheers, shouts, and gunshots, workers drive the last spike into the Great Northern Railway track that opens transcontinental travel to Seattle. They lay the last rails at Madison, Washington (later Scenic), 13 miles west of the summit of the Cascade Range. The completed Great Northern line stretches 1,816 miles to St. Paul, Minnesota, from where other tracks made their way to the East Coast. The Great Northern becomes the sixth transcontinental line to cross the United States.
A Momentous Achievement
Railworkers began their last day at 6 a.m. and worked until 8 p.m. that evening, laying 9,000 feet of track. The 200 rail workers in attendance shouted in excitement as superintendents Cornelius Shields and J. D. Farrell fired their revolvers in the air after driving the final spike.
Carlos A. Schwantes, Railroad Signatures Across the Pacific Northwest (Seattle: University of Washington, 1993), 78; Thomas W. Prosch, "A Chronological History of Seattle from 1850 to 1897," p. 382, 424, typescript prepared in 1900 and 1901, University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, Archives and University Manuscripts, Seattle.
Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay
Browse to Next Essay >
Roads & Rails |
Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that
encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both
HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any
reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this
Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For
more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact
the source noted in the image credit.
Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided
By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins
| Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry
| 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle
| City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach
Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private
Sponsors and Visitors Like You