Date: May 10, 2019
BRIGHAM CITY, Utah – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt celebrated the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad at the Golden Spike National Historical Park. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Utah Governor Gary Herbert, U.S. Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Mitt Romney (R-UT), Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01), and thousands of park visitors joined Secretary Bernhardt at today’s commemoration.
“The construction of the transcontinental railroad should remind us of the greatness we can achieve as a country when we are united around a common goal and purpose,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “Today's incredible events wouldn't have been possible without the exceptional leadership of Spike 150, the great people of Utah, Congressman Bishop, and the rest of the Utah delegation. I am especially grateful for Congressman Bishop's work in elevating this site to be a National Historical Park for all to visit, learn and enjoy.”
“The transcontinental railroad was a tremendous feat of engineering, innovation and manpower that was key to the economic development of the United States, and today, we pay special tribute to the diverse workforce—especially 12,000 or more Chinese laborers— that built this seminal infrastructure project that transformed America,” said Secretary Chao.
“I hope remembering the accomplishment of those who built the Transcontinental Railroad will remind us that we can accomplish miraculous things when we come together from diverse backgrounds and experiences and work side-by-side, sunup-to-sundown, with the spirit of cooperation,” said Governor Herbert.
"When the Golden Spike was driven to join the rails of the First Continental Railroad at Promontory Summit, it bore this inscription: 'May God continue the unity of our Country, as this Railroad unites the two great Oceans of the world,'” said Senator Lee. "And indeed it did. Thanks to the innovation and perseverance of many different people working together, the driving of the golden spike made the United States truly unified, altering the course of history in Utah, our nation, and ultimately the entire world."
“The Transcontinental Railroad was one of the most extraordinary engineering accomplishments of the 19th century, and it revolutionized transportation, culture, and the economy in Utah and throughout the nation,” said Senator Romney. “Today, as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike that connected our entire country, we also celebrate the limitless American imagination, spirit of ingenuity, and industry that made this incredible project a success.”
"Spike 150 is about leaving a legacy," said Congressman Bishop. "We want our children and the world to know that this country - with the help of thousands of immigrants - accomplished the seemingly impossible. The Transcontinental Railroad is a prominent symbol of the most significant achievement of the 19th century. It is that century’s moon landing. I’m proud that President Trump signed into law that this Golden Spike National Historical Site is now a full-fledged National Historical Park.”
During the ceremony, Secretary Bernhardt presented a new sign re-designating the location as the Golden Spike National Historical Park that will welcome visitors into the park.
The park commemorates the location where the Union Pacific Railroad and the Central Pacific Railroad came together to form the first transcontinental railroad in the United States. The park includes the site where the railroad was completed in a “last spike” ceremony on May 10, 1869.
Congressman Bishop sponsored legislation re-designating Golden Spike National Historic Site as Golden Spike National Historic Park, which was included in S. 47, “John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act” – the most comprehensive public lands management legislation in a decade. President Trump signed S. 47 into law on March 12, 2019.
In addition to the re-designation, this legislation directs the National Park Service to establish a program to commemorate and interpret the Transcontinental Railroad, to streamline review of historic resources for certain undertakings in the park, and to coordinate with owners of land adjacent to the park for the treatment of invasive species.
As the first Asian Pacific American woman ever appointed to the President’s cabinet, and the first American of Chinese ancestry to serve as U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Secretary Chao is uniquely positioned to commemorate the contributions that Chinese workers made to the building of one of the greatest infrastructure projects in American history – the Transcontinental Railroad.