The Golden Spike National Historical Site changed status and became a Historical Park on March 12, when President Donald Trump signed the measure.
Almost a year ago, U.S. Representative Rob Bishop, R-District 1, introduced the “Golden Spike 150th Anniversary Act” bill, recognizing the historic significance of the completion of America’s first transcontinental railroad by establishing the 52nd U.S. Historical Park and designating it the “Golden Spike National Historical Park.”
“The Golden Spike 150th Anniversary Act further acknowledges Utah’s Promontory Summit as a place that changed the world,” Bishop said. “This new park will not only preserve the history made on that spring day in 1869, but also the herculean efforts which led to the driving of the spike and the new course of history that followed.”
The Act also creates the Transcontinental Railroad Network. The network will include sites related to the history, construction, and legacy of the Transcontinental Railroad and will be similar in makeup to the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
One of the requirements of the change was to have an area that extends beyond a single property or building. The Golden Spike National Park includes a mix of historic and significant natural features, which made it a candidate for the change.
Those natural features include the Chinese Arch, dedicated to the some 10,000 Chinese workers brought in by Central Pacific to finish their end of the rails. Then there is the Big Fill trail, which includes the railroad bed with several embankments and cuttings associated with completing the Transcontinental Railroad.
Leslie Crossland, superintendent at Golden Spike National Historic Site, said they would change the signage as soon as they were instructed.
“We are very excited to become the newest National Historical Park within the National Park Service,” Crossland said. “We hope the name change will attract even more visitors with whom we can share this piece of our nation’s amazing history.”
Julie Blanchard, the National Park Service event coordinator assigned to the Spike 150 by the Park Service, said she has not heard if or what dignitaries would be involved the May 10 program.
“As far as the show goes, there is still a lot yet be to be decided,” she said. “They are still working on the show.”
Blanchard herself was more involved in location preparation and coordination.
Lee Lonsberry, communication director for Congressman Rob Bishop, said the designation took effect as soon as the President signed it.
“Congressman Bishop plans to be part of the program somehow, he has been in touch with the organizers,” Lonsberry said. “He feels strongly to the extent the Transcontinental Railroad was a turning point of commerce and transportation in the country, it was revolutionary.”