New exhibition on track: “Building the First Transcontinental Railroad”

By DPLA, May 7, 2015.

While the United States was in the midst of the Civil War, the country was also making one of its greatest breakthroughs in transportation—the Transcontinental Railroad. From the railroad’s war-weary beginnings, to the last Golden Spike at Promontory Summit in Utah on May 10, 1869, the railroad’s development forever changed American travel and communication. It also had long-reaching and irrevocable impacts on the lives of Native Americans and Chinese immigrant laborers, who bore the brunt of the treacherous tunneling and track-laying across the country. Our newest exhibition “Building the Transcontinental Railroad” explores the railroad’s construction and its impact on American culture and westward expansion.

A photo of a group of laborers at work on a line change project in Utah. Courtesy of the University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library via Mountain West Digital Library.

This exhibition was created as part of the DPLA’s Digital Curation Program by the following students as part of Professor Krystyna Matusiak’s course “Digital Libraries” in the Library and Information Science program at the University of Denver: Jenifer Fisher, Benjamin Hall, Nick Iwanicki, Cheyenne Jansdatter, Sarah McDonnell, Timothy Morris and Allan Van Hoye.

View the exhibition

Featured image credit: “Does not such a meeting make amends?” a 1869 print showing an allegorical linking of the Transcontinental Railroad at Promontory Summit, Utah. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.