Northern Pacific Railroad Completion Site - Gold Creek, MT
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Queens Blessing
N 46° 33.670 W 112° 53.154
12T E 355455 N 5158127
Quick Description: In August, 1983, the site of the completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad was included in the National Register of Historic Places.
Location: Montana, United States
Date Posted: 10/16/2010 8:33:26 PM
Waymark Code: WM9YF0
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 5

Long Description:
There are several signs placed by the Powell County Museum and Arts Foundaton at the Gold Creek Rest Area off of Interstate I-90 near Gold Creek, Montana, including this one with text that reads:

"First of the Northern Transcontinental Railroads
--Driving the Last Spike

Little celebration marked the actual completion of the Northern Pacific, linking the Great Lakes with the Pacific Coast on August 22, 1883. Northern Pacific President, Henry Villard, postponed the formal opening of the line until September 8 when he organized a grand ceremony to honor this triumph over nature and financial adversity.
The celebration at Gold Creek, Montana Territory, on September 8, 1883, was the most elaborate ceremony ever staged to honor the completion of a railroad. Villared spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars on the event, believing the accomplishment required an international celebration to attract the attention of the nation and the world.

Villard invited financiers, journalists and dignitaries from England and Germany in addition to over 200 American politicians, bankers, railroad officials, investors, and journalists. In all, five trainloads of guests converged upon Gold Creek.

The driving of the last spike occurred on the south side of the Clark Fork river at its confluence with Gold Creek, about 9 miles from Garrison. A wooden covered pavilion capable of seating a thousand people was constructed and decorated with pine boughs, bunting and flags of Germany, Great Britian and the United States. Spectators listened proudly to the music of the Fifth Infantry Band and speeches throughout the afternoon. Finally, the oratory finished, construction teams frm the eastern and western sectons competedin re-laying the last 1,200 feet of track. Although the ceremony was publicized as the "golden spike" the actual spike used was the first one driven in Carlton, Minnesota thirtheen years earlier. At 5:18 the telegraphiic click that signaled the contact between sledge and spike resounded from coast to coast. A White Sulphur Springs reported noted: "During the driving of the last spike, the band played, one hundred guns were fired, and a general squabble prevailed. I have not as yet been able to fina d Montanan who saw the golden spike, but I presume it was there and was driven . I stood only six feet away, but the crowd was so thick and so strong that I could not see the work performed."

In August, 1983, the site of the completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad was included in the National Register of Historic Places."


The actual location of the completion of the railroad is now just a field in a farm; this sign honors that site, which is about 1.6 miles away (according to another sign posted at this Rest Area).
Street address:
Off I-90
Gold Creek, MT USA

County / Borough / Parish: Powell County

Year listed: 1983

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Event

Periods of significance: 1875-1899

Historic function: Transportation

Current function: Agriculture/Subsistence

Privately owned?: no

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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ornith visited Northern Pacific Railroad Completion Site  -  Gold Creek, MT 9/16/2012 ornith visited it
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