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First Trancontinental Railroad.
Strasburg doesn't mince words: "First Transcontinental Railroad."

Transcontinental Railroad Rival Site

Field review by the editors.

Strasburg, Colorado

What is a Transcontinental Railroad? If you ask the people of Strasburg, Colorado, a Transcontinental Railroad is one you can get on at the Atlantic Ocean and then not get off until you reach the Pacific Ocean (or vice-versa). But that wasn't possible after the famous Golden Spike ceremony at remote Promontory Summit, Utah. Back then you could board a train in Manhattan -- but then you'd have to get off at Council Bluffs, Iowa, take a ferry across the Missouri River, get back on the train, ride it to Sacramento, California, get off the train again, and then take a boat the last 75 miles downriver until you reached the Pacific.

Museum depot.
Old train depot serves as town museum and helps keep the transcontinental truth alive.

The "first continuous land link by railroad across the U.S.," ocean to ocean, wasn't completed until 15 months later, on August 15, 1870, when East met West at a dry creek bed named Comanche Crossing near Strasburg, Colorado.

Strasburg is wholeheartedly behind its overlooked moment of glory. On the 100th anniversary of the linkage, a plaque on a concrete monument was erected at the site (touting the continuous land link claim), then later moved into a park in town so more people could see it. In 2008 a big metal sign with the bold title, "First Transcontinental Railroad," was erected just up the street, outside of Strasburg's old train depot, part of the Comanche Crossing Museum complex. During the summer months, when the museum is open, whoever's there will give you even more information about Strasburg's claim to fame, and show you a letter sent to Strasburg by President Nixon in 1970, expressing gratitude for the "hardy pioneers who one century ago tied this country together by rail."

Also, unlike the still-remote Golden Spike site, Strasburg's monument and sign truly capture the quick-and-convenient spirit of the Transcontinental Railroad, because they're right off an interstate exit.

Transcontinental Railroad Rival Site

56060 E. Colfax Ave., Strasburg, CO
I-70 exit 310. Drive north to the stop sign. Turn left onto CO-36/Colfax Ave. Drive a quarter-mile. Turn left when you see the brown Museum sign. The Transcontinental Railroad sign is set back from the road, in front of the old train depot. The museum inside the depot is open July-Aug.
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