Great Loop Golden Spike Spot

Field review by the editors.

Ashland, Oregon

The Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869, marked by the famous Golden Spike ceremony at Promontory Summit, Utah. Going back and forth across the country was fine -- for a while. But what Americans really wanted was to go around the country. More tracks were laid, rivers forded, deserts crossed, and the final barriers, the convoluted Siskiyou Mountains between Oregon and California, were finally breached on December 17, 1887. A Golden Spike was pounded into the last rail in Ashland by the millionaire owner of the Central Pacific Railroad. Telegraph operators flashed the news nationwide. Americans could now travel in a big loop around the country by train.

The Spike was, of course, immediately taken away, and Ashland gradually forgot its place in history. It wasn't until 2016 that Dan Merrill, an employee of the city's Parks and Recreation department, revived interest in the claim to fame. Late that year the city bolted a small, circular bronze plaque, ringed by a continuous loop of train tracks, to a medium-size rock at the site. "This final connection," says the plaque, "completed freight and passenger service around the nation."

Great Loop Golden Spike Spot

Address:
748 A St., Ashland, OR
Directions:
Railroad Park. East side of town, at the corner of 8th and A Sts, next to the train tracks.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Fizzy Lithia Water FountainFizzy Lithia Water Fountain, Ashland, OR - < 1 mi.
America's First Elizabethan TheatreAmerica's First Elizabethan Theatre, Ashland, OR - < 1 mi.
Art Under the BridgeArt Under the Bridge, Ashland, OR - < 1 mi.
In the region:
World's Only Bigfoot Trap, Applegate, OR - 24 mi.

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November 19, 2019

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