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The golden spike : how a photograph celebrated the transcontinental railroad

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In the mid-1860s, as the Union Pacific Railroad headed westward from Nebraska, another company, the Central Pacific, pushed eastward from California. Their goal was to meet somewhere in between, forming a single railway line that would bridge the continent. That historic meeting took place in May 1869 in northern Utah, and photographer Andrew J. Russell was there to document the historic event. His work resulted in one of the most important photos of the 19th century and probably the most famous railroad image of all time. The photo, often called "East and West," was viewed by a worldwide audience and affirmed that railroads were at the cutting edge of transportation technology. The continent was now linked.

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