One hundred and fifty years ago – on January 8, 1863 – California Governor Leland Stanford turned a ceremonial shovelful of earth near the intersection of Front and K Streets in what we today know as Old Sacramento. This marked the starting point for the Central Pacific Railroad, one of two companies that together would construct America’s first transcontinental railroad. To commemorate the inception of one of the United States’ most significant accomplishments, the California State Railroad Museum will debut a new sign at Front and K Streets on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, at 12:30 p.m.
Following the sign unveiling, the nearby California State Railroad Museum will offer an afternoon of special public programs focusing on the First Transcontinental Railroad. Featured speakers include the following: Dr. Richard Orsi, author and professor emeritus of history at California State University, Hayward; Kyle K. Wyatt, curator of history and technology at the California State Railroad Museum; and William Burg, local author and historian and Railroad Museum docent. Starting at 1:30 p.m. Burg’s presentation, “Sacramento’s Victory,” will explain how and why Sacramento became the starting point and original western terminus for the Pacific Railroad. At 2:30 p.m. Dr. Orsi’s presentation “Rising Above” will include the showing of a recently produced Sacramento documentary by the same name, and discuss how the Central Pacific Railroad’s construction helped hold back the flood waters of the Sacramento River. At 4 p.m., Wyatt’s presentation “Dreamers Wanted” will address how the U.S. grappled with locating a suitable route and why this one was ultimately chosen. Special presentations this day are included with regular Museum admission but limited to the first 135 attendees on a first-come, first-served basis. More information about the California State Railroad Museum or these commemorative activities is available at www.californiastaterailroadmuseum.org or by calling (916) 445-6645.
About the California State Railroad MuseumOperated by California State Parks with financial assistance from the non-profit California State Railroad Museum Foundation, the California State Railroad Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Widely regarded as North America’s finest and most popular railroad museum, the complex of facilities includes the 100,000-square foot Railroad History Museum plus the reconstructed Central Pacific Railroad Passenger Station and Freight Depot, 1849 Eagle Theatre, and Big Four and Dingley Spice Mill commercial buildings in Old Sacramento. For 24-hour information, visit www.californiastaterailroadmuseum.org or call (916) 445-6645.