Saturday, February 04, 2006

Possible golden spike sighting

From: "Larry Mullaly" lmullaly@jeffnet.org

A golden spike "sighting" was recently referred to me by a group in Ashland that is working to establish a small railroad museum in the city's railroad district. The question they ask is: was the Promontory golden spike later used at Ashland, Oregon?

The Ashland Tidings of December 23, 1887 described the ceremony that took place on December 17, 1887 in which Charles Crocker hammered home the final spike at Ashland joining tracks between Oregon and California. It reads:

"Mr. Crocker taking the golden spike and silver hammer which had been used before on a similar eventful occasion spoke as follows:

"I hold in my hand the last spike. (Cries of "Hold it up!") With this golden spike I proposed now to unite the rails between California and Oregon, and I hope it will be the means of cementing the friendship of the two states, and make them as one people. (Applause)."

The Oakland Tribune of December 19, 1887 carried the same account with an extra anecdote: "Speaking later at a celebration in Portland, Crocker produced the gold spike he had driven at Ashland and stated: 'It is dangerous to leave it where it was driven.'"

Questions: Is there any supporting evidence that the Promontory spike was used at Ashland? Were there other "golden spike" ceremonies?

—Larry Mullaly