CPRR Discussion Group - Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum
The mold and casting of the spike(s) was done in by William T. It bears subtle differences: the name "Central Pacific Railroad" in place of . In Robin Lampson met a Hewes descendant who had two . As an individual, I presented a gold spike and polished laurel tie, with a silver shield, on. The Transcontinental Railroad connected East and West—and accelerated Summit, Utah, at p.m. on May 10, , announcing one of the greatest After more than six years of backbreaking labor, east officially met west as hostages as part of Custer's strategy to use them as human shields, but. On this day in , the presidents of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet in Promontory, Utah, and drive a ceremonial last spike into a rail line that connects their railroads. This made transcontinental railroad travel possible for the first time in U.S. history.
Therefore, the laboratory used photographs of the Hewes spike as their guide for engraving the spike. The result is a very good duplicate of the Hewes spike. Prime evidence, as Hewes here identifies this as the "Last Spike" used at Promontory, The five views also show the sequence and wording of the inscriptions.
It may indeed have been the Stanford gold "duplicate," not yet returned to the university. I asked the two attendants on duty about this, but they could give us no information. Krueger, superintendent of the Site, had already left for the Memorial Day weekend, and we could not wait in Ogden three days to see him. After our return home I wrote an inquiry to Mr.
Ketterson, but never received a reply. I sincerely hope that the spike now on display at Promontory is a very good duplicate of the Hewes spike — a replica indistinguishable from the original, thanks to Mr. If so, it would not negate, but would support, the thesis of this article, — which is that the original Hewes golden Last Spike is missing, and that there is good reason to believe that it has been missing for a great many years.
Let us review the chronology of the Hewes spike: May 10, — After the ceremony at Promontory Leland Stanford is reported to have reached down and lifted the spike from its hole and then dropped it casually into the side pocket of his coat.
Later he ran into David Hewes and handed him the spike, no doubt saying something like, "Here, Dave, you keep this.
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- Monday, November 07, 2005
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I don't need it. Incidentally, we should note here that Stanford University had just first opened its doors to students October 1, During the periods I myself was a student at Stanford, from to with over a year out for service in Soviet Russia with Hoover's American Relief Administration, I do not remember once visiting the Museum, or hearing anyone, student or faculty, recommend such a visit, or hearing or reading that the Golden Spike was on display there — which would certainly have impelled me to go see it.
The Museum itself was from the first a stepchild of the University, unwanted, unwelcomed, unused. The Stanford son, Leland, Jr. Though the Leland Stanford Junior University itself is a memorial to the dead boy, the parents, and especially the mother after the father's death inlavished on the Museum buildings hundreds of thousands of dollars which President Jordan, his administrative staff and the faculty felt were more needed and better spent for more classrooms, faculty, books and equipment.
All the histories of the early years of Stanford University which I have read — by Dr. Pearce Mitchell, and Edith R. Mirrielees, to name but a few of the best — repeatedly stress this feeling and judgment, but not without deep sympathy for the Stanfords and appreciation of their magnificent generosity. All this about the Stanfords and their Museum may seem like a digression from our story of the missing Hewes spike.
But I assure you that it is relevant, and that in due time its significance and importance will be apparent. This would imply that the Stanford authorities felt that their Museum was no longer a safe place for so famous and so valuable a historical relic. However, the public is given no further explanation. I go to the Wells Fargo Bank for which I am writing a series of radio stories and have my first look at the Golden Spike — or at least at a gold spike.
I am fascinated by the very thought that I am actually seeing that National Treasure. But it does not occur to me to compare my pristine photographs with the spike on display at Wells Fargo, to check the inscriptions on the gleaming gold relic with those on my black-and-white prints. I wonder now if I could have withstood the shock if I had made the comparison! Hansen, Stanford University's Archivist, confirmed this fact when my wife and I visited his office on May 26, It is at this juncture in this true mystery story that we arrive at its most fascinating puzzle: At what point in that long year period was it discovered, and by whom at Stanford, that the original Hewes golden Last Spike was missing?
Was it lost, misplaced, or stolen? Scores of pertinent questions leap into one's mind I have put myself to sleep more than one night counting the possibilities! Had the spike been stored away somewhere, eluding all search for it? Had some special occasion arisen where the university wanted to show or display the spike, and could not find it — and so had had a substitute hurriedly, quietly, and inaccurately made? Or was only an individual, and not the university administration involved — and did that person, to save his job, or protect a relative or a friend, or to shield the university from a scandal, have the substitute spike quickly and carelessly made from a written description rather than from photographs?
Did such a situation face a professor, perhaps, who surprised his son or a nephew in the act of melting down the original spike in the Chemistry lab? But before we ask any more such questions, let us first dispose of one suggestion that was first made several months ago: Did David Hewes possibly lose his original spike and have a shoddy, careless "duplicate" made which he presented to Stanford's Museum in ?
I can only answer that I have made a thorough study of David Hewes's life and record, and I am convinced that he was too honest and forthright a man to try to foist a substitute Last Spike on the public. If he had lost the original, and had had a substitute made, he would have said so quite frankly — and, moreover, he would have had an accurate replica made, one practically indistinguishable from the original.
And up to the time his "Autobiography" was published in two years before his deathDavid Hewes was the only person who had the original photographs necessary for making an exact replica.
Sleeper, that indefatigable and entertaining Southern California historian, [recently] wrote me, there was nothing underhanded or slipshod about David Hewes! Incidentally, while visiting with Mr.
Where the Buffalo No Longer Roamed | History | Smithsonian
Hansen in the Stanford Archives rooms, I was pleased to see on the wall the framed receipted bill of the jewelers for "finishing" the original Golden Spike — the very document which I had uncovered in David Hewes's trunk over 31 years previously. Now I am able to report a new discovery: I had always wondered why the jewelers had billed Hewes's for "finishing" the spike rather than for "making" it. Late in I learned that the mould for the spike was actually made by William T. But back to our spike chronology.
There are at least two likely important dates when Stanford might have wished, or been called on, to exhibit the Golden Spike: Inat the 50th Anniversary Celebration at Promontory. However, thus far a quite considerable research on my part has failed to reveal any mention of the original Golden Spike being displayed or used at either of these events. I have checked the Annual Reports of the President of Stanford University, and all the standard library books about the Exposition, to no avail; but I have not had time to scan through the San Francisco newspapers, or the Salt Lake City and Ogden newspapers.
I would greatly appreciate hearing from anyone who has definite knowledge of this matter, with source references. But the logic of all the considerations involved tells me that when the Stanford authorities either for one of the events or possibilities mentioned above, or for any other purpose or reason including simple curiosity tried to lay their hands on the Golden Spike, it was nowhere to be found — all because of another tremendous date that intervened between andnamely April 18, The destruction wrought at Stanford by the great earthquake in less than a minute that April morning has been thoroughly studied and comprehensively chronicled.
President Jordan, in his monumental autobiography The Days of a Mansums it up with aphoristic brevity: Stanford's pet Museum, the first structure of which architecturally reproduced the Museum at Athens, Greece, had by been added to with "a series of two-story wings that passed around from either side, and meeting behind, enclosed a quadrangular court. Jordan states that the original building, being of reinforced concrete, escaped serious injury, though the collections were promiscuously rattled about, "like peas in a gourd," and many things irreparably smashed; but the extensive additional buildings were "an apparently hopeless wreck!
Mirrielees, in her volume Stanford, the Story of a University, indicate that looting began the very day of the earthquake. Miss Mirrielees writes, "Not all those warned respected the warnings. Ruins had to be roped off as soon as ropes could be found, guards set to prevent the curious from making their way in. Even ropes and guards were not always effective.
Mirrieless herself further "assesses the damage" in the Museum thus: Still others went to whatever storage place could be found. The Museum itself stood closed for years.
But, as a Stanford student, I knew Dr. She was an excellent English teacher, and anything but a sloppy-minded person. She was there that day, she saw what happened, and she would have abhorred any slip of the pen.
So I take it that a fire did break out in the Museum ruins; but it could not have been a very big one, or we would have heard a lot more about it.
Thus, immediately after the earthquake at Stanford, we find the stage perfectly set for the disappearance of the original Golden Spike. In accord with this, as intimated earlier, the period from the earthquake in up to the publication of the Putnam-Hewes book in is the most logical time for the disappearance of the original spike, for the loss to have been discovered, and for the inaccurate substitute to have been made by a person or persons interested in keeping the matter secret and possibly unwilling to consult the one authority, David Hewes, if indeed they knew of him or realized that he was still alive.
Where the Buffalo No Longer Roamed
Furthermore, until more information is vouchsafed the public, either by the Stanford Archives if indeed they have it, or by the Stanford authorities from their inner-sanctum files of letters, accounts, or other records, if they contain anything pertinent, this working hypothesis is based on the best knowledge and logic I command, plus a sincere interest in historical accuracy, and a reverent concern for the authenticity of a great National Treasure.
Never before in the history of our country has a simple object like a railroad spike so captured the popular imagination and won universal recognition as a symbol. For over a century now the Golden Spike has represented the magnificent feat of connecting the West with the East, the Pacific with the Atlantic, by rail. The Golden Spike joined our Nation together at a time when it needed it most — just after it had been nearly broken in two by a great Civil War.
Hence, the true, genuine, original Golden Spike is a National Treasure to be cherished, preserved, and protected. Unfortunately, this has not been done. Then the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad accelerated the decimation of the species. Massive hunting parties began to arrive in the West by train, with thousands of men packing.
Unlike the Native Americans or Buffalo Bill, who killed for food, clothing and shelter, the hunters from the East killed mostly for sport. Native Americans looked on with horror as landscapes and prairies were littered with rotting buffalo carcasses. Hundreds of men aboard the trains climbed to the roofs and took aim, or fired from their windows, leaving countless 1,pound animals where they died. Nearly every railroad train which leaves or arrives at Fort Hays on the Kansas Pacific Railroad has its race with these herds of buffalo; and a most interesting and exciting scene is the result.
Frequently a young bull will turn at bay for a moment. His exhibition of courage is generally his death-warrant, for the whole fire of the train is turned upon him, either killing him or some member of the herd in his immediate vicinity.
Hunters began killing buffalo by the hundreds of thousands in the winter months. One hunter, Orlando Brown brought down nearly 6, buffalo by himself and lost hearing in one ear from the constant firing of his. The Texas legislature, sensing the buffalo were in danger of being wiped out, proposed a bill to protect the species.
And it is a well known fact that an army losing its base of supplies is placed at a great disadvantage. Then your prairies can be covered with speckled cattle.
Wikipedia The devastation of the buffalo population signaled the end of the Indian Wars, and Native Americans were pushed into reservations. By the end of the 19th century, only buffalo were left in the wild. Congress finally took action, outlawing the killing of any birds or animals in Yellowstone National Park, where the only surviving buffalo herd could be protected. Conservationists established more wildlife preserves, and the species slowly rebounded.
Today, there are more thanbison in North America. Sheridan acknowledged the role of the railroad in changing the face of the American West, and in his Annual Report of the General of the U.
Army inhe acknowledged that the Native Americans were scuttled to reservations with no compensation beyond the promise of religious instruction and basic supplies of food and clothing—promises, he wrote, which were never fulfilled. Could any one expect less? Then, why wonder at Indian difficulties? Annual Report of the General of the U. Angevine, The Railroad and the State: