Arts & Humanities

A Monumental Experience: Golden Spike Tour Visits USU

Utah has many proud histories, including being home to Promontory Point, the location of the last spike that joined the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads to form America’s first transcontinental railroad 150 years ago.

The 43-foot Golden Spike is a public art piece celebrating this unification. It will be visiting Utah State University campus on April 30.

The spike will be parked in the USU parking lot south of the Logan Cemetery and north of the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education. It will be open to visitors from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In conjunction, Doug Foxley, Ross Peterson and Darren Parry will lead a discussion, “Behind the Scenes of the Golden Spike Monument,” from 12:30 - 1:30 PM. They will share stories about their experiences with the foundation and visits to the artist's studio during the making of the Golden Spike Monument. This event will be in the USU Sorensen Center for Clinical Excellence, Room 150.

The Golden Spike monument stands at 43.3 feet, is adorned in gold leaf, and weighs about 8,000 pounds. The monument and events focus on telling the complete story of the railroad’s construction by recognizing and honoring the thousands of workers whose back-breaking efforts, sacrifices, and ingenuity made the railroad a reality.

Before the Spike 150 celebration, their stories had gone untold, their contributions glossed over, and their faces not shown. One side of the monument acknowledges the impact that the railroad had on both the environment and the Native American people, whose land the railroad crossed. The railroad forever changed the landscape and the lives of those who were displaced.

“The purpose of the Golden Spike Monument is to educate and inspire people to learn from the past and honor the memory of the thousands of workers who built the transcontinental railroad,” said Doug Foxley, chair of the Golden Spike Foundation, which commissioned the piece. “This journey west is especially important in helping us tell the story of the thousands of Chinese workers that faced so many difficulties building the railroad through the rugged mountains.”

The Golden Spike will travel through Western states such as Utah, Nevada and California. Following the tour, the Golden Spike Monument will be installed in Brigham City on an 8-acre park purchased by the city. The park will be known as the Golden Spike State Monument.

The Golden Spike Foundation, a Utah-based nonprofit, continues to inspire people to learn from the past and honor the memory of the railroad workers through a series of legacy public art and educational outreach. This foundation embraces the idea that telling stories through public art is an accessible means of creating a lasting narrative.

For more information, visit or contact Cindy Gubler, 801-971-5639.

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