Join us for the opening reception for these exhibits on Thursday, November 21, 5-7pm!
*Galleries are closed except by appointment through October 31.
150 Years of Transcontinental Railroading
Book cover for After Promontory featuring Cape Horn Near Celilo by Carleton Watkins, 1867, Oregon Historical Society ORHI65695.
ON MAY 10, 1869, TWO RAILROADS—built with haste, hope, and aspiration—joined in a lonely desert of northern Utah, at a place called Promontory. On that day, dignitaries from both companies—the Central Pacific, which had built from California, and the Union Pacific, which had built from the east—gave speeches and installed ceremonial last spikes.
To mark the 150th anniversary of the beginning of this era, the Center for Railroad Photography & Art (Madison, WI) launched a special project, After Promontory: 150 Years of Transcontinental Railroading. This initiative includes a traveling exhibition that examines the significance and lasting impact of the transcontinental railroads on the American West. The AHC is currently the only venue in Oregon where the exhibit will be shown.
After Promontory considers the events at Promontory to be the start of a larger phenomenon, an entire era of transcontinental railroad construction that stretched for nearly fifty years. At its core is the assertion that, collectively, the transcontinental railroads profoundly reshaped the human geography of the West, giving birth to the region we recognize today.