November 1, 2019 – April 25, 2020
Book cover for After Promontory featuring Cape Horn Near Celilo by Carleton Watkins, 1867, Oregon Historical Society ORHI65695.
After Promontory: 150 Years of Transcontinental Railroading
ON MAY 10, 1869, TWO RAILROADS 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.
The exhibition features photographs by some of the most accomplished photographers in the nation’s history, artists such as William Henry Jackson, Timothy H. O’Sullivan, and Carleton E. Watkins. These images illustrate how railroads profoundly reshaped the human geography of the West.