The Postal Service celebrated the 150th anniversary of the nation’s first cross-country railroad during its latest stamp dedication ceremony last week.
The Transcontinental Railroad stamp event was held May 10 at the Golden Spike National Historic Park in Promontory Summit, UT.
“Building the Transcontinental Railroad was one of the great achievements of the 19th century,” said Salt Lake City District Manager Mike Mirides, who led the ceremony. “The three distinct designs of the Transcontinental Railroad Forever stamps evoke the spirit of that era.”
A combination of two different lines, the completed Transcontinental Railroad covered almost 1,800 miles and reduced travel time across the country from as long as six months to approximately one week.
The Central Pacific Railroad Co. built the western portion of the railroad starting from Sacramento, CA. The Union Pacific Railroad Co. built the eastern section starting from Omaha, NE. President Abraham Lincoln promoted the railroad during the Civil War as a way of joining the nation.
Completion of the railroad was marked by the “golden spike ceremony,” held May 10, 1869, when the rail lines were joined together at Promontory Summit, north of the Great Salt Lake in Utah.
The stamps, available at Post Offices and usps.com, feature the Jupiter and No. 119 locomotives bordering the famous golden spike that was part of the ceremony.
Thousands of people, including stamp and railroad enthusiasts from across the nation, filled the USPS retail tent on the day of the dedication ceremony last week to buy the stamps and receive a special postmark.
Denise Haerr, who traveled from South Lake Tahoe, NV, was one of the customers.
“I’m a history buff, letter writer, lover of stamps,” Haerr told the Standard-Examiner newspaper. “I’m a lover of the U.S. Postal Service.”