Just South of Idaho is a Testament to American Exceptionalism
Precisely 100 years separate the driving of the golden spike at Promontory Point and the first men landing on the moon. There are people who could’ve lived long enough to witness both events. Not far from where the transcontinental railroad united east and west is a park where Northrop Grumman has put some of its finest space technology on display. Both sites are within two hours and a fifteen-minute drive from Twin Falls.
When the effort began to connect the railroads east and west, the Civil War was still raging, and the outcome remained in doubt. At the war’s end, General William Sherman inspected construction going west and predicted it wouldn’t be finished during his lifetime. Four years later, the work was complete and Sherman lived for another two decades. Can you imagine how the work would progress today with all three and four letter government agencies overseeing the effort?
A great many men died laying track and hammering through rock formations. Still, the great technological booms in our history have generally benefitted from a reduction in government interference. The computer revolution of the 80s and 90s got its start alongside the Reagan Revolution.
I admit to being a little disappointed in the railroad display. The museum is small and as I was trying to get to the re-enactment of the hammering of the final spike, a ranger was chatting away about my visit and curious about what I was going to write. The plus is that people in the area always seem friendly.
One museum display says the golden spike is now housed at Stanford University. A few years ago, I visited the railroad museum in Ogden and thought it was contained there in a safe. Perhaps my memory fades.
Nonetheless, my visit was the culmination of a long wait and desire. The so-called pandemic delayed my visit by more than a couple of years.