Sac History Happenings

News and developments in Sacramento and California history

September 24, 2012
Transcontinental railroad turns 150

LincDodgeLR.jpgIn celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 that authorized the transcontinental railroad, the California State Railroad Museum will unveil a new exhibit documenting the history of the Union Pacific, beginning with Abraham Lincoln's initial support of the national project and its construction, through wars, disasters and expansion up to the present.

On display will be photos, maps, artifacts and memorabilia, including: a souvenir gold album locket containing a picture of Lincoln during his presidential campaign; railroad advertising, posters and marketing materials; large "drum-head" signs that once "brought up the rear" of famous passenger trains; photos of railroad workers building the Transcontinental Railroad; and the iconic Union Pacific logo as it changed over time.

In addition to the debut of the exhibit Union Pacific is hosting a two-day celebration this weekend in Old Sacramento. Visitors will be treated to a tour of the "Living Legend" No. 844 steam locomotive and a chance to see the vintage 1960s Promontory baggage car and other historic passenger cars and equipment. Plus there will be free rides on the Sacramento Southern excursion train and UP's 956 miniature train. And for just this weekend, the Railroad Museum and Sacramento History Museum will offer free admission.

Also check out the UP 150 Anniversary website which includes an extensive timeline, employee stories and historic advertisements.

What: "Building America: Abraham Lincoln, California and the Union Pacific Railroad" Exhibit
Where: California State Railroad Museum, Old Sacramento State Historic Park
When: Sept. 29 through Aug. 2013
Cost: $10 adults; $5 youths ages 6-17; free for children ages 5 and under. Free museum admission on Sept. 29 & 30.
For more info: 916-445-6645 or website

News release for the CSRM exhibit
News release for the Union Pacific celebration

PHOTO CREDIT: C. Everett Johnson's painting of Gen. Grenville Dodge and Abraham Lincoln considering routes for the transcontinental railroad, Aug. 1859.

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About Sac History Happenings

California and Sacramento have a long, rich, vibrant history. And our region is blessed with an abundance of historical resources maintained by museums, libraries, archives and societies. This blog aims to alert readers to the latest developments in local/state historical education and research.

Send tips concerning upcoming exhibits, tours, lectures and meetings, as well as new books, magazine articles and online collections to the blog's contributors.

The Contributors:

Michael Dolgushkin

Michael Dolgushkin is Manuscript Librarian at the California State Library History Section. He is co-author of San Francisco's California Street Cable Cars and is a frequent contributor to the California State Library Foundation Bulletin. Contact him at

Amanda Graham

Amanda Graham is a Certified Archivist working in the Sacramento Room of the Sacramento Public Library. She earned a BS in History from Southern Oregon University and a MS in Information Studies with an emphasis in archives from The University of Texas at Austin. Contact her at

Pete basofin

Pete Basofin is Director of Editorial Research at The Sacramento Bee. He previously worked at The St. Petersburg Times and Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune. Contact him at

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