Transcontinental Railroad to Utah

Helen's Memoirs

We took the train from Oakland, and the first stop was Salt Lake City where we spent two days at the Townsend House, the best Hotel there


The train that carried the family east was part of the two year old Transcontinental Railroad. This rail system connected east coast to west with a single rail line on May 10, 1869 at Promontory Point, Utah. The journey between San Francisco and New York that had taken over six months could now take only a week and travelers rode in relative comfort. Imagine the sights that Laura and Prescott may have seen from their train windows!

When Laura and her family arrived in Salt Lake City, they went to the Townsend House on South West Temple Street. Built in 1869, it was the city's finest hotel in its day. Prior to electricity, its interior was lit with oil lamps, most likely from whales.

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image of first_trans_train

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