Chinese Americans on Plum Alley and on the West Side

Salt Lake West Side Stories: Post Twenty-ThreeBy Brad Westwood Chinese immigrants were the largest group of laborers working on the Central Pacific Railroad (CPR). Commencing in Sacramento and ending at Promontory Summit, Utah, Chinese immigrants made the completion of America’s Transcontinental Railroad possible. Initially, the contractors for the Central Pacific Railway cautiously hired Chinese laborers to supplement white most Irish …

Utah’s Expanding Railroads and Salt Lake’s West Side

Salt Lake West Side Stories: Post Nineby Brad Westwood The completion of the world’s first transcontinental railroad in 1869 dramatically affected the social, political, economic, and cultural life of Salt Lake City, the Territory of Utah and the American West. Transportation was one aspect that contributed to changes in the West. The railroad cut travel time from the Pacific to …

Utah Locomotive Atlas

By Michelle James | Illustrations by Kerry Shaw Visiting the Golden Spike National Historic Park is a great way to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the meeting of the Union and Central Pacific railroads. It’s also a great launch pad for an exploration of Utah’s dynamic railroad history, which can include historic depots, exhibits of old streetcars, firsthand looks at …

Poet Paisley Rekdal along the Transcontinental Railroad grade.

In real time: Progress of a (railroad) poem

With sly wit, Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal has been commenting on social media throughout the year she was researching and writing “West,” a book-length poem about the Transcontinental Railroad. Jan. 20, 2018: “This week has been a series of some of the odder requests/assignments: writing for the Journal of Military History, poem solicitation for pamphlet on spiritual practices, a …

Abraham Lincoln and the Transcontinental Railroad

On July 1, 1862 after decades of US congressional debate and disagreement on a Transcontinental Railroad and an appropriate route the road should take, President Lincoln brought the debate to a close and brought the enterprise to life, all with a stroke of his pen. On July 1, 1862, one year into America’s bloody Civil War, President Lincoln signed into …

Art preview: The epic reach of ‘Transcontinental’

With every viewing, the range of artworks keeps surprising me in “Transcontinental: People, Place, Impact,” the new Rio Gallery exhibition. By range, I’m referring to such contrasts as the printed stories and creative railroad interactivity of Stefanie Dykes and Amie Tullius’ well-travelled “Train Tracts,” paired with Gregg Deal’s “The Divinity of Inanimate Objects Omit their Sins,” a vivid collage painting …

Meet the Utah writer creating art from railroad history

In the voices of the ambitious “West,” Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal is writing a soundtrack to a distinctively American story. By Ellen Fagg Weist | Photography by Austen Diamond If you know where to look, the ghosts of Chinese workers appear everywhere on Utah’s Transcontinental Railroad byway. On a warm November morning, I’m standing with poet Paisley Rekdal in …