Transcontinental Railroad 150th Anniversary

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Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad

2019 marks the sesquicentennial of one of the most pivotal events and achievements in the history of the United States, the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. Join us to commemorate this monumental occasion with events, activities, exhibits, and more throughout April, May & June.

April 2019

New Exhibits

To commemorate this historic occasion, the California State Railroad Museum has developed and updated exciting new exhibits. In April come experience our new exhibits and learn more about the Transcontinental Railroad.

Theodore Judah was the first engineer to systematically explore the western Sierra Nevada Mountains and map the route of the Central Pacific Railroad. This is the first time the 66’ map from California State Archives has been on public display in its entirety.

On display April 15 through May 31, 2019.

Events

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Gold Spike Lecture Series

April - September

The Sacramento History Museum – in partnership with the California State Railroad Museum, Center for Sacramento History and the Crocker Art Museum – is proud to present the Gold Spike Lecture Series that will take place April-September 2019.

Earmarked by an exciting line-up of guest speakers and a variety of compelling topics, the lectures and book signing events will take place at various local museums. Purchase tickets.

Img 1090 Up Experience

Experience the Union Pacific Rail Car

April 19-22, 2019

You're invited to Experience the Union Pacific Rail Car that will be on display Friday, April 19 - Monday, April 22. Free public tours will be available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. inside the visually-exciting rail car on display at Old Sacramento State Historic Park. To complete your visit, hop aboard the an excursion train ride along the Sacramento Southern Railroad. Purchase tickets for a Friday, Saturday or Sunday train ride.

Heritage Event

Heritage Rail Conference in Sacramento

April 25–27, 2019

A gathering of railroad historians and supporters from throughout North America will help kick off the anniversary. Information on events open to the public to follow.

May 2019

Parade Ses Event

Sesquicentennial Community Day

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Free outdoor festivities start at 10 a.m. at the Old Sacramento State Historic Park. School groups and the general public are invited to celebrate!

  • Historic re-creation of the parade that took place on May 8, 1869.
  • Complimentary rides aboard the Sacramento Southern Railroad throughout the day.
  • Transcontinental Railroad melodrama playing in the historic Eagle Theatre.
  • Handcar rides, offering a hands-on experience in the safe operation of the most basic railroad equipment.
  • Community Picnic on 1849 Scene (Front Street, between I & J Streets) featuring:
    • Docents and historians will be available to tell stories of the Transcontinental Railroad.
    • Live music.
  • Cap off the day with an 1869 themed happy hour at participating restaurants and bars throughout Downtown and Old Sacramento Waterfront featuring railroad themed eats and drinks where it all began 150 years ago.
  • Getting Here:
    Take SacRT to Sesquicentennial Community Day for free! Visit the link below, print the flyer and present it when you board RT on May 8th. http://www.sacrt.com/apps/wp-content/uploads/150-Transcontinental-Anniversary-2.pdf

The Quest for the Gold Spike Melodrama

Poster Images Web

A melodrama created to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Join Mei Ling as she journeys to a dream world. She travels back in time to a shadowy, unknown world where she meets some of the historic individuals who helped build the nation's first Transcontinental Railroad: Theodore Judah, The Big Four and Chinese railroad workers. Mei Ling learns important lessons from each of them; ultimately, they help her to overcome her fears and accomplish the “impossible.

Performances
  • Wednesday, May 8 & 9, 1 p.m.
  • Friday, May 10, 17, 24, 1 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday, May 11-12, 18-19, 25-26, 1 & 3 p.m.
Location

Eagle Theatre in the Old Sacramento State Historic Park in Old Sacramento

Free to the public.

Limited seating. First come, first served.

Dinnerparty Ses Event

Sesquicentennial Gala benefiting the California State Railroad Museum Foundation

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Join us as we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad. Enjoy an evening of dinner, dancing and a private walk through one of the most foundational and influential moments in the history and growth of our young country.

  • Cocktails begin at 6 p.m.
  • Dinner at 7 p.m.
  • Black tie optional.

More information

Click here to become a Gala Sponsor.

Memorial Day Event

Waterfront Days – An Old Sacramento Heritage Event

May 24-26, 2019

Come visit on Memorial Day weekend for three days of engaging, educational festival fun. Education day is Friday. Festival days are Saturday & Sunday.

2019
The 150th Celebration continues throughout the Region!

Our friends are joining in on the fun

Keep an eye out for food and drink specials at our favorite bars and restaurants throughout Midtown, Downtown and Old Sacramento Waterfront.

California Automobile Museum

A special one-month display will be at the Museum in May 2019, highlighting how locomotives and railroads influenced the design of passenger automobiles and roadways.

Center for Sacramento History

Open now - October 2019: The Sacramento Shops, a new exhibit showcases the work done at the railyards including engineering plans drawn by hand and images capturing the assembly of massive "iron horses." The exhibit documents how Sacramentans played a leading role in spanning the continent with iron rails.

Crocker Art Museum

All Aboard! Crocker Art Museum hosts a free community festival on Sunday, June 23, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. celebrating the Transcontinental Railroad’s 150th anniversary with live music and dance performances, story-telling, and hands-on activities that honor the people and cultures who helped build and shape the West we live in today. This special event will open the exhibition The Race to Promontory: The Transcontinental Railroad and the American West, a show of 40 photographs and stereographs documenting the railroad’s arduous construction and moments of completion on view from June 23 – September 29, 2019.

Locke Boarding House Museum

Open now through March 2019 - two new exhibits featuring the contributions of Chinese workers who helped build the Transcontinental Railroad with some artifacts provided by the California State Railroad Museum.

Roseville Historical Society

The Roseville Historical Society will host a new display, The Rail of Two Cities, by the Model Railroad Club. The display depicts the Transcontinental Railroad as it went through Rocklin and Roseville in 1869. The display will be revealed Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Carnegie Museum in Old Town Roseville.

Roseville Utility Exploration Center

During the month of May 2019, the Center will celebrate Roseville’s rich railroad history with a photo display highlighting how the railroad influenced the growth of the City. Railroad-themed interactive activities will also be featured at the Center in May.

Sacramento History Museum

The Sacramento History Museum – in partnership with the California State Railroad Museum, Center for Sacramento History and the Crocker Art Museum – is proud to present the Gold Spike Lecture Series that will take place April-September 2019. Earmarked by an exciting line-up of guest speakers and a variety of compelling topics, the lectures and book signing events will take place at various local museums.

Sacramento Historic City Cemetery

A guided walking tour will give guests a glimpse of those connected to the Transcontinental Railroad who are buried in this historic city cemetery.

SSVMS Museum of Medical History

An exhibit dedicated to the history of Railroad Hospitals and Physicians will start on February 1 and continue through August 30, 2019.

UC Davis Library, Special Collections

The All Aboard: Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad exhibition utilizes materials from Special Collections. Learn how the railroad influenced the selection of Davis as the home of the University Farm (now UC Davis), the growth of California agriculture, and the promotion of the state to tourists and settlers. Visitors are welcome to take home a free souvenir postcard of the Southern Pacific Depot (Davis train station) as it appeared in 1944.

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