Laying track across America
Winchester shares story of transcontinental railroad
Brett Barker will present “Nothing Like It in the World: The Epic Saga of the Transcontinental Railroad” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 24, at the Waupaca Area Public Library.
Sponsored by Winchester Academy, Barker’s program is free and open to the public.
The building of the first transcontinental railroad, linking the Pacific coast with the Midwest, required laying track over 2,000 miles of rugged terrain, including mountains of solid granite.
Barker will explain the design and conception of the railroad, its shaky beginning during the Civil War, and the more than five-year struggle to complete it.
The first spikes were driven in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, and on May 10, 1869, at Promontory Summit, Utah, a golden spike was hammered into the final tie.
Thousands of workers, including Irish and German immigrants, former Union and Confederate soldiers, freed slaves and Chinese immigrants played a part in the construction. From railroad magnate to ordinary worker, the human dimension of the story will be Barker’s focus.
Barker is an associate professor of history at University of Wisconsin-Marathon County, where he has taught since 2002. He received his doctorate in history from UW-Madison and currently serves on the board of directors of the Marathon County Historical Society.
Winchester Academy is funded through sponsors and tax-deductible donations.
Barker’s presentation is sponsored by Mary Ellen Boario.
For more information about Winchester Academy, check winchesteracademywaupaca.org, follow on Facebook, or contact Executive Director Ann Buerger Linden at 715-258-2927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.