Golden Spike 150! Re-enactors from the Golden Spike National Historical Park pose for a "Champagne Photo" at the conclusion of their historic re-enactment of the Last Spike Ceremony, at Promontory Summit, of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.
Without a doubt, the vast majority of the rail photographers who attended the Spike 150 ceremonies at Promontory Summit would likely tell you they came here for the "Champagne Photo"....a re-enactment of the iconic Andrew J. Russell photo, depicting the Chief Engineers of the two railroads, shaking hands in front of the two locomotives, with the engine crews and scores of railroad workers looking on. Unfortunately, with all of the speeches and presentations that were planned for the "Spike 150" event, it was pretty clear early on that this was not going to happen. A stage had been erected in front of the last spike location, and on the May 10th anniversary, that stage was crowded with an orchestra, a children's choir and all manner of TV equipment, including a huge boom camera. Those looking for a "Champagne Photo" on the 10th likely left disappointed. But on the following day, the situation was a tad more conducive to photography. Gone was the orchestra, the choir and all of the crazy media and their equipment. There were still probably 10,000 spectators, but the atmosphere was much more relaxed. When the morning edition of the re-enactment was completed, many of the folks who were in period dress were called forward to participate in a quick photo op, which you see here. It wasn't exactly the photo we were all looking for, but it sure beat anything we could have gotten the day before. My one regret is that some of the Chinese, Irish, Mormon, African American and Native American re-enactors who had been there the previous day, were not in attendance this morning. The 2019 ceremonies had focused heavily on telling the stories of the key players who did NOT appear in the 1869 Russell photo. It would have been pretty cool to include them in the 2019 rendition of the "Champagne Photo." Perhaps we can do that some day with a photo charter at the park.