Sunday, May 08, 2022

Fake news, May 8, 1869 (Transcontinental railroad completed today; oops! Just kidding!)

[An embarassing shoddy journalistic eyewitness account of the future, evidently written ahead of time;
Oops! – Cancelled! – So sorry!  Emphasis in red added.]

New York Herald  Monday, May 10, 1869


The Pacific Railroad

Celebration of the completion of the road in California — a gala day in San Francisco and Sacramento — general rejoicings and jubilations — why the roads were not joined.

San Francisco, May 8, 1869

The Pacific Railroad celebration to-day was to be remembered for all time in San Francisco. The day was ushered in by a salute of 10 guns. All the federal forts of the harbor fired a salute, the city bells were rung and the steam whistles blown. All night the whole city was illuminated and presented a brilliant appearance. The procession was the largest and most enthusiastic ever witnessed in San Francisco. The people were eager and willing to observe an event of so much importance to this day and the Pacific coast, and turned out en masse. Business was generally suspended. Nearly every citizen exhibited a hearty interest in the demonstration. The military and civic display was grand. In addition to the state military all the available United States troops from the several forts here participated on the occasion, while the civic societies turned out with full ranks.

The city and harbor presented a magnificent site. During the day the principal buildings were draped with the banners of every nation and the streets were thronged with an excited and joyous people. The shipping was dressed in fine style.

The dispatch from the junction of the road announcing the driving of the last spike of the Central Pacific Road at 1:00 A. M.[sic] sent a thrill through the city. Congratulatory messages were transmitted to the directors of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific roads by the California pioneers.

At Sacramento the event was celebrated in a grand and enthusiastic manner. The city was crowded with a multitude of people from all parts of the state and Nevada. The Grand Lodge of the Odd Fellows, in session in the city, accepted an invitation to attend the Sacramento demonstration, and lodges from Nevada, Grass Valley, Vallejo, San Francisco, Placerville, San Jose, Maryville, and Virginia City and Gold Hill, Nevada were also in attendance. The lanes of travel to and from Sacramento were thrown open to the public free and immense numbers of people took advantage of the circumstance and flocked hither. The Central Pacific Company has 30 locomotives gaily decked and arange in front of the city, and as the signal gun was fired announcing the driving of the last spike of the road the locomotives opened a chorus of whistles, and all the bells and steam whistles in the city joined in.

Profound regret is expressed because the roads were not joined today.

Dispatches from Promontory say that several hundred men had seized a train at Piedmont on which was President Durant, telling him they were hungry and must have their money, and that they would detain him until it was forthcoming. The non-arrival of Mr. Durant is alleged to be the principal cause for postponing the ceremony of joining the roads until Monday next.

Golden Spike Ceremony by A.J. Russell
'Imperial' (10" x 13") photo of the actual ceremony on May 10th at Promontory Summit:
"Golden Spike Ceremony with Flag and Camera, Promontory Point, Utah, May 10, 1869" by Andrew J. Russell.
A.J. Russell's Glass Plate Negatives are at the Oakland Museum of California.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The same article also appears in the Boston Daily Advertiser (MA) dated May 10, 1869.

12/15/2023 11:53 AM  

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