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150th Anniversary of Transcontinental Railroad US Forever Stamp

Posted by Andy L. on

150th Anniversary of Transcontinental Railroad
President Abraham Lincoln promoted the railroad during the Civil War as a way of binding the nation. The Central Pacific Railroad Co. built the western portion of the railroad starting from Sacramento, CA. The Union Pacific Railroad Co. built the eastern section beginning from Omaha, NE. Both companies employed many workers at a time when roadbeds had to be dug and tunnels excavated without the benefit of machines.

A large workforce — primarily Chinese and Irish immigrants — carried out most of the backbreaking and often dangerous work that made the achievement possible. The workforce, totaling more than 20,000 at its peak, also included German and Italian immigrants and some African Americans. Thousands of Mormon workers helped make the final push across Utah.

The completed railroad covered nearly 1,800 miles and reduced travel time across the country, from as long as six months to about a week. By easing the movement of goods and people across the country, the transcontinental railroad made the American West an integral part of the nation.

The completion was marked by the Golden Spike Ceremony, held on May 10, 1869, when rail lines were joined at Promontory Summit, north of the Great Salt Lake in Utah.

Transcontinental Railroad Forever Stamps
Photographs of replicas of the two locomotives at the Golden Spike National Historic Site were used as visual references for the stamp artwork. Separate stamps feature the Jupiter and the No. 119 locomotives that powered the trains carrying the officers and guests of the two train companies to the Golden Spike Ceremony. Centered between them, a third stamp portrays the famous golden spike that was a prominent part of the ceremony.

Michael J. Deas illustrated the Jupiter and No. 119 stamps using traditional, 19th-century oil painting techniques. Kevin Cantrell illustrated the stamp depicting the ceremonial golden spike and did the border treatments and typography for all three stamps. Each of the stamps and the header feature gold-foiled highlights that produce a glimmering effect. The text Jupiter, No. 119, and FOREVER USA are in Brothers font by Emigre, Inc. Brothers is a trademark of Emigre, Inc. 2019 ©Emigre.

Art director Greg Breeding designed the issuance.

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