The Golden Spike, Winchester. And Two Historic Rifles.


1869 - 2019 -- The 150th Anniversary of the Joining of the Rails at Promontory, Utah.

On May 10, 1869, on a dusty, sage-covered plain at Promontory, Utah Territory . . .

1869 celebration at Promontory, Utah
This is an original photo taken at the 1869 celebration at Promontory, Utah. At the time of this photo, Oliver Winchester was working hard in New Haven, Connecticut, at the beginning of building his firearms empire. But his revolutionary 1866 rifle had accompanied the building of the railroad every step of the way. The meeting of the rails is just north of Ogden, Utah, the pioneer home of John Moses Browning who was 14 years old at the time, going to school, working in his father's shop and gaining the experience that just a few years later would result in the design of what soon became the Winchester 1885 Single Shot followed by the game-changing Winchester Model 1886 lever action. This was a start to a life of inventing for Winchester that would set him on the path to becoming the greatest gun designer the world has ever known. Photo in the public domain.

On May 10, 1869, on a dusty, sage-covered plain at Promontory, Utah Territory, America was finally joined from sea to shining sea by a golden spike and two ribbons of steel. It launched an era of westward expansion and settlement that has never been equaled. Lever-action rifles were important tools of that bygone era and one of the most popular was the Winchester Model 1866, the legendary brass-framed “Yellow Boy.” Another was the Winchester Model 1873, known as the “Gun That Won the West.” The Model 1866 was a legendary participant in the building of the transcontinental railroad. And with the accessibility offered by the new railroad, the Model 1873 became indispensable to many farmers, ranchers, and other settlers who began moving West in huge numbers. 

TWO HISTORIC WINCHESTER RIFLES. To celebrate this historic milestone in American history Winchester Repeating Arms has created a special pair of Model 1866 (sold out) and Model 1873 rifles (limited numbers still available). These rifles are limited editions and no more than 150 of each gun will be produced. They have magnificently engraved receivers and special 150th-anniversary barrel markings. A one-ounce fine silver medallion designed by the artisan jewelers O. C. Tanner depicting the joining of the rails at Promontory is set into their stunning checkered walnut stocks.

BUY THROUGH SPORTSMAN'S WAREHOUSE. These stunning Winchester limited edition rifles are exclusively available through Sportsman’s Warehouse. Please check with your local Sportsman's Warehouse retailer or go online to to order your piece of American railroad and firearm history.

Golden Spike National Historic Park
Golden Spike National Historic Park -- the meeting of the rails. NPS photo.

A GREAT WEEK FOR OGDEN, UTAH. The 119 and the Jupiter, the two famed locomotives that joined the continent, were at all the events at the Golden Spike National Historic Park the week of May 10th, reenacting this important event in the history of the United States. 

As part of the celebration of the driving of the golden spike, two giant Union Pacific steam locomotives, the Living Legend No. 844 and the Big Boy No. 4014 rumbled right by Winchester Repeating Arms’ Utah headquarters just prior to the celebrations.

The World's Biggest Steam Engine passes by our offices on the way to the 150th Golden Spike Celebration.

THE BIG BOY. The huge steam engines arrived at Ogden’s Union Station on May 8 and the following morning at 10:30 AM the two locomotives met nose-to-nose in homage to the iconic image taken at Promontory Summit, Utah when the first transcontinental railroad was completed 150 years ago. The Jupiter and the 119 locomotives were the actual locomotives that met in 1869 and restorations of the two engines are still working and on display at the National Historic Park. You don't want to get these locomotives mixed up. The Big Boy was built in the 1940s to move huge trains through the steep grade of Echo Canyon, Utah during WWII. It dwarfs the tiny 119 and Jupiter locomotives. 

(Video shown is a link from YouTube and is not a production of Winchester Repeating Arms.)

Copyright Winchester Repeating Arms, 2019. Photos property of Winchester Repeating Arms, in the public domain or used with permission. Bringing the Big Boy Back to Life video is a link only, and is the property of Union Pacific railroad (link from YouTube).