I tried to think of another headline for this, I really did. But I couldn’t come up with anything so apt. I have never actually heard that phrase said in its intended setting, while boarding a train. But in 1896, it was a common phrase, called out when things were going to start moving. Back then, trains were the connective tissue of the world, the quickest way to get to Point A from Point B. And few events were as momentous in railroad history as the driving of the Golden Spike at Promontory Point in Utah, 150 years ago.
Utah is celebrating that event all year long with events in every county and in most towns. For this issue of Salt Lake magazine, I read all about the Golden Spike and 19th-century railroads, interviewed historians, locomotive mechanics and event planners—the resulting story surprised me. Yes, railroads built this country, but history has gilded the story. The truth is something more interesting and heart-wrenching.
Our train nostalgia inspires another kind of Old West homage—with cowboy boots and flounces, fashion is also experiencing a Western revival.
Our state’s connection to its past is strong, but we are also pushing hard into the future. The rise of Silicon Slopes—in Utah—surprised the country. Writer Jeremy Pugh takes us into a tech culture that goes back as far as 1954 (really) and has evolved into a tech boom that, much like the railroad 150 years ago, is putting Utah at the center of the map. Only this time, instead of steel and iron it’s a network of data and ideas that don’t just connect the nation, they connect the world.
We are essentially a magazine devoted to a place, Utah, then, now and always. And like the railroad and the internet, our purpose is to connect. So in this issue, we bring together the Old West with the New West, with stories about new tech and old tech; the West as it was and the West as it is today. Call it our own Golden Spike.
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