SD&AE Celebrates 50th Year
JOHN D. SPRECKELS is seen in the center of this photo of the spike-driving ceremony. The crowd, consisted of the first 580 San Diegans to buy tickets at $7.50 each. - Historical Collection, Title Ins. & Trust Co.
On November 15, 1919, San Diego financier John D. Spreckles drove the golden spike which signified the completlon of the San Diego & Arizona (Eastern) railroad and connected San Diego with the Southern Pacific and points east. The railroad, which took over 12 years to complete, remains to this day one of the engineering marvels of the nation. A complete history of the construction of the "Impossible Railroad" appears in the November, 1969 issue of Pacific News under the byline of museum member Bob DiGiorgio. To help celebrate the anniversary of the golden spike we're reprinting here a few of the articles which appeared in the San Diego newspapers when the rail link east was completed.
San Diego Union, November 10, 1919
TICKETS FOR DRIVING CEREMONY SELLING RAPIDLY
Step lively and avoid the rush! Tickets for the golden spike-driving in the Carisso Gorge to mark the actual physical completion of the San Diego & Arizona Railway were selling fast yesterday at the Chamber of Commerce celebration headquarters, 101 Broadway, and those who want to make the trip next Saturday had better hurry.
The big special train will leave San Diego for the gorge at 7:45 a.m. and will return to San Diego at 6:00 the same evening. Tickets for the round trip, to be had at 101 Broadway, Spreckles building, are $7.50 each. They include lunch, which will be served by the Committee at Jacumba.
San Diego Evening Tribune, November 15, 1919
SIX HUNDRED JOYOUS SAN DIEGANS SEE LAST LINK IN LINE JOINED
"Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here," played the steam calliope attachment of the San Diego & Arizona locomotive this morning, and the whole city heard the music through the crisp morning air.
Then someone shouted, "Com' on, we're going out to nail this transcontinental railroad in place," and the calliope played "Merrily We Roll Along," while the wheels turned and the 10-coach San Diego & Arizona excursion train pulled out from Union Depot for the golden spike driving ceremony.
President John D. Spreckles stood in the rear of his private car "Coronado" at the end of the vanishing train, looking out upon the crowd left behind at the station. This afternoon, in Carisso gorge, he lifted a workman's maul and drove home the golden spike that finished construction of his railroad.
"Last Spike Driven, San Diego and Arizona Railway Co. Carisso Gorge, Nov. 15, 1919" read the inscription on one side of the golden spike, and on the reverse is "Spike Driven by Mr. John D. Spreckles, President."
Nearly 600 passengers were aboard the train, it was estimated. Belated rush for tickets yesterday afternoon sent the sales to 580, and an extra coach was provided.
THE GOLDEN SPIKE SPECIAL was pulled by Consolidation #102. The three highest-pitched whistles of the "steam calliope attachment" can be seen on top of the cab. -Historical Collection, Title Ins. & Trust Co.