Thursday, September 08, 2011

Golden Spike

President Harding came to Alaska in 1923 and one of his events here was driving in the golden spike that completed the Alaskan Railroad!
On a hot and sunny day at North Nenana, Alaska Terrirotial Governor Scott Bone inserted the spike into the rail. President Warren G. Harding missed the spike twice and then drove it home to officially complete the construction of the Alaska Railroad.

Equipment used to transport the party included a baggage car, business car B-1, coach (smoker), the sleepers "Fairbanks," "Talkeetna," and "Anchorage," compartment observation car "Kenai," diner "McKinley Park," and compartment observation car "Denali."

Charles Ross, who had been present at the ceremony, and later Harry Truman's press secretary, recalls his most vivid memory. Admiral Hugh Rodman, as an expert on Alaska's climate, had advised the reporters to outfit themselves in heavy shirts, heavy underwear, sweaters, galoshes, and leggings to protect against the cold and mosquitoes. Nenana was hot and there were no mosquitoes. The next day in Fairbanks, Harding made a speech at the local baseball park where the temperature was 95 degrees. Three people collapsed from heat prostration. Ross notes in his diary that the wearers of heavy underwear threatened reprisals against Rodman.

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