When the railroad came to Cheyenne, the Army also came and established Fort D.A. Russell in order to protect the UP's workers. The threat of Indian attacks was real then as Southeastern Wyoming was the traditional hunting grounds of the Sioux and the Cheyenne, and they were outraged at the encroachment of the Iron Horse and all that came with it. As the UP construction crews reached the summit of the Laramie Mountains to build Sherman Station, the news traveled around the world. Congratulations poured in, because at over 8,000 feet above sea level, this was the highest point on the entire transcontinental railroad route.
The UP faced its greatest natural obstacle about three miles west of Sherman. Over geologic time, Dale Creek had cut an almost perpendicular gorge measuring about 150 feet deep and 650 feet across. In 1867-1868, workers built a wooden trestle across the chasm. The Dale Creek Trestle was the highest and most dangerous crossing on the UP line, and the highest railway bridge in the world at the time.
Construction took 2,580 ties, 352 rails, 5,500 spikes, 704 fishplates, and 1,408 bolts to complete one mile of track. Multiply this by 1,800 to understand the enormity of it all. Simply put, the building of the Transcontinental Railroad was America's most ambitious enterprise and greatest engineering achievement of the post Civil War 19th century.
By 1869 Cheyenne had its first permanent depot, a two-story Railroad Hotel; however, that hotel burned and was replaced in 1872 by the small depot and separate hotel you see here, only to have it too burn in 1886. The small depot and hotel would not be replaced but instead UP would make good on its earlier promise to Cheyenne to build the "grandest depot" west of the Mississippi River.
Begun in 1886, the new grand depot was completed in 1888 (although the clock had not yet been established by 1889). Described as Richardsonian Romanesque in style, the depot was designed by Henry Van Brunt, a very prominent American Architect from Boston. It has been said that the depot's location was picked so that Legislators in the State Capitol would have to look out and see each day that the Union Pacific was so important to Cheyenne and the State.
In January 1889, then UP President Charles Adams also announced that the central repair shops for the entire UP System would be located in Cheyenne. This would be very important to Cheyenne because over 3,000 people would live here and work for the Railroad. The era of Steam Trains would last through the mid 1950's; but Cheyenne remains home to the UP Steam Train Fleet to this day.
UP's story does not end here as the Railroad would be a prominent player in Wyoming's Statehood soon to follow (July 10, 1890) and the future of Cheyenne.
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 at 1:36pm PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||13T E 515545 N 4553471|
|Decimal Degrees||41.13240000, -104.81478333|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 41° 7.944', W 104° 48.887'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||41° 7' 56.64" N, 104° 48' 53.22" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Area Code(s)||307, 712|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near 1511-1545 Capitol Ave, Cheyenne WY 82001, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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