It is that day of the year. It is that day we call Thanksgiving. It is a day where we gave thanks. It began with a ship of men who arrived at a place on the James River east of Richmond, Virginia. Then came the Pilgrims who arrived on a beach in Cape Cod Bay in Massachusetts where the more famous story of this day originated. From a simple prayer in Virginia to a big feast in Massachusetts, Thanksgiving is one of the more important holidays celebrated in the United States of America. In both places they took the time to thank God for safe passage to the New World. There journey to the New World were on ships sailing from Europe across rough and choppy seas. It was a journey that very few would survive.
From the year 1828 at a little spot in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, the railroad began to take people across this New World. Although the passengers no longer take the trains from this very spot, you can still visit the site where the railroad began and ride a train along the first mile of railroad.
In 1869, one rail line was built east from Sacramento, California. A second rail line was built west from Omaha, Nebraska. They came together in an isolated town called Promontory, Utah. This allowed passengers to travel by railroad from the east and the west. Later the first continuous rail line was built further south through Kansas City, Missouri and Denver, Colorado. Today, most of these rail lines continue to have rail traffic today. Although the train no longer passes through Promontory, Utah, you can see the site where a golden spike was driven. You can also see the California Railroad Museum in Sacramento, California, Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa and Kenefick Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
From 1886 to the 1930’s many people were on a ship. They were welcomed to the New World by a tall lady holding up a torch. When they stepped foot on a plot of land in a city called Jersey City, New Jersey only to see a train station where trains were waiting to take them across this New World. Sadly, only this train station remains as the tracks were taken up, but you can see the place in Jersey City, New Jersey where people where once moved by the railroad and that wonderful lady who shined the light for them. A visit to Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey is a must.
These memories have been made possible by those historians who worked diligently to keep these memories alive. These people deserve our dear thanks. Thanks to the historians, curators and railroad museum workers.
What about the trains? Thank the engineers, conductors, porters, baggage handlers, ticket masters, chefs, waiters, mechanics and maintenance workers.
May you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving.
The display is courtesy of the great people at Coolfont resort in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.
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