By: Riley Hill
Before the transcontinental railroad, traveling across the continent to the western states involved many dangers and would take around six months going through rivers, deserts and mountains. Although alternate routes were in place, traveling a six week sea voyage around Cape Horn, sailing to Central America or crossing the Isthmus of Panama by rail, individuals risked exposure to numerous deadly diseases.
On April 9, 1869, after much debate and setbacks, Congress established the meeting point in an area known as Promontory Summit, north of the Great Salt Lake. Less than one month later, on May 10, 1869, telegraphers announced the completion of the Pacific Railway and at this moment the nation was united. A six-month trip had instantly been reduced to two weeks.
Within only a few years, the transcontinental railroad urbanized more of America and provided more opportunities for businesses to thrive.