Pacific's No. 119 and Central Pacific's
"Jupiter" engines lined up facing each other on the tracks, separated
only by the width of one rail. Leland Stanford, one of the "Big Four"
of the Central Pacific, had brought four ceremonial spikes. The famed
"Golden Spike" was presented by
David Hewes, a San Francisco construction magnate. It was engraved with
the names of the Central Pacific directors, special sentiments appropriate
to the occasion, and, on the head, the notation "the Last Spike." A
second golden spike was presented by the San Francisco News Letter.
A silver spike was Nevada's contribution, and a spike blended of iron,
silver, and gold represented Arizona. These spikes were dropped into
a pre-bored laurelwood tie during the ceremony. No spike represented
Utah, and Mormon Church leaders were conspicuous
by their absence.
12:47 P.M. the actual last spike--an ordinary iron spike--was driven
into a regular tie. Both spike and sledge were wired to send the sound
of the strikes over the wire to the nation. However, Stanford and Thomas
Durant from the Union Pacific both missed the spike. Still, telegraph
operator Shilling clicked three dots over the wire: "done." Meanwhile,
with an unwired sledge, construction supervisors James H. Strobridge
and Samuel R. Reed took turns driving the last spike.