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October 6, 1866

Union Pacific Crews Pass 100th Meridian

Union Pacific crews reached an important milestone when they passed the 100th meridian near Cozad, Neb. This guaranteed the railroad the irrevocable right to continue westward, as stipulated in the Pacific Railway Act of 1862. Thomas Durant hosted a "100th Meridian Excursion," organizing on the spot a group of reporters and politicians to note the event. In 1879, the U.S. Geological Survey officially established the 100th Meridian to mark 100 degrees of longitude west of Greenwich as the boundary between the "moist east and the arid west."

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In Winter 1866-67, the first of many "Hell on Wheels" towns — known for gambling, prostitution and free-flowing liquor — was established 45 miles away at North Platte.

In 2012, Union Pacific celebrates the shared stories that have shaped our country since 1862. To mark our 150th anniversary, we invite you to explore how the nation’s largest railroad came to be and how UP continues to build America with innovation and tenacity, touching the lives of nearly every citizen.