UP and CP Break Ground
Already 11 months behind Central Pacific, Union Pacific leaders felt the pressure to begin their journey west. Doc Durant exerted his influence to make Omaha, instead of Council Bluffs, the actual starting point. A gala groundbreaking ceremony and banquet were quickly organized and 1,000 revelers eagerly took a holiday to celebrate the event. At a former ferry landing at 7th & Davenport, Governor Alvin Saunders turned the first shovel of dirt, accompanied by brass bands, cannons and fireworks. However, it was another 18 months before UP laid its first rails. Central Pacific began construction at the foot of I Street in Sacramento without ceremony.