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Gabis Arboretum Railway Garden to celebrate completion of the Transcontinental Railroad

The Railway Garden at Gabis Arboretum in Porter County.

Gabis Arboretum at Purdue Northwest in Porter County will commemorate the completion of the  Transcontinental Railroad between Omaha and Sacramento in a major feat that made it possible to ship goods across a then-rugged, untamed landscape between the East and West Coasts.

The Railway Garden at the Gabis Arboretum at 450 W. 100 N. in Valparaiso will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the driving of the golden spike – an event that was broadcast nationwide via telegraph in what's been described as America's first mass-media event – with a ceremony at 10 a.m. May 11. 

"The celebration honors one of the most iconic and life-altering events in America’s history- the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad," Gabis Arboretum said in a press release. "The last spike was struck on May 10, 1869 in Promontory, Utah which joined the Central Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad providing the first transcontinental railway system in the United States."

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Thousands of workers, including many Chinese and Irish immigrants, worked under backbreaking conditions to build the 1,800-mile railroad, which was credited with reducing the cost of travel from coast to coast from $1,000 to just $150.

The ribbon-cutting will take place at the Railway Garden for model trains that features "3,000 feet of track, 14 feet of elevation change, 850 tons of Missouri limestone, six water features and hundreds of dwarf and miniature plants to bring American history to life."

For more information, visit pnw.edu/gabis-arboretum.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.