Utah Locomotive Atlas

By Michelle James | Illustrations by Kerry Shaw Visiting the Golden Spike National Historic Park is a great way to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the meeting of the Union and Central Pacific railroads. It’s also a great launch pad for an exploration of Utah’s dynamic railroad history, which can include historic depots, exhibits of old streetcars, firsthand looks at …

Poet Paisley Rekdal along the Transcontinental Railroad grade.

In real time: Progress of a (railroad) poem

With sly wit, Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal has been commenting on social media throughout the year she was researching and writing “West,” a book-length poem about the Transcontinental Railroad. Jan. 20, 2018: “This week has been a series of some of the odder requests/assignments: writing for the Journal of Military History, poem solicitation for pamphlet on spiritual practices, a …

Abraham Lincoln and the Transcontinental Railroad

On July 1, 1862 after decades of US congressional debate and disagreement on a Transcontinental Railroad and an appropriate route the road should take, President Lincoln brought the debate to a close and brought the enterprise to life, all with a stroke of his pen. On July 1, 1862, one year into America’s bloody Civil War, President Lincoln signed into …

Art preview: The epic reach of ‘Transcontinental’

With every viewing, the range of artworks keeps surprising me in “Transcontinental: People, Place, Impact,” the new Rio Gallery exhibition. By range, I’m referring to such contrasts as the printed stories and creative railroad interactivity of Stefanie Dykes and Amie Tullius’ well-travelled “Train Tracts,” paired with Gregg Deal’s “The Divinity of Inanimate Objects Omit their Sins,” a vivid collage painting …

Meet the Utah writer creating art from railroad history

In the voices of the ambitious “West,” Utah Poet Laureate Paisley Rekdal is writing a soundtrack to a distinctively American story. By Ellen Fagg Weist | Photography by Austen Diamond If you know where to look, the ghosts of Chinese workers appear everywhere on Utah’s Transcontinental Railroad byway. On a warm November morning, I’m standing with poet Paisley Rekdal in …