29¢ McQueen’s Jupiter
Issue Date: July 28, 1994
City: Chama, NM
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: 11 horizontally
The Civil War had just begun when Theodore Judah approached the United States government with his dream of building a railroad that would extend from coast to coast. Eager to link the Western states to the Union, Congress agreed to his plan and in 1862 passed the Pacific Railroad Act, authorizing the building of a transcontinental railroad. Two companies were charted to do the job.
In 1863 the Union Pacific Railroad began laying tracks westward from Omaha, Nebraska, while the Central Pacific laid tracks eastward from Sacramento, California. On May 10, 1869, the two railroads met at Promontory, Utah, becoming the world’s first transcontinental railroad. In a jubilant celebration, officials from both railroads drove ceremonial golden spikes to hold down the last rail - the 2,000 mile-long line spanning the West had at long last been completed.
Designed by Walter McQueen, the Jupiter found its way into history books quite by accident. Operating for a mere six weeks, it was called into service when the locomotive scheduled to be on hand for the driving of the golden spike struck a log lying next to the track and was disabled. Pressed into action, the Jupiter arrived at Promontory on May 7th.