3¢ First Transcontinental Railroad
Issue Date: May 10, 1944
City: Omaha, NE; Ogden, UT; San Francisco, CA
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10.5
U.S. #922 was issued to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. The stamp design selected by President Franklin Roosevelt pictures the ceremony that was held on May 10, 1869, at Promontory, Utah.
Once the stamp was released, the public noticed an error in its design. The stamp pictured the flag blowing in a different direction than the smoke. Many expected the stamp to be recalled, but the Post Office Department explained that the flag had to be shown waving in that direction, otherwise, it would have been outside of the stamp design.
The First Transcontinental Railroad
In 1862, Congress passed the Pacific Railroad Act. This act gave the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroad companies the responsibility of creating a transcontinental railroad route, roughly following the 42nd parallel from Omaha, Nebraska, to Sacramento, California. Railroad lines in Chicago were to be extended to meet the new railroad in Omaha. Central Pacific began laying tracks eastward from Sacramento in 1863. Central Pacific began working westward from Omaha in 1865. For their efforts, Congress granted these railroad companies large tracts of land and millions of dollars in loans.
On May 10, 1869, the tracks of the two railroads met at Promontory, Utah. This historic achievement marked the first time a railroad had spanned an entire continent. The transcontinental railroad did a great deal to speed the settlement and industrial growth of the U.S. By the end of the 1800s, the U.S. had five transcontinental rail lines.
FDR – The Stamp-Collecting President
President Franklin Roosevelt was instrumental in the design and issuance of U.S. #922. Introduced to stamp collecting at a young age by his mother, Franklin Delano Roosevelt turned to his collection throughout his life to relax and unwind.
Elected President four times, Roosevelt served in the nation’s highest office longer than any other chief executive – 12 years. During those 12 years, Roosevelt shared his love of stamps with the nation, personally approving each of more than 200 stamp designs. He suggested topics, rejected others, and even designed some himself. It was his aim to use stamps not just to send mail but also to educate Americans about our history. And as he entered America into World War II, he saw these stamps as an outlet to raise spirits and bring hope.