There Goes the Neighborhood
Some pictures are worth more than a thousand words, and this certainly is one of them.
In this photograph by Alfred Hart taken between 1868 - 1869, a Native American looks down upon a newly completed section of the Transcontinental Railroad, 435 miles from Sacramento, CA. The stark composition of both man and progress facing a distant haze conveys emotions as complex as the cultural impact behind America's westward expansion.
The railroad was a massive undertaking, with three companies building the 3,069 km (1,907 mi) line over six years. With the final "Golden Spike" driven into the ground in May 10, 1869, the revolution in transportation allowed a flood of people and goods to travel directly from Council Bluffs, Iowa all the way to Sacramento, California. Progress seldom occurs without leaving a wake, and for many peoples of The United States, that last spike commemorated something more ominous than achievement.