skip to main content
Tools for Educators

Utah Women and the Railroad

Lesson Overview

2019 marked the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad. Completed with a ceremonial golden spike driven at Promontory Summit, Utah on May 10, 1869, the railroad brought technological, economic, and cultural changes to Utah Territory. Despite the fact that women do not appear in photographs of railroad workers and businessmen celebrating the project’s completion, they are part of the story, too. Learn more about how they were involved and how the railroad impacted them through the use of primary documents and short activities.

This lesson is also available on Canvas Commons.

Three women in white dresses stand in front of a locomotive.

Historical Background for Educators

Guiding Questions

  • How did women impact the railroad? What roles did they play in building and supporting the railroad?
  • How did the railroad impact women? What were positive and negative consequences?
  • Where were the women at the celebration of the Golden Spike?
  • How have other transportation inventions and changes impacted women?
  • How did the railroad influence the women's suffrage movement in Utah?


Activity Ideas

Tell us your experience

We’d love to hear about your experience in using this lesson to engage with your students so that we can better serve those who choose to use this lesson in the future.

Share Your Experience