The original Golden Spike ceremony held at Promontory
Summit, Utah in 1869 represented the completion of the transcontinental
railroad but caused more than a few local railroad fans to
point out the fact that the actual final link did not occur
until a few months later when the tracks were laid through
Niles Canyon thus linking Sacramento to San Francisco. The
Niles Canyon Railway’s golden spike re-enactment ceremony
held in downtown Niles on April 9 was nearly thwarted by a
band of robbers but the good old-fashioned town sheriff shooed
them off and the ceremony went off without a hitch.
Thankfully the rain we have been getting too accustomed to
arrived later in the afternoon and residents boarded the ceremonial
train in Sunol bound for Niles on a glorious and unusually
After arriving in Niles and folks departed, two trains were
situated facing each other on the track on either side of the
area in which the “golden spike” was to be driven
to commemorate the historical event and the opening of the
new Niles Station. As we waited for the ceremony to begin Chief
Station Agent, Al McCracken, proceeded towards the track area
with the “golden spike” resting comfortably on
a pillow when several men dressed in old west garb wrestled
for control of the spike. As I said earlier, thank goodness
for the quick thinking local lawman who foiled their plan to
steal the special spike.
Local dignitaries including members of the Fremont City Council
and Fremont Vice-Mayor Steve Cho joined State Assemblyman John
Dutra and US Congressman Pete Starke to praise the work of
the volunteers from two non-profit groups who made our railroad
link between Sunol and Niles possible, the Niles Canyon Railway
and The Niles Golden Spike Association. After speeches were
made several of the local politicians took turns pounding in
the ceremonial spike, the last whack was made by John Fenstermacher
with the Alameda County Public Works Agency. Congressman Starke
attended the ceremony with wife Deborah and their children
Andrew, Hannah and Fish.
One my very favorite part of the ceremony was a ride on the
Niles Coach Lines. In order to reach the tiny downtown district
of Niles from the train station you must either walk by way
of Sullivan Underpass or take a “free” ride on
an antique motor coach which will deposit you at either end
of the main street. This beautifully restored 1958 General
Motors Coach has a dramatic art deco look and upon entering
you feel as if you are truly stepping back an era or two.
Congratulations to Sunolian Veronica Horton on the grand opening
of her newly relocated day spa, A Touch of Health. Located
on St. Mary’s Street in Pleasanton, this full service
day spa has been a labor of love between Veronica and husband
Ken, who will soon be celebrating their first wedding anniversary,
you see they were married on May 5, 2005 (05-05-05) and that’s
a date that’s surely not to be forgotten.
Veronica’s day spa offers several services including
massage treatments, facials, special skin care, nail care and
many other services. How about a day of pampering? Or a mini-retreat?
Call 925-484-1726 for more information.