Ever wonder about Ashland’s Railroad District, and why it is so 'historic'? The answer may be found in Ashland's Railroad Park on A St. between 7th and 8th, where in 2016 the City and the Historic Society installed a plaque to commemorate the opening of Central Pacific’s North-South railroad line (now known as the Siskiyou Route) in December 17, 1887.
Everyone seems to recall from their American history classes (way back when!) the first "gold spike" ceremony in 1869 at Promontory Point, Utah where the First Transcontinental Railroad in the US was completed. But there was a second ceremony in Ashland, Oregon in December 1887. When the Pacific lines of Oregon and California railway joined, it completed the freight and passenger train service that circumnavigated the [then] entire nation (now just the ‘lower 48’). The importance of this connection is on par with the joining of the east and west railroad lines.
The notable Charles Crocker (a founder of Central Pacific) drove in the commemorative golden spike with a silver hammer. Rumor has it both gold spikes are now stored in a San Francisco bank vault, but no one knows which gold spike was used for which ceremony.
Pacific railroad kept a staff of engineers and workmen in Ashland. Many of the small houses in what is now the Ashland's Historic Railroad District were built for the workers and their families.