Villard Gold Spike Excursion, NPRR

The Villard “Gold Spike” Excursion.
Photo by Frank Jay Haynes, Fargo, DT, 1883.

Like many U.S. railroads, the Northern Pacific Railroad used “American” type locomotives of a 4-4-0 wheel arrangement to provide motive power for their passenger and freight trains. President Villard of the Northern Pacific Railroad was accompanied by dignitaries, including former President Ulyssess S. Grant, on an excursion to celebrate the completion of the railroad line. The trains stopped in Bismarck, and the party participated in the laying of the cornerstone of Dakota territories new capitol.