Union Pacific Museum Celebrates Fifth Anniversary in Council Bluffs

Council Bluffs, Iowa, May 08, 2008 – On Saturday, May 10, Union Pacific and Council Bluffs community leaders will celebrate the fifth anniversary of The Union Pacific Railroad Museum opening in the historic 103-year-old former Carnegie Free Public Library.

"It’s most fitting that the museum is in Council Bluffs, the starting point of the Union Pacific Railroad," said Don Bowerman, president of the board of The Friends of the Union Pacific Railroad Museum.  "And, it’s no coincidence the anniversary is on May 10, the anniversary of the driving of the golden spike in Utah in 1869 to mark the completion of the first transcontinental railroad."

The celebration will start at 9:30 a.m. at the museum at 200 Pearl St. with remarks by Tom Hanafan, mayor of Council Bluffs; Joe Bateman, vice president for public affairs, northern region, Union Pacific Railroad; Bob Mundt, president, Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce; and Suellen Overton, secretary/treasurer of Iowa West Foundation.

A ringing of a locomotive bell, a ceremonial ribbon-cutting and the driving of a "golden spike" will begin a day-long celebration.

The Union Pacific Museum was started after a part of the Abraham Lincoln silver service was found in a vault in 1921.  The museum was first located in the Union Pacific Railroad headquarters building in Omaha until it was moved to the former Omaha Union Station in 1996.

The Carnegie Library building cornerstone ceremony was held September 6, 1904.  It was dedicated on September 12, 1905.  Grenville Dodge, the chief engineer who built the Union Pacific, was the main speaker.

The library building was vacated in 1998 and the Council Bluffs Library was moved to a new building a block away.  A citizens' "Friends of the Library" group was formed to raise money to restore the Carnegie Library building.

Key funding came from the Iowa West Foundation, Lied Foundation, the State of Iowa and the Gladys and Roland Harriman Foundation.

A three-way partnership was developed between the Friends, the City of Council Bluffs and Union Pacific. The city leases the building to Union Pacific to house and display its historic collection.  The Friends provide volunteers and raise funds to update exhibits and to provide educational outreach programs to the community.

Since its May 10, 2003 opening more than 113,000 people from all 50 U.S. states and 60 foreign countries have visited the museum. 

Admission to the museum is free.  It is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

About Union Pacific

Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America’s leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country and serves the fastest-growing U.S. population centers. Union Pacific’s diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad offers competitive long-haul routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada’s rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, making it North America’s premier rail franchise.

For further information, contact John Bromley at (402) 501-3843.

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