To understand the development, growth, and impact of the Union Pacific Railroad in the American West, especially Carbon County, Wyoming.
Topics: US History, Western History, Industrialization.
Age Group/Grades: Ten – Thirteen years old, 5th – 8th Grades.
- Literacy: Students will read on the creation and expansion of the Union Pacific Railroad across Wyoming, focusing on Carbon County.
- Critical Analysis: Students will use the printable sheets analyze the photographs (primary sources) to better understand the people and places of Carbon County, Wyoming.
- Active Learning Activities:
- Activity 1: Students will study and analyze historic photographs from the Union Pacific construction and use using our template.
- Activity 2: Students will complete the printable word search.
- Students will analyze the creation and development of the Union Pacific Railroad, from the federal to the local level.
- Students will identify how the growth of the railroad expanded the American West’s population and facilitated growth of the area in the late nineteenth century.
- Students will examine and analyze primary sources (photographs) to better understand the places and people of the American West/Carbon County, Wyoming.
- Students will evaluate who the railroad workers were and the conditions they worked under, as well as how the rural environment impacted their work.
Topics to be Studied:
- The role of the federal government in the creation of the railroad.
- How the post-Civil War era allowed the growth and development of the railroad.
- How industrialization in America was helped by the growth of the railroad.
- Read: “Industry, Politics and Power: The Union Pacific in Wyoming”. Gregory Nickerson, Published November 8, 2014. Access here: https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/industry-politics-and-power-union-pacific-wyoming
- Read and View our Virtual Exhibit, “Let’s Go West! The Union Pacific in Carbon County” found here: https://www.carboncountymuseum.org/the-union-pacific-railroad
- Watch: Wyoming PBS Documentary, “End of Track” found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUDv87_LjCs&list=PLi7t-ipQDn6egPmZNl873oQ2ogkpD9MJt&index=40
- For more on Benton, See this short article: https://kingfm.com/the-legend-of-benton-wyomings-wildest-town/
- Word Search: Using the word search provided, students locate words related to the Union Pacific in Carbon County.
- Create a journal using the prompts and papers provided.