Eli Anderson may be a little stressed the next couple of weeks. Anderson, known for his hundreds of restored and unrestored horse-drawn wagons, will have nearly 20 of his choice vehicles in Saturday’s Golden Spike Sesquicentennial Horse Parade. The all-horse parade is this Saturday, May 4, at 1 p.m. on Main Street in Brigham City after an opening ceremony.
Anderson reached out and found drivers, and their teams, across the state to pull his wagons in the parade. He is expecting about 20 other wagons from all 29 counties. Participants will be dressed in authentic period dress and will be on horseback or riding on horse drawn equipment.
The parade, hosted by the Best of Box Elder County, is the beginning of a statewide celebration of the driving of the Golden Spike, commemorating the joining of the Union Pacific Railroad and the Central Pacific Railroad at Promontory Point.
An old fashioned hoedown is scheduled for 7 pm that evening at the Box Elder County fairgrounds, located at 320 N. 1000 W., featuring country band Rough Stock
After the parade, a Spike 150 tribute wagon train of about 20 wagons and riders will head west out of Brigham City on their way to Kelton, a ghost town in Box Elder’s west desert near Park Valley.
“Kelton was big in its day. They were part of a stagecoach and wagon route that took people and supplies to Montana,” Anderson said. “Kelton was also a stop along the Transcontinental Railroad.”
Anderson’s Wagonland Adventure, located at 11200 North 8790 West Hwy 102, will partner with Box Elder County to talk about Mark Hopkins’ part in the Transcontinental Railroad. The exhibit and information will be shared Monday, May 6, from 4-8 p.m. and will include a Mark Hopkins’ Double C-Spring Buggy, as well as other railroad memorabilia.
“Hopkins was a merchant and railroad developer who made a fortune by selling supplies to miners in California,” Anderson said. “We will also have a railroad dump-cart, and other tools will also be on display.” Visitors can check out Anderson’s massive collection of horse drawn wagons, buggies and carriages.
“Wagonland is on a historical site. All the wagons headed for California would camp and stay the winter here,” Anderson said. “It was also a winter stop for the Shoshone Native American Indians for a time.”
When those two events are over, Anderson will host the National Stagecoach and Freight Wagon Conference from May 8-11 with all-day activities.
The four-day event will take the group of some 200 horse drawn wagon enthusiasts along the Bartleston-Bidwell wagon trial. The 1841 trial took the first wagon train of immigrants to California. They will travel to Kelton on the original transcontinental railroad grade. He will show them wagon tracks in several different places.
They will visit the historic Hampton Ford where thousands of wagons crossed the Bear River on their way to California. They will also see a production at The Old Barn Theater, “The Crossing-Box Elder’s Golden Treasure.”
The group will then go to Corrine and learn about the town’s rich history.
On day three, May 10, some will attend the celebration of the connecting of the Transcontental Railroad at Golden Spike National Historic Park.
“This will be a once in a lifetime event you will not want to miss,” Anderson wrote in his agenda. “We were recently informed that they are charging $20 a car for parking in a farmers wheat field. The walk to the Golden National Spike National Historic Park is close to a half mile from the parking lot.”
There is no public seating, so you will have to stand several hours on very uneven ground to view the performance, he said.
“Other arrangements have been made for those who wish to view a live stream from the Golden Spike National Historic Park of the Spike 150 ceremonies,” he said. “The live steam will be at the Box Elder County Fairgrounds, located at 342 N. 1000 W., Tremonton, in a temperature controlled building with comfortable seating.”
The group will visit the nation’s largest collection of horse drawn vehicles at Wagonland. There will also be a chuck wagon dinner. On the final day there will be a line of speakers at the Tremonton West Stake Center, from morning until afternoon.
By the end of conference, Anderson will be able to go back to doing what he does best, restoring historical horse drawn vehicles.