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Union Pacific



April 16, 1868

UP Construction Reaches Highest Point

To make the shortest route to the top, Union Pacific engineers established a 90-foot grade that climbed 32 miles from the base of the Black Hills. The peak was first called Lone Tree Pass and later renamed Sherman Summit in honor of General William Tecumseh Sherman. Though General Dodge was often named as the one who discovered the pass, credit is more often given to English-born engineer James Evans, who surveyed the area in 1864.

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In 1880, a monument was placed at Sherman Summit in memory of Oakes Ames and Oliver Ames Jr. The brothers played a key role in Union Pacific history: Oakes, a U.S. Congressman, was instrumental in construction of the Central line; Oliver served as UP president (1866-1871).

Union Pacific celebrates the shared stories that have shaped our country since 1862. We invite you to explore how the nation’s largest railroad came to be and how UP continues to build America with innovation and tenacity, touching the lives of nearly every citizen.