This is the story behind the last railroad spike.
Two summers ago I went metal detecting to train station in my local Town – Orilla, Ontario, Canada. Not knowing the history that I will soon discover.
I was detecting the same way I always do and got a very high signal. So as always I started to dig it up and use my pinpointer to find the target. But to my surprise it was a railroad spike. But something was different about this one. It was smooth, and heavier than the rest. I decided to try cleaning it up a little bit and that’s when it hit me.
The colour of gold starting to shine through, I dropped it and started freaking out. I found myself asking what did I just find? Once I returned home I cleaned it up as best as I could to reveal a gold coloured railroad spike. I figured this was some kind of ceremonial artifact that I have found. It turns out, in 1916 our original train station burnt down. And since they needed an active station, as they were demolishing the burnt building and restoring to a new one. They made another station a little ways down the track.
During the rest of 1916 and 1917 they built a new station. Once the snow melted spring of 1918, they held a grand opening ceremony. The mayor, Robert McCurran ask the Orillia Foundry to create a solid brass railroad spike for the ceremony. During the ceremony, Robert the mayor hammered this final and last railroad spike into the track to celebrate the opening of this new station. Turns out even after they removed the tracks in 1998, this one-of-a-kind rare piece of History stayed in the ground to be unheard of again. It was the summer of 2018, a hundred years later when I dug this wonderful piece of History up. No one in the town has ever heard of this ceremony, I even contacted our current mayor and he didn’t have a clue. So I spent many, many hours researching and managed to find original newspaper advertisements for the ceremony talking about this event. Since this discovery, the last Spike has been in a few museums in my town but remains my property. The mayor called me into his office just so he can see it. I asked him if he would like it donated to the city, he replied no, It’s your find. He asked that I have it displayed in museums whenever they would like to use it, and of course, I agreed. if I didn’t find this metal detecting, this rare one-of-a-kind piece of History would have been left in the ground forever.
Thanks to Jeremiah for providing this fantastic story. You can learn more about Jeremiah’s finds on his YouTube channel