Industrial & Gilded Ages

The Industrial and Gilded Ages were closely connected, with both roughly spanning the final third of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th. The Second Industrial Revolution was marked by technological advancements in manufacturing and production that, among other things, propelled the expansion of railroad and telegraph networks, facilitating the movement of people and ideas. The Gilded Age, which overlapped and intertwined with the Second Industrial Revolution, often describes the political, social, and economic climate of the time, which saw rapid economic growth and industrialization in the United States.

Explore the topics below to learn more about this period through newspaper articles and clippings.

U.S. Immigration Station, Angel Island, San Francisco Bay

Angel Island Immigration Station

Angel Island Immigration Station was an immigration station located in San Francisco Bay which operated from January 21, 1910 to November 5, 1940, where immigrants entering the United States were detained and interrogated. The island was originally a fishing and hunting site for Coastal Miwok Indians, then it was a haven for Spanish explorer Juan …Read More

Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, 1915

Ellis Island

What Is Ellis Island? Ellis Island was the main U.S. immigration center between 1892 and 1954, when it closed. It is located in Upper New York Bay, off the shore of New Jersey. During the 62 years it operated, more than 12 million immigrants were processed on the island. Opening of Ellis Island Home to …Read More

Photo from the Golden Spike Ceremony at Promontory Summit, May 10, 1869

Golden Spike Ceremony

On May 10, 1869, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads were connected at Promontory Summit in Utah Territory, completing the first transcontinental railroad in the United States. Background The Central Pacific Railroad had started building east from Sacramento, California, in 1863, while the Union Pacific Railroad had started building west from Omaha, Nebraska Territory, …Read More

The Currier & Ives lithograph showing people fleeing the Great Chicago Fire of 1871

Great Chicago Fire

The Great Chicago Fire burned October 8 to 10, 1871, in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago, with its frequent high winds and countless wooden structures, was prone to fires even before the “Great Fire” tore through the city. However, none was so destructive as this one. It ultimately killed 300 people and destroyed more than 17,000 buildings. …Read More

The Haymarket Riot from Harper's Weekly

Haymarket Riot

The Haymarket Riot (or Haymarket Affair) was a violent dispute between police and labor movement rallyists that took place on May 4, 1886, in Chicago’s Haymarket Square.  May 3rd Incident The day before the Haymarket Riot, labor strikers confronted strikebreakers at Chicago’s McCormick Harvesting Machine Company. The ensuing altercation with police led to the deaths …Read More

RMS Titanic

RMS Titanic

Titanic Facts and History Overview RMS Titanic was a British luxury passenger ship that sank on April 14-15, 1912, during its maiden voyage. Around 1,500 of the estimated 2,240 passengers and crew perished in the sinking, and the now-famous disaster has become the legendary subject of numerous books and movies. Building of the Titanic The …Read More

Edward L. Doheny testifying before the Senate committee investigating the Tea Pot Oil Scandal in 1924

Teapot Dome Scandal

The Teapot Dome Scandal was a bribery scandal in the 1920s centered around the leasing of federal oil reserves by Albert B. Fall, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. It is often considered the biggest American political scandal prior to Watergate. Background Before World War I, the U.S. government had set aside two oil reserves …Read More

Completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, 1869

Transcontinental Railroad

Summary The Transcontinental Railroad (also called the Pacific Railroad or Overland Route) was the first railway to span the continental United States. Begun in 1863, it was completed in 1869, when eastbound and westbound railroad lines were connected at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory. Background The most prominent early supporter of a transcontinental railroad was Asa …Read More

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, 1911

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City caught fire and in about half an hour killed 146 people, the majority of them young women. Background The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was a sweatshop housed in the top three floors of a 10-story brick building in New York City. It employed hundreds …Read More