Zoomed out shot of the Ames pyramind. Kuiper is barely visible at the base.

A Pyramid in Wyoming

Zoomed in shot of Kuiper doing a "Sphynx down" at the Ames pyramid.

Can you spot Kuiper doing his best Sphynx impression? Here’s a closeup of his heckin’ down stay while he works on coming up with a good riddle.

This is a throwback picture from our cross-country roadtrip last summer. When I told Kuiper we were going to stop by the Ames Pyramid, he got really excited. Due to his limited grasp of geography, he thought we were going to “visit the NASA” in Iowa. I had to explain to him that the pyramid is in Wyoming, and that @nasaames is in California (or “the land of opportunity,” as Kuiper calls it.)

This pyramid is a monument to the Ames brothers, two of the men who financed the first transcontinental railroad. Oakes Ames was a U.S. Representative from 1863-1873, and Oliver Ames was president of Union Pacific Rail Road from 1866 to 1871. UP was the portion of the cross-country railroad stretching from Iowa to Utah. The Union Pacific and the Central Pacific railroads were joined together in 1869 at Promontory Summit, Utah, uniting the line from Omaha to San Francisco.

3 years later, a HUGE SCANDAL was uncovered by a New York newspaper. It turned out that Union Pacific had farmed out construction to a fake company called Credit Mobilier, owned by UP executives. Oakes had given a bunch of shares of the company to 30 other congressmen. Thus, the more tax dollars that were spent on the railroad, the more those congressmen profited. As a result of the investigation, Ames was formally censured by the House (censure is a formal, public way for Congress to say “you are bad and should feel bad” without removing someone from office.)

Despite the scandal, the first transcontinental railroad was an incredible feat of engineering and insanely influential, in ways both good and bad. A journey which used to take 6 months was cut down to a week. Goods could be shipped much cheaper and further, which had a big impact on the economy. At the same time, it vastly accelerated the destruction of Native American culture. If it’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that history is complicated.

If you ever find yourself near Laramie, WY, we definitely recommend paying a visit to this unique National Historic Landmark.

Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BeGIMwkg-1W/

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