Chinese Track Layers
Chinese immigrants provided the labor that united a state. This trio, diving a handcar
in the Tehachapis, is among the 3,000 hired by Southern Pacific President Charles Crocker
to complete the railroad's San Joaquin Valley line 2,000 to lay the tracks and another
1,000 to dig the San Fernando Tunnel between Newhall and the San Fernando Valley. Unknown
numbers died during construction.
Unlike the golden spike ceremony in 1869 when the transcontinental railroad came together
at Promontory Point, Utah, thousands of Chinese were on hand to witness the driving of the last
spike by Crocker at Lang Station on Sept. 5, 1876.
Remi Nadeau writes that the workers, "clad in basket hats, blue denim jackets and trousers,
and cotton sandals, stood along either side of the mounded right of way. Four thousand strong,
they lined thr roadbed in military file, leaning on their long-handled shovels, like an
army at rest after a well-fought battle."
HS3024: 2400 dpi jpeg from printed copy