Celebrating the 150th anniversary of Chinese railroad workers

Local News

For the full month of February, the Salt Lake County Library, Stanford University, and the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendents Association will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the efforts of Chinese railroad workers.

An exhibit honoring their work is set up at the County Library’s Viridian Event Center in West Jordan. The exhibit details the contributions of Chinese-Americans to the construction of the U.S. Transcontinental Railroad.

“The story of these men is America’s story. It needs to be honored and remembered now more than ever,” said Patrick Santee, a Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association (CRWDA) board member. “Southern Chinese workers played an important role in building the physical infrastructure of the American West.”

The 60-panel exhibit, entitled “The Chinese Helped Build the Railroad-The Railroad Helped Build America,” will include photos and infographics that chronicle the railroad’s construction and the challenges faced by those who built it.

The railroad was completed at nearby Promontory Summit on May 10, 1869. The Golden Spike Historic Site marks the point where the final nail was pounded into the railroad. People of Chinese descent arrived in large numbers in Utah just 22 years after the first Mormon pioneers. There are more than 500 Chinese railroad laborers buried in Utah.

The exhibit will be open from February 1st through the 28th.

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