2019: 150th Anniversary of Chinese Workers Building the Transcontinental Railway

by Molly Matthews


Building the transcontinental railroad.

Building the transcontinental railroad.

Irish Luck, Chinese Medicine has several love stories, one involves an Irish woman and Chinese man. As Immigrants they would have many things in common: fleeing oppression, escaping starvation and facing prejudice and violence. I didn’t know how they would find one another until I remembered that Irish and Chinese laborers built the transcontinental railroad.

Between the years of 1864 and 1869, Chinese laborers joined Irish immigrants ina race to complete the project. The Chinese proved to be of great value as they laid track at a much faster rate than their Irish counterparts due to their strong  work ethic and sense of community. They didn’t get inebriated with regularity, were strict about cleanliness, and boiled their food (preventing communicable and intestinal illness.)

Read here https://web.stanford.edu/group/chineserailroad/cgi-bin/website/for more about Stanford University’s The Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project that “seeks to give a voice to the Chinese migrants whose labor on the Transcontinental Railroad helped to shape the physical and social landscape of the American West.”