In partnership with Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Historic Preservation, the 1882 Foundation host a historic interpretive tour of the Chinese Railroad Worker Sites in the Sierra Nevada Mountains on November 8th and 9th. We were lucky to have railroad history expert Phil Saxon as our guide and interpreter. 50 participants joined our tour from California and other parts of the country.
On the first day, our participants boarded a bus in the Bay Area and Sacramento. The bus then drove to our first stop, Bloomer Cut in Auburn. After a short hike over an unpaved trail, we were able to see a narrow railroad bed paved by industrious Chinese laborers. Before sunset, we made it to Donner Summit. There, we saw a collection of artifacts from the Summit Camp and then visited the Central Shaft, the Summit Camp, the Summit Tunnel, and the China Wall. At these sites, we experience harsh weather and rough paths that our ancestors had to bear during the railroad construction.
Our second day was planned to be an Amtrak tour. However, due to a significant delay of our train, we decided to continue our tour by bus. We first stopped by Immigrant Gap and enjoyed a scenic overlook. After that, we headed to Secret Town Fill. The trip ended with a guided tour of the California State Railroad Museum where stories of Chinese railroad workers are honored and interpreted.