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Chinese rail workers to get new Placer County statue?

Return to Gold Mountain tour visits Placer, Auburn
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Thanks for going to the Journal website to read this story online. The original appeared in print and e-editions July 18. Support the Journal and community journalism by taking out a subscription or buying single copies as often as you can. 

A group of Chinese and Chinese-Americans visited Placer County on Saturday, with a stop in Auburn to view the legacy of Chinese workers.

The group of 65 included officials from the Chinese Consulate-General in San Francisco and Bay Area Assemblyman Kansen Chu, D-San Jose.

The visit included a side trip to Bloomers Cut in South Auburn, a section of Union Pacific railroad carved into the hillside by Chinese laborers in 1864. Also on the itinerary was a stop at the giant Chinese worker statue in Downtown Auburn.

A second statue with the same theme could soon be erected at Gold Run, where a marker was placed in 2009.

Mike Holmes, a Placer County Tourism representative, said that the hour-long visit was followed by a ceremony at Gold Run, where a monument commemorating the sacrifices and efforts of Chinese railroad workers is targeted for dedication in 2019.

The work of men recruited from Southern China culminated in 1869 when Leland Stanford drove the last spike to complete the transcontinental railroad. Between 1865 and 1869, 15,000 Chinese migrants were involved in the effort to build the railroad.

The Placer County Historical Society placed a marker honoring the workers at the Gold Run rest stop in 2009. The planned monument – showing two Chinese laborers in back-breaking work – would replace the seven-year-old plaque.

Holmes said that the group also visited the Gold Drift Museum in Dutch Flat and took the train back from the Reno area after staying overnight in Sparks.

According to tour organizers, the Chinese railroad workers are one of the few pioneer groups that do not have any significant monument that pays tribute to their work and lives lost while laboring in the Sierra. The project, which is supported by the Chinese Historical Society of America, is expected to cost about $300,000.

Thanks for going to the Journal website to read this story online. The original appeared in print and e-editions July 18. Support the Journal and community journalism by taking out a subscription or buying single copies as often as you can.