The Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission invites you to join us on Sunday, September 18 at 10am to dedicate and unveil one of our newer plaques. The plaque is located near the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad kiosk at the corner of Sacramento Street and Railroad Avenue in Nevada City. Speakers will include David Yee, a member of the California Commission on Asian & Pacific Islander American Affairs and Ty Smith, Director of the California State Railroad Museum.
The plaque reads:
“In the race to build the western portion of the Transcontinental Railroad, the Central Pacific Railroad recruited over ten thousand young men from China, creating a skilled and dependable work force. Upon completion many of these workers, who had come to America under contract for employment, returned home to China. Others remained to find employment building railroads throughout the United States.
This site marks one end of the 22-mile Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad that connected Nevada City and Grass Valley with Colfax and the Central Pacific Railroad. After construction of the NCNGRR started in 1875, over three hundred Chinese immigrants labored to build the railroad. They built the railroad grade over the rugged and uneven terrain between Colfax and Grass Valley, scaling canyons, filling ravines, and prepared the way for bridges and trestles. Using hand tools, horse drawn scrapers, hand carts and their determination, they completed the task in early 1876. Although considered more dependable than white workers, they were paid less.
When the railroad was completed in 1876 most of the Chinese moved on to other railroad construction projects, A few Chinese workers remained as track workers maintaining the NCNGRR. Apart from laboring on the railroad, several Chinese businessmen in Nevada City were investors and retained stock in the company into the 20th century. The contributions of Chinese immigrants were an essential element in the building and success of the NCNGRR.”
The purpose of the Nevada County Historical Landmarks Commission is to promote the general welfare of Nevada County and its citizens through official recognition, recording, marking, preserving, and promoting the historical resources of Nevada County.