Plaque in Honor of Chinese Narrow Gauge Railway Workers Designated Historic Monument – YubaNet

The Nevada County Historic Landmarks Commission is pleased to announce that on March 22, 2022, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors designated the county’s newest historic landmark NEV 22-01 to commemorate Chinese workers who played a essential role in the construction of the narrow gauge railway.

The Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum nominee is sponsoring a plaque to be placed this summer near the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad gazebo at the corner of Sacramento Street and Railroad Avenue in Nevada City. It will read:

“In the rush to build the western section of the transcontinental railroad, the Central Pacific Railroad recruited more than ten thousand young men from China, creating a skilled and reliable workforce. When completed, many of these workers, who had come to America under an employment contract, returned home to China. Others stayed to find jobs building railroads across the United States.

This site marks one end of the 22-mile Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad that connected Nevada City and Grass Valley to Colfax and the Central Pacific Railroad. After construction of the NCNGRR began in 1875, over three hundred Chinese immigrants worked to build the railroad. They built the railroad over the rugged, rugged terrain between Colfax and Grass Valley, climbing canyons, filling ravines, and clearing the way for bridges and trestles. Using hand tools, horse-drawn scrapers, handcarts, and their determination, they completed the task in early 1876. Although considered more reliable than white workers, they were paid less.

When the railway was completed in 1876, most Chinese people moved on to other railway construction projects. A few Chinese workers remained as track workers to maintain the NCNGRR. In addition to working on the railroad, several Chinese businessmen in Nevada City were investors and retained stock in the company well into the 20th century. The contributions of Chinese immigrants have been an essential element in the construction and success of the NCNGRR.

The purpose of the Nevada County Historic Landmarks Commission is to promote the general welfare of Nevada County and its citizens through the official recognition, recording, marking, preservation, and promotion of the county’s historic resources. of Nevada.

The plaque will feature in the next edition of the Commission’s interactive map and electronic guide. Please visit for more information on digital and hard copies of our book.

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