On May 10th, 1869 in Promontory, Utah, the First Transcontinental Railroad across North America officially opened for through traffic with the driving in of the last “Golden Spike” which formally joined the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroad routes. While the participation of Chinese workers has been documented, their sacrifice and hardship have not been well publicized. Over 600 miles of the most hazardous part of the Central Pacific route was built by about 12,000 Chinese workers, the majority of whom were originally from the Canton province. They toiled in extremely harsh condition and accomplished a seemingly impossible mission. They helped lay ten miles of track in one day, setting a railroad record that has not been matched even in the modern era. Despite this feat, only the names of 8 Irish workers were recorded by the railroad company while the several thousand Chinese workers were forgotten. In total, nearly 2000 lives were lost during the railroad construction though this is likely an underestimate. We can say for certain that the First Transcontinental Railroad was built on the bones of Chinese laborers.
2019 marks the 150th anniversary of that historical moment in Promontory, Utah. In honor of those heroic Chinese workers we are pleased to announce the official establishing of the Utah Chinese Golden Spike Celebration Committee (UCGSCC).
We are planning a series of activities and events to celebrate the 150th Golden Spike anniversary. Activities include rebuilding of the Salt Lake City Historical Chinatown, lectures about the contribution of these Chinese railroad workers, academic forums featuring the past, present, and future of Chinese Americans, attending the official reenactment ceremony commemorating the 150th anniversary at Promontory Summit and taking group picture, the Golden Spike artwork exhibition which includes photographs, sculptures, paintings, and other artifacts, cultural performances on the history of construction of the Transcontinental Railroad; and special events for economic and trade exchanges. We will also invite children to join in the celebration by submitting pieces of art and literature to help remember our Chinese pioneers.
With the hope that people of all racial and ethnic origins will come celebrate together, let us extend our most sincere invitation to all societies and organizations here in the US to join in our effort to sponsor these grand ceremonial activities. We also welcome donations from individuals, societies, and businesses. Please contact the Committee for sponsorship opportunities or if you have any questions. Tel: 801-928-7766, Email: UTCCGS150@gmail.com。