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Hart - Sierra Nevada Mountains

image not foundDescription: PC0002 Image no. 119. Laborers, possibly Chinese, and rocks, near opening of Summit Tunnel. Photographic series documenting construction of the Central Pacific Railroad, 1866-1869. Note wagons going up and down Donner Pass wagon road.
Photographer/artist: Alfred A. Hart Date taken: 1860s Photo location: Summit Tunnel
Type: photo Subject: Transcontinental Railroad Construction County: Placer
Source: Stanford CollectionReferences: Contributor: Stanford Libraries
Notes: Original image is 3.9 MB. HCS 1/10/22. Image at Stanford site. See also Goldbaum and Huffman's 2012 book, Waiting for the Cars, p. 242. The authors explain: "Though compressed-air drills existed at the time, all blasting holes on the CP project were drilled by hand using hammers and bits, the tools held by the driller in this photograph. The bits were simply steel rods with ends forged into chisel-shaped points. In use, ine man would hold and rotate a bit while two others alternately struct it with sledge hammers." The authors continued: "Horizontal holes into the faces of the headings - the most difficult to drill - were driven about 18 inches deep, while vertical holes into the bench were drilled up to six feet deep. Once drilled, these holes were filled with black powder, or later with nitroglycerin. After detonation, and time for the smoke and dust to clear, the broken pieces o rock were loaded by hand into cards and removed from the tunnel. In Summit Tunnel, this went on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for 15 months. From 30 to 40 Chinese worked at each of the four faces, with half drilling and the rest clearing out rubble from previous blasts. Four or five drill teams were used at each face. Laborers worked in eight-hour shifts, while the Caucasian foremen worked 12-hour shifts." Chinese laborers at work as a wood engraving, "The Central Pacific Railroad", Harper's Weekly, 12/7/1867, p. 772.
Rights: NOT FOR SALE; research onlyIdentifier: AAH0013Serial Number: 2067
Donation: Alfred A. Hart Collection (AAH) collection (#34)