HomeAsian AmericansGround breaking for memorial to Chinese railroad workers in Utah

Ground breaking for memorial to Chinese railroad workers in Utah

What a difference 150 or so years make.

More than a century and a half after railroad barons excluded Chinese workers in their photograph marking the completion of the transcontinental railroad, a memorial to those workers is being erected at the State Capitol building.

Utah State Senator Karen Kwan joined the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association for the groundbreaking on Tuesday, reported the Salt Lake Tribune.

She described it as “very emotional to be able to honor my ancestors in this way.”

KSL Radio reports the state hopes the monument will remind visitors of the importance of Asian immigrants to the building of the country.

The monument will also have a plaque honoring Native Americans, former slaves, and Latter Day Saints.

“Two members of my family actually were on the transcontinental railroad,” said Wilson Lee who attended the ceremony. “One hundred sixty-one years later, our ancestors are looking down on us on this historical day.”

Architect Porheang Ear designed the monument made of both corten and stainless steel along with layers of granite and sandstone.

“As we stand here, we are reminded of a time when the dreams of connecting the east and west coast of the United States seemed like an insurmountable challenge,” Ear said, according to the Tribune. “The completion of the transcontinental railroad was a monumental achievement that reshaped the destinies of our nation.”


  1. Excellent! Thank you to the dedicated descendants in making this happen. Acknowledgement is so important. I, too, am a descendent of one of the thousand+ railroad workers.

  2. Don’t forget the 1) Pacific Railway narrow gauge in central California that was built in the 1880’s extending from San Luis Obispo to Avila Beach to Santa Maria by Chinese workers under the supervision of Ah Louis, who immigrated to the US in 1860 and who happens to be my gread grandfather and 2) the Chinese workers, again under the supervision of Ah Louis who helped connect the Southern Pacific Railway between LA and SF in the 1890’s. In doing the latter, they had to blast through a mountain range by digging 7 tunnels, of which some are still being used today. The Ah Louis Store built in 1874 is still in family ownership today and is listed in the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Worth the Time

Must Read

Regular Features


Discover more from AsAmNews

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading