After calling it the Pacific Railroad for a time, this railway system was later dubbed the First Transcontinental Railroad. Even still the railroad companies relied on their labor and they were valued as hard workers on the railroad and good track layers. Irish Labor on the Transcontinental Railroad By Rose Beatty. They mistreatment of workers building transcontinental railroad Central Pacific Workers . This led to foremen such as Charles Crocker hiring Chinese workers. Of the five million immigrants that came to the United States from 1815 to 1860, about 40 percent were Irish (O’Donnell). The Irish Railroad Workers Project is in the process of creating a digital archive that documents, examines, and explains the contributions, experiences, and lives of the many Irish people who worked on America's first transcontinental railroad. The Last Spike , Thomas Hill, 1881. The Linda Hall Library Transcontinental Railroad website was created with generous support from the BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) Foundation. The site offers visitors a brief history of the building of the transcontinental railroad as well as information on the history and technology of 19th century railroads. Now, the goal was to connect a railway from Nebraska to the Pacific coast. The Irish immigrants had a huge effect on building the transcontinental railroad. Before the Chinese began working on the Transcontinental Railroad, they worked on smaller railroad projects, and in 1863, they completed the train tracks for the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad Company. Irish immigrants were instrumental in building the railroad system in the country. It is a Digital Story that was created mainly for the fourth grade. Chinese immigrants work on the transcontinental railroad. This video was created by Jenny Jarvis and Nikki Mecham. This year, we have chosen the transcontinental railroad as our topic. But in a new exhibition at the National Museum of American History in … To the Irish, this was a blessing. The Chinese worker crews were thought of as better behaved than the Irish workers. Weber County is a collection of railroad towns and people whose lives have been affected by the railroad. Chinese immigrants did most of the work on the Central Pacific track. The Transcontinental Railroad. To fill the gap, Central Pacific turned to Chinese immigrants, who were traveling across the Pacific Ocean in increasing numbers, 40,000 in the 1850s alone. Ironically, the famous photos show few of the workers who built the road. Most Irish and Chinese immigrants were recriuted to come over to American and work on building the transcontinental railroad. Sources . Their number was tens of thousands and they came from diverse areas. By the mid 1860s, however, the leaders of Central Pacific had realized that it was difficult to recruit railroad workers and keep them on the job. Labor on the Transcontinental Railroad The majority of the Union Pacific track heading westward was built by Irish laborers, by Mormons who constructed much of the track in Utah, and after the war by veterans of the Union and Confederate armies. What they actually received was much different in the most negative of ways. This was due to the general prejudices of the time. These included the civil war veterans from both sides, African Americans, Irish immigrants, and an increasing number of Chinese immigrants who were largely mistreated. The Irish were the first group to be hired in great numbers for work on the transcontinental railroad. This year, multiple events and exhibits celebrate the Chinese workers' role in the historic feat, acknowledging that 600 miles of the most hazardous part of the Central Pacific route was mainly built by the thousands of the men brought in to … "Snow fell so deeply that they had to build roofs over 37 … But they often, fairly, demanded more money for their work. Irish immigrants faced discrimination and were sometimes viewed as dirty drunks who were not afraid to go on strike. Transcontinental Railroad Expanding Rail Transportation Even when Abraham Lincoln was President, plans were being made to connect railways that would allow one to travel from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast. This was backbreaking, dangerous work. Management of the initial railroad work was not very inspirational, and pay was not exactly high; as a result, many Irish workers walked off the job. In 1862, the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroad Companies began building a transcontinental railroad that would link the United States from … They were one of the main forces that made the transcontinental railroad work. Some of us work or have worked on the railroad. Join us for this event about the key roles and treatment of Chinese and Irish workers in creating the first transcontinental railroad in the United States. For many, completing the Transcontinental Railroad symbolized achievement and national unity—yet it was built with mostly immigrant labor. Hell on Wheels: Wicked Towns along the Union Pacific Railroad, by Dick Kreck. A transcontinental railroad in the United States is any continuous rail line connecting a location on the U.S. Pacific coast with one or more of the railroads of the nation's eastern trunk line rail systems operating between the Missouri or Mississippi Rivers and the U.S. Atlantic coast. This was due to a shortage of labor because of the gold rush, which eliminated a lot of the labor. The Irish made up the most of the railroad workers. By linking with the existing railway network of the Eastern United States, the road thus connected the Atlantic and Pacific coasts … They also received company-provided boiled beef and potatoes and drink of both water and alcohol. The acts were officially signed into law in July of that year by President Abraham Lincoln. Irish immigrants, freed slaves and Mormons also worked on the transcontinental railroad. Working conditions were so terrible, many people died while on the job. The site offers visitors a brief history of the building of the transcontinental railroad as well as information on the history and technology of 19th century railroads. The Irish originally went to America for job opportunities, and as an escape from the Great Potato Famine. However, a large number of men kept on working on the transcontinental railroad project. As construction began, the bison needed to be eliminated so the Native Americans could be contained and progress could continue. It is a sad time in history. Irish im­migrants were the primary early builders of the Central Pacific Railroad, which ran west to east from Sacramento, California. Although most of the Chinese immigrants came from strictly agricultural districts, once in America, they seemed capable of turning their hands to anything and everything. Irish immigrants were the primary early builders of the Central Pacific Railroad. The Transcontinental Railroad is considered the greatest contributor to the loss of the bison. The "First Transcontinental Railroad" is the popular name of the U.S. railroad line (known at the time as the "Pacific Railroad") completed in 1869 between Council Bluffs, Iowa/Omaha, Nebraska (via Ogden, Utah and Sacramento, California) and Alameda, California. The Linda Hall Library Transcontinental Railroad website was created with generous support from the BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) Foundation. As many as 15,000 Chinese immigrants helped build the railroad. Detail from stereo view of Union Pacific board members and others in company business car, 1869. Quite a few Irish immigrants … The conditions were merciless, dangerous and harsh.” Some of us as children rode the train across the Lucien cutoff to California. In 1862, the United States Congress passed the Pacific Railroad Acts, a group of acts that would promote the building of a cross-country railroad system. They had to work in dangerous territories, and work lengthy hours, and they received low wages for the hard work they did. Courtesy of Union Pacific Railroad Museum. Irish immigrants will be remembered at an event in the US state of Utah celebrating the 150th anniversary of the 'Golden Spike', the moment when the First Transcontinental Railroad … The Transcontinental Railroad was completed when the final "Golden Spike" was driven into the rail bed on May 10, 1869. When work on the Transcontinental Railroad began, neither Union Pacific nor Central Pacific wanted to hire these immigrants. In order to investigate the attitudes toward the Chinese and Irish immigrants, this study looks into economic accounts taken during the second half of the nineteenth century. Utah State University . Railroads had been built from the Atlantic coast to Nebraska. Irish immigrants have been remembered at an event in the US state of Utah celebrating the 150th anniversary of the 'Golden Spike', the moment when the First Transcontinental Railroad … The First Transcontinental Railroad (known originally as the "Pacific Railroad" and later as the ... (often Irish) with a gang of 30 to 40 Chinese men generally constituted the force at work at each end of a tunnel; of these, 12 to 15 men worked on the heading, and the rest on the bottom, removing blasted material. The majority of Central Pacific laborers were Chinese immigrants from the Canton Province who moved due to overpopulation at home and rumors of opportunity and a literal "Mountain of Gold" abroad. Irish workers were paid $35 a month, and a living space (tent). W hen one thinks of the transcontinental railroad, rarely do Chinese migrants come to mind. “Snow fell so deeply that they had to build roofs over 37 miles of track so supply trains could make it through. This huge influx of Irish into America can be greatly attributed to the amount of opportunity that was available in the U.S. during the 19th century. Irish immigrants, freed slaves and Mormons also worked on the transcontinental railroad. The Celestials. Herds that once numbered between 30 and 40 million dwindled. The Great Railroad Revolution: The History of … Utah is about to throw a big celebration for the 150th anniversary of the May 10, 1869, completion of the transcontinental railroad. Most of the work force in the union pacific was made up of Irish immigrants. Chinese and Irish Workers in the Construction of the Transcontinental Railroad Saturday, March 25, 1:00pm-3:00pm Location: United Irish Cultural Center, St. Francis Room, 2700 45th Avenue, San Francisco Free event. In the mines, on the railroads and ranches, in laundries, in certain manufactories, in hotels and family kitchens, as cooks and domestic servants, the Chinese proved good workers. The railroad was six years in the making, with the physical labor conducted largely by immigrants – Irishmen making up a hefty portion. Abraham Lincoln with generous support from the Atlantic coast to Nebraska people died while on the transcontinental was! 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